Tuesday, September 6, 2016

2016 Inspiration 100: Everything You Need for Saturday

IMPORTANT: This Saturday you will line up for the 2016 Inspiration 100! To get your race packet, you will need to download, print, and sign the waiver. To follow the course, you will need to download, print, and attach the cue sheets to your bike. If you are looking for suggestions, I usually laminate the cue sheets, punch two holes in the top, and zip tie them to my handlebars. You can then pull them off as you go (taking care not to litter, of course).


Safety First: You will be riding open public roads, so you will be responsible for following all applicable traffic laws. Stay to the right, obey all traffic signs, be aware and alert of others on the road. You may not encounter much traffic, but what you do encounter will not be looking for you, so watch yourself.

The Inspiration course has many blind turns, corners and climbs. Stay to the right, follow the rules of the road, and you will eliminate much of the risk inherent in riding these gravel roads.

I know, you are an experienced rider and can handle yourself, but if it can happen to the organizer of Trans-Iowa, it can happen to you. BE SAFE!

Take Care of Yourself: The Inspiration 100 is a self-supported ride. Once the race begins, you may use only those resources that are available to everyone on the course. The convenience store at mile 59 will have fluids and food. Plan accordingly.

You may offer and accept assistance from other riders. Help your fellow riders!  Having been on both sides of that equation, it feels good to both get and give assistance. You may be the difference between someone ending their day early or continuing to ride.

There is no SAG wagon. Please have a bail-out ride arranged in case you end your day early.

In addition to the above, be respectful to the land and people in the area. Don't litter, be discrete when heeding nature's call, wave to the locals. The people I have encountered along the course have all been extremely kind. Let's not give them a reason to change their opinion of cyclists.

We are all grown ups, and trust that you will follow these very simple rules. The challenge comes from completing the course under your own power. Accept that challenge!

This is the same course as Year 2, but rides much different going in the other direction. A few things to keep in mind:

  • The roads are open, and you are required to follow all traffic laws, regulations and rules. Stay to the right, stop at stop signs. You are just another traveler on the road.
  • You are responsible for yourself. Carry everything you need to get you through 100 miles of gravel, including tools, tubes, and anything else to keep you rolling.
  • The convenience store will be at mile 59. Plan your nutrition and fluid needs accordingly.
  • The first 7-9 miles are tight. You will encounter many turns, hills, stops and some traffic as you wind through a residential area and cross two major county roads. Be patient and smart, the course will open up.
  • Both feature sections are in the second half of the race. You will be tired going into these potentially treacherous stretches of road. There are many hidden (and not so hidden) obstacles in both the MMR and the road formerly known as the grass two track. Proceed with caution.
  • There are a number of left turns onto busy roads. Going the opposite direction has us turning left where we used to go right, and there are a number of left turns that have limited visibility in either direction. Look twice and make sure it is clear.

Registration: You will have two opportunities to register this weekend. To register, you will need to be on the roster and have a signed waiver (see link above). If you are under 18, the waiver will have to be signed by your parent/guardian.
  • Early Registration: This will happen on Friday night, from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM, in the parking lot of Jake's Bikes. Jake is once again offering a 10% discount off anything in the store, so bring your bike wish list.
  • Race Day Registration: Saturday morning from 6:00 - 7:45 at the Garfield Elementary School
Race Day: All of this happens in the parking lot of the Garfield Elementary School.  
  • Staging (7:45 AM - 8:00 AM): We will line you up, say a few words, and start the race. FOR THE LAST TIME.
  • Race (8:00 AM - 8:00 PM): Yacht Rock your way over 100 miles of gravel, enjoy the day. Be smart and safe. 
  • Food/Drink (1:00 PM - ????): Post-race recovery is waiting for you at the finish. 

Facilities: The race will start and finish at the Garfield Elementary School in Garfield, MN. Parking will be in and along a grass playground next to the school. There will be no running water in the parking and staging area, so make sure you arrive at the start with everything you need. Garfield does have a convenience store that is just a few minutes away if want to purchase your water/food as close to the start as possible, or if you need any last minute items.

We will have 2 portable toilets in the staging area, but if you can take care of business beforehand, that would probably be best.

There will be volunteers on hand, so if you have any questions flag one of them down.

Once the race starts, there will be a controlled roll-out from town for just under two miles. Everyone will have jitters and adrenaline, so ride carefully. After that, you hit gravel and are off, on your own on the open public roads. We will see you at the finish!

What You Need: This list is cribbed straight from the Almanzo 100, and it works for getting your stuff together before any gravel century, so I am going to just give it to you straight from the source, with edits where applicable:
  • Yourself.
  • A bicycle in good working order.
  • An extra tube, some way to inflate it and some tools to make the job easier.
  • Enough food and water for at least 55 miles.
  • A cell phone for emergencies or to report that you will not finish.
  • Cash, a credit card, and an ID (in case of emergencies).
  • Appropriate clothing (check the forecast).
  • A helmet.
  • A signed release form.
  • Cue sheets
  • A way to hold your cue sheