Sunday, January 13, 2008

Race Update: Trail Report (final route determined)

First, I’ll start with the Foot Category:
The entire trail with the exception of 1 mile is scheduled by be groomed by the Asbury Snow Hawks Grooming machine. The Asbury Snow Hawks is one of the key sponsors for this race. They’ve allowed us to use a number of miles of private snowmobile trail, they are grooming Heritage trail just prior to the race for us, and were responsible for the installation of a necessary bypass bridge on Heritage Trail. They will also be sweeping the course the night of the race (this is a good example on how different outdoor clubs can work together, a huge thanks to this group!). The 1 mile of ungroomed section is very hard and icy in numerous locations, use caution! The foot category should be able to avoid the real icy spots by staying to edge of the trail.

Skiers: Yet to be determined, but we will have to either shorten the sky category by 7 miles or do an out and back. This is because the section of Heritage trail from Dyersville to Farley has exposed gravel on a majority of it. Everywhere else, it still has a solid 8" base. If you want some say in this drop me a line, let me know the minimum distance that's acceptable to you.

Bikers (and there's a bunch of you): The slideshow above gives a good visual of the variety that you will have on this race. I've had to shorten the distance based on yesterdays preride times. However, DO NOT THINK THIS WILL BE AN EASY RACE! Weather forecast is for temps to be in the 15dF to 5dF range. You must note: YOU will be out there for 6-9 hours!

Bike Route: I hate to say it but the first and last hour of this race will be brutal! The first section of Heritage Trail (not used by the foot category) will NOT be groomed and is rutted by foot traffic on the warm days of past. The good news is that this is only a half-mile long. The main elevation gain during the race takes place on the ATV trails - Everyone will push for at least a 1/4 mile up the steepest section. The photo log will give you a pretty good idea of the variety that I have in store for the bikers the last and first 2 hours of the race (I’ll add a picture of the level B in the next couple of days). The middle section will be on Heritage Trail, which will be groomed to Farley and is gravel and patches of snow from Farley to Dyersville and back. While we have lost nearly two miles of snowmobile trails to the warm days last week this will still be a "fun" race with lots of variety.

Note to racers:

  1. Carry more fluids than you think you will need.
  2. Make provision to keep your fluids liquid & test this system.
  3. Take extra clothes (no cotton! – wear wool or other wicking winter fabrics).
  4. Start at a manageable/maintainable pace.*
  5. You are required to have two lights (front and back).
  6. You must have a cell phone.


Speedy said...

Any chance you'll provide a map of the route on your blog prior to race day? The Iowa DOT county map pdf's are a pretty good base if you havent picked one already.

Lance Andre said...

I will do, I have all the State PDF's, DWG's and DGN's. I had been holding off on the map until my final decision on the route. Look for one here in the next 24 hours.

Anonymous said...

Any chance a cyclo-cross bike will work?

Jeff B.

Lance Andre said...

Jeff, the only way a cycle-cross bike would finish this race is it where carried for the foot category (lol). Seriously, while I don’t have any experience riding cycle-cross, this course was a challenge for me on 2.3" tires. With a lot of the snow gone, some of the trails are now grass, so maybe, but I know you'd be pushing a heck of a lot more than the fat tire guys. There are some parts that are only suited for a true snow bike (4" tires) but these parts are less than a 1 mile total now. However, the true snow bikes, while slow, will be much more enjoyable to ride for at least 10 miles of the 50-mile course.

Hell, two years ago on TransIowa (the year no one finished) some crazy guy from Texas showed up on a road bike, and kept up with us front pack guys (but he sure looked like he was suffering)… so, I’m not going to say that someone (you) cant do it, but I know I wouldn’t even try it. You can bring both and try them out in the morning on a couple of sections to see if it’s possible (especially the freshly groomed section east of Farley). On the other hand, bring good hiking boots.

Paul said...

So, with current conditions there are some very short sections that you would want anything wider than 2.1?

Jeff Kerkove said...

Looks cool. Totally seeing this becoming a classic!

ScootsOnMoots said...

Here are my thoughts on use of a cross bike on the Heritage trail given I rode a section between Budd Road and Graf Road this past Sunday.

The trail is packed really hard and even the groomer I imagine will not create so much "loft" to the surface where a cross bike couldn't be ridden. I say that with a couple caveats though:

(1) The trail was rough and that's based on a section without much foot traffic. Closer to town, it's going to be much rougher on the skinnies.
(2) Generally speaking, with a light dusting of snow last week, the surface was manageable and not too risky (this coming from someone just having surgery to fix a clavicle on 12/13 and shouldn't have been there in the first place) on the cross bike. There were, however, a couple spots that were downright slickery and suitable for a pickup game of hockey. Even some light snow this week probably won't help the really icy parts given the temps - it will only cover rather than bond with it.

Could you ride the crosser? Probably. Would I feel comfortable riding the full race on it? Probably not without a pair of Nokian Hakka's, especially if you end up losing daylight. Hope this helps and that I'm not giving up too much info (Lancer can delete my post if he thinks so). Safety, I'm sure, is a priority for any race director and this is as much about making a smart, safe choice.

Lance Andre said...

I think the main concern for most now should be the temperature! Forecasted high for the day is now only 5dF with a projected low of minus 6dF.

As for the cycle-cross bike or any bike, it will be important to remember that the most difficult part of this race is the first and last hour. Mentally be prepared for some time off the bike– I’ve designed this course to include a little of everything (except waist deep snow, that was in but Mother Nature removed that part).

There are a couple of sections that wont be as hard as Heritage Trail… the private snowmobile trails have never been groomed. While the snow has hardened a lot, I’m not sure if a skinny will stay on top of the crust… you can always test it out the morning of. I’ll be posting maps up here soon.