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  1. #1
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Trans Iowa V3: Need Your Opinions!

    Hey guys and gals! It's time for Mr. 24 (KERKOVEJ) and I to get around to thinking about T.I. again. We value this communities opinions, so please respond!

    First: the next iteration of this event is going to be a bit different. The format of self supported, long mileage, and gravel roads will still be there. However; we are going to a loop type course instead of point to point. The logistics of the cross state format were too burdensome on not only Jeff and I, but for the racers as well. Our current thinking has us going in one big loop starting and finishing in Decorah, Iowa in late April. That's all we really have decided on at this point.

    This gives us a centralized point to base our operations out of, a scenic area of Iowa to utilize that has very hilly, challenging terrain, and makes it alot easier for you people to come and ride it.

    Possibilities for the course would include forays into south eastern Minnesota, south western Wisconsin, and perhaps some "real" mountain bike riding on singletrack.

    We are looking for any and all suggestions and ideas, so let em fly!

  2. #2
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    The loop idea is great. Logistics were why I did not return to TI in 2006.

    Mileage - I'd say make it around 300 miles.

    Course - IMO, make it all gravel, unless you have single track that holds up in April weather.

    Field Size - I'd say open it up to more people. Maybe 100?

    Later, Brett Davis

  3. #3
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    Not that I'm a professional, but here's my three cents:

    I am of the same thinking as GTed as per my impressions of the DK event. However, TI is unique in it's field of endurance events and I think that is part of the draw. I enjoyed the fear of pedalling out into the nothingness of Iowa with loads of uncertainty.

    That said, I agree it would be easier to commit to if travel arrangements weren't an issue, you'd never be half a State away from the start if you need to pull the plug and I can see how the planning end of things would be significantly eased with the circuit approach. I think it could/would be just as epic and there would be no lack of hurt to be found. Perhaps the route could shift around the State each year (some of the back roads of the Loess hills are killer, just a suggestion), this might get people coming back. But of course it's up to fathers of the event to decide what is best.

  4. #4
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    I like the loop idea...

    ...it seemed to work really well in Kansas.

    I agree with Brett's comment above about keeping it all gravel. Conditions can be an event-killer in April, as we saw this year; trying to add singletrack ups the odds on walking and/or trashing muddy singletrack. Also, I hate to think about the kinds of gearing choices this would force on singlespeed riders...

    I like the idea of starting in Decorah; I like Hawarden, but cutting an entire state out of my drive would be welcome indeed. And lets face it; the terrain around Decorah is much more interesting.

    I would also like to see the race be completely unsupported. No midway support, no drop bag, no nothing. Make it 300 miles with towns every 50 miles or so.

    And finally, have a weather policy. I don't care so much about *what* it says, as long as it spells out what conditions will cancel the race. Does a Tornado Warning cancel the event? How about a lightning storm? A rider death (God Forbid!). And what happens if the ride is canceled sort of someone getting to the finish line?

    Keep up the good work! You and Jeff put on a great event, and I am looking forward to hearing more about TI V3.

    Joe
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    Joe Partridge

  5. #5
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Good Comments!

    Good to hear from you three "vets".

    Brett: That makes sense on the subject of "single track". All gravel? C'mon! Not even a "B" level road or two? (just kidding, you know there will be a few of those!)

    Cory: There will still be plenty of that, "where the heck am I" feeling even with the loop course. Well, actually it might be more "why the heck am I out here" feeling! It will definitely be more scenic and hilly!

    Joe: Unsupported with no bag drop or halfway point? I like the way you are thinking! Perhaps we will do it the Dirty Kanza way, with a check in/ out at the halfway, just to be better able to keep track of folks. Thoughts?

    Weather policy would be pretty simple really. In fact, we already have one. If you think it's too dangerous to ride, too wet, too cold, too snowy, or whatever....You quit. As far as the event goes, if the weather gets too sketchy or bad enough that you can not make the time limit, ( ala this year) then the race is over. Simple and easy to put into practice. Because of the stretched out nature of this event, it's the only way we can do it, really. Self supported, self navigated, and self policed (to a point).

  6. #6
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    'm pretty excited to read about Trans Iowa, but still don't know if I will do it again.

    I like the idea of having a looped course - but don't shorten the mileage. Shorten the B-level stuff. We want to ride, not walk...

    As far as weather: I don't know anything about the climate in Iowa, but what about having the race 4 weeks later? Maybe conditions would be a little more reliable?

    And Joe - get yourself some gears!

    Alex

    http://alexdolpp.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    I say make it a huge 300ish mile loop and keep the rules the same as the previous runnings of this death march. All I know is that a huge mileage event in this part of the country will have people cursing our names. Not because of the mud or bad road conditions, but rather because of the insane amount of climbing found in the backroads of IA, MN, and WI Instead of calling it Trans-Iowa: V3, we call it...
    [SIZE="5"]The Tri-State Taint Crusher 300[/SIZE]

  8. #8
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    Wink it's all good

    The big loop idea sounds interesting and the increase in hills is even better. I loved the valley section that was in this year as it switched things up a little bit.
    My only suggestion is one that I know you won't do but have to ask for anyway.
    No intermediate cut offs.
    As far as I'm concerned your either committed to being out there for the full meal deal ( riders and rds) or your just passing time. There is no support and you guys told your wives when you'd be back so let the course do it's thing. this way you get to see how the race is meant to be seen not the abbreviated courses this year has been known for.
    and yes If I think that the national champ at 9 mile should have to place an Astrix by the win due to it being 19.5 hours, then yes I do.
    Dallas " going to go back to running since they don't close courses down for NOTHING" Sigurdur

  9. #9
    Harmonius Wrench
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    On the subject of time limits........

    The main reason we don't do the Trans Iowa "GDR" style with no time limits is because........we have families and jobs to get back to. I can't be out there forever waiting on somebody that might get to the halfway point or the end of the course if they had all the time in the world to do it. Extreme example? Yes, but I write this to show that some kind of limits had to be imposed, so why not make those limits a factor in the race?

    I respect and admire the determination that folks like Dallas and his Canadian compatriots exemplify, but it's just not practical for Jeff and I to get more time off to allow this event to run much longer than it does. Also, I would be willing to bet that alot of the competitors couldn't afford to spend much more time either. Just a hunch there, but I'm thinking that a three day weekend is about the limit for most folks.

    Finally, the event needs to move along. The time limit makes it obvious to a slow competitor that it's time to pull the plug, so I don't have to go and try to find them to "pull" them. It's definitely another mental element to deal with while you are out there. That's part of the event, and it adds to it another level of challenge.


  10. #10
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    2 centavos from the peanut gallery.

    If an organized race isn't called and there is an incident due to weather, insurance rates and entrance fees would/have skyrocket. Land managers won't let events occur. It's part of the game like broken equipment, bad dietary choices blah blah blah.

    I vote for more "B" roads. TIv1 was dry, both weekends bracketing v2 were dry and mid 70's. B's were faster than gravel on those 2 weekends. B roads in NE Iowa drain a lot better due to the higher relief, and there's a greater rock component and lesser loess (gumbo, peanut butter) component to the soils. I've spent the past 3 yrs. working on various bedrock mapping projects in the Upper Iowa and Yellow River watersheds. Depth to bedrock is 0 than 5 feet in many places. Gravel in NE Iowa is primarily limestone, not sand.

    If there is a midway checkpoint point, how about the park in Lansing? That'd get people to cursing you!

    dp

  11. #11
    your ankles are fat
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    my random thoughts

    how'about two 150+ mile laps...it may help GTed, Kerkove, et al with simplifying logistics, gives those who are having issues to bail--if you guys chose to make the course silly--and I expect you to(if you DO put the race on...and c'mon, you can't start a thread like this so early,get the interest you know you'd get, and not do the race on again)...i got's other ideas...but at the end of the day, it's you're race guys, and you know I'll be there....

    Dallas, there's gonna be an "unofficial" 4.5 hr "prologue" at US 24 Nat's next yr...who's in???

