In Iowa, there are roads you take your most trustworthy friends or worst enemies down, but you don’t route a race down them. I have done my best to route this race down roads that are in reasonable shape for bike traffic. If I have not taken my bike or my truck through it, it’s not on the route. (The truck is probably the higher standard. My kids have nicknamed it “MY PRECIOUS”). So be advised, if you come upon a road that is massively torn up by road construction, a bridge with huge gaps in the planks, a flooded road, or something you’d need to bushwhack to get through, please double check that you are on route. A race day contact number will be emailed to you. Do not proceed through anything that appears questionable without clarifying it with me, and never proceed into a situation that you deem unsafe, or beyond your skill level even if it is on route. You are responsible for you, and your personal safety is the highest priority.
I have seen the entire route over the last several days, either by bike or by truck. There were a surprising number of roads that closed recently, and those have all been edited out of the course. Rhea Rd. is under construction in Union County, and recent progress on that project severely impacted the 150 mile route. Checkpoint 2 has been relocated, and the entire second half of the 150 mile route has been moved south of Lorimor. Sadly, that means the old red schoolhouse, infirmary, and a very cool double track road are now no longer on the route. There is also a 0.3 mile section on US169. There is a large, wide, well maintained gravel shoulder. YOU MUST RIDE ON THE SHOULDER here, not on the pavement.
Course recon drive with two of my kids through Adair, Union, Clark, Decatur, and Ringold ‘does anyone live here?’ Counties. The roads are rough in spots, but generally in great shape. Only saw a few cars in over four hours of driving. The one water crossing we saw was down to a trickle. Only one re-route for a bridge out; I doubt it will be fixed by October.
Here is the elevation profile for the 150. Approximately 7600 feet of climbing by Ride with GPS. It rides like more. This is the route that is most subject to change at this point, but you get the idea. It’s not flat.
You can switch to either distance at mile 84; from the 150 to the 200, or you can drop from the 200 to the 150 if it’s not your day. You’ll need to let the checkpoint volunteer know, and carry both sets of cue sheets because copies will not be available.
The route is as finalized as it can be at this point. Final GPX and cues will be released the week of the race. This is the elevation profile for the full dirt version of the 200 mile, with 10.5K to 15.5K feet of climbing (depending on which program I view it in). It’s not flat. There are approximately 30 miles of dirt roads, but the final route will have more or less depending on road conditions this fall. C-stores are 60 miles or less apart.
Course ride photos from the weekend. Here is a sample of some of the roads you are likely to see. Two potential water crossings, and one of them will likely be after dark for most of you. The B roads are in exceptionally good shape right now.
I pre-rode a big section of the course last weekend and drove the second half of the rain route yesterday. The Des Moines area had a few inches of rain fall Monday, but despite that, things are looking pretty good. The dirt roads in this area are generally sandy and dry out quickly. There would have to be significant rainfall just before or on race day for me to switch to the rain route.
In general, the majority of the gravel is in good, fast rolling shape. There are however, numerous patches of washboards and new gravel patches that are quite rough. Be prepared to hit these rough spots on descents when you might be going quite fast. Make sure everything fastened to your bike is super secure, or you’ll launch it. Good lighting is an absolute must. Be vary wary of what you cannot see, especially in the shaded sections or at night. Watch your downhill speed on the dirt roads lest you launch yourself Dukes of Hazard style off a bump (It’s less fun than it might sound). If you are using battery lights, make sure that you have more hours of run time than you think you need. Consider mounting a second light just to better illuminate the dirt roads. Continue reading “Course Conditions 9/27/17”→
I drove the entire course over two days this past weekend. It is dry, dusty, and fast. A lot can happen to these roads in a week, and many are showing damage from the tractors and heavy truck traffic during the recent harvest. Remember, you are responsible for you, and you must pay attention and navigate with care. A second headlight for the B roads is not a bad idea, especially for the 200 mile riders.
The C stores have all been alerted to your impending arrival, and are looking forward to meeting you. You must make it to Orient before the store closes at 7pm! That is mile 130 of the 200, and mile 100 of the 150.
I have a few final edits to the course, and then the cue sheets and GPX files will be emailed out to you. The B road creek crossing on 160th street has been re-routed. It did dry up, but it turned into the mud pit of despair with no decent way to cross it. This was otherwise a great road, I am sad to have to leave it out.
Here is a selection of my favorite course photos taken over the last year. The entire route was put together during my wanderings while training for Race Across the West. I have ridden it forward and backwards, in good weather and in bad. I’ve fallen off a few times, walked many miles, broken one derailleur, and trashed a few tires. It has been a grand adventure, and I hope you all enjoy it.
Registration closes 10/14. Race day is 10/29 6:00 a.m.