  12. #12
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    that's cool

    I don't mean to stir up **** as the event is awesome the way it is , I was giving my .5 cent.
    What I actually meant was since it's actually a 30 hour race then lets us spin our wheels for 30 hours. You kids weren't going to pick us up anyways so it goes back to the rule of calling your dnf in when it happens. I reality you only have to visit the course when you feel like it as we're all just going for "a ride" legally anyway.
    Again don't take this as a challenge it's just my thoughts.
    As for the idea of slogging, anything past a sprint in my opinion is a relative slog. You're either going full tilt balls to the wall or you are rationing you mental and physical reserves.
    As for nationals being called, I agree they should have stopped the race and kept it stopped at 5.30 am. The restart was a very very bad and improper call. I also don't consider it a 24 as it never went that far. Anyone who has followed long distance anything (ironman, ultra running / cycling) knows that it's only over when it's over. There was the legendary Julie Moss incident at Hawaii and the recent catastrophic meltdown of the race leader (Brian Morrison) at western states. He was on the finishing track and had basically a few hundred feet to go. If your not familiar with thse epic jouneys the type them up and enjoy the read of your life. they are truely crazy as ****.
    Anything short of the full time limit is a let down. There are trees to be hit , cramps to be had, stomach issues to deal with and then there is the possibility of swinging the other way and starting like **** and bouncing back to total control.
    I'd also like to state that in my mind the difference between long and short is one thing ............lights.
    Am I still allowed to enter T# next year

  13. #13
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmsigurdur
    I don't mean to stir up **** ............
    I wouldn't want it any other way.


    Am I still allowed to enter T# next year
    If you can manage to be one of the lucky ones to get in the field at registration time, then yeah we would love to have you back!

    ........that is IF we decide to do this again! (especially written foy Paddy)

  14. #14
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    maybe alternate routes?

    like at the kanza they had options to avoid the b-level incase its thick slime time. maybe that would be a good idea. that might make another slog in the rain more sane. a bit over 300 for the length. that would rock to actually complete.

  15. #15
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    OMG, keeping this in NE Iowa, SE Minnesota, and W Wisconsin is gonna rock. 300 miles of that sort of hilliness is going to be brutal.

    Also, unless the weather totally changes mid-event, you never need to worry about the wind being a constant benefit or constant detriment. In 2006 the wind was from the East and was a full-event headwind. With a loop you get a headwind for a while, a crosswind for a while, a tailwind for a while, and another crosswind for a while. This makes the weather a little less of a factor and a little less of a crap shoot.

    I am very excited that it sounds like this is happening again. After my debacle in 2006 I really want another shot at this. My only suggestion is going to be to open the field limit. We spread out quickly enough that it isn't a horde going down the road, and it won't be unless it reaches RAGBRAI proportions. In 2006 there were a ton of no-shows. Every year there have been very large numbers of drop outs enroute. So even if you start with 100 you are likely to end with no more than 25-50, and these people will be spread out over tens of miles.

  16. #16
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    I'm not sure I'll make it out there for the race, but the idea for one big loop gets my vote. Maybe even try a figure 8 with the start, midpoint and finish all in the same place.

    NO LAPS PLEASE.

    More B roads, single track if possible, but no need to tear up someone's local riding area for a road race.

  17. #17
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    How about....
    [SIZE="5"]Bluff Raid 300[/SIZE]

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonassterling
    I'm not sure I'll make it out there for the race, but the idea for one big loop gets my vote. Maybe even try a figure 8 with the start, midpoint and finish all in the same place.

    NO LAPS PLEASE.

    More B roads, single track if possible, but no need to tear up someone's local riding area for a road race.
    Ingenious. That would provide your half way sag stop right there without a single support vehicle driving an inch. Also, for those who are weak of leg you would have an easier bail out option. Assuming a perfect figure 8, you should be no more than ~75 miles from the start point.

  19. #19
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Wait a minute.........

    Hold on guys.........lets just hold on a minute. While going "tri-state" sounds appealing, it's gonna be a nightmare to pull off in practice.

    I just spent a wad of cash over the weekend on maps and it's not looking good. Very, very limited amount of gravel in south eastern Minnesota and south western Wisconsin. Most "back roads" are paved. The ones that are not paved are little roads to no where or are going to have to be connected by long stretches of pavement.

    I don't want to get anybodies hopes up for a tri-state death march because I think the chances of it happening are less than 10% at this point. I can map out a route in Iowa that would be killer in about ten minutes. Alot of the roads I know. Most of the route would be within a reasonable driving distance from my home.

    It's gonna take a ton of arm twisting and cajoling at this point to get me to want to research this tri-state idea any further. Unless you guys are interested in an event that has about 50% pavement, goes through several high traffic areas, and has to cross a bridge on the Mississippi that is constantly flowing with cars day and night. I've crossed that bridge on a bike and it ain't pleasant! (In fact I swore I'd never do it again)

    At this point, I'd strongly suggest that the route stay in Iowa.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted

    It's gonna take a ton of arm twisting and cajoling at this point to get me to want to research this tri-state idea any further. Unless you guys are interested in an event that has about 50% pavement, goes through several high traffic areas, and has to cross a bridge on the Mississippi that is constantly flowing with cars day and night. I've crossed that bridge on a bike and it ain't pleasant! (In fact I swore I'd never do it again)

    At this point, I'd strongly suggest that the route stay in Iowa.
    Dodging casino drunks on a bridge on a Saturday night not enticing? Y
    Last edited by bd.sahib; 08-08-2006 at 12:54 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted
    Hold on guys.........lets just hold on a minute. While going "tri-state" sounds appealing, it's gonna be a nightmare to pull off in practice.
    At this point, I'd strongly suggest that the route stay in Iowa.
    Very true GT- Whilst crossing into WI various times this past weekend my wife asked me how the heck that was going to work crossing the bridges??? While a lot of the towns are pretty bike friendly- the bridges are mostly not. And you are right about Wisconsinites paving the heck out of everything. We need a tri-state ferry as a cutoff. Once past the mississippi the gravel is there but the in between may be a little fishy

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbidwell
    Very true GT- Whilst crossing into WI various times this past weekend my wife asked me how the heck that was going to work crossing the bridges??? While a lot of the towns are pretty bike friendly- the bridges are mostly not. And you are right about Wisconsinites paving the heck out of everything. We need a tri-state ferry as a cutoff. Once past the mississippi the gravel is there but the in between may be a little fishy
    Actually, for MN it is the same story. Minnesota has a very high pavement to gravel ratio, even for farm roads. Not quite as extreme as Wisconsin, but very high. If you know where to look you can find gravel roads, but whether they go where you want to go is another story.

    I guess I was just dreaming of repeated 3 mile climbs out of the Mississippi river valley... Still, the area around Decorah is gorgeous. It wouldn't be that bad to be stuck in that part of Iowa alone. It was the part of Trans Iowa v2 that I was most looking forward to.

  23. #23
    TEAM TOPEAK - ERGON
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    Just getting people in the mood
    Pics are from a 3 hour gravel march on 8-7-06

    1

    2

    3

    Don't forget about the GTDRI.....
    Last edited by KERKOVEJ; 08-07-2006 at 12:58 PM.

  24. #24
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    that's almost pavement

    why are you always riding on the easy days?
    I know you get crazy weather as my last two events in the area HAD crazy weather. If I were you I'd start showing what it really looks like there, tornado's and crazy amounts of rain.
    Oh and after much though I think I'll start praying for snow for T3 as that seems to be the missing piece.

  25. #25
    Harmonius Wrench
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    "Pavement" is in the eye of the beholder

    Quote Originally Posted by dmsigurdur
    why are you always riding on the easy days?
    I know you get crazy weather as my last two events in the area HAD crazy weather. If I were you I'd start showing what it really looks like there, tornado's and crazy amounts of rain.
    Oh and after much though I think I'll start praying for snow for T3 as that seems to be the missing piece.
    That said, yeah.....that's a pretty easy track. I mentioned that to Carlos when he showed me the pics at work today.

    Too bad you can't roll on down fer the GTDRI, Dallas. You'd not see any gravel like that for 150 miles!

    Gravel varies alot dependant upon maintenance and traffic count. I pick the least traveled routes!

    As for weather: You haven't experienced high humidity, dusty gravel, and incessant wind for a sun drenched day yet? That's weather enough for summertime!

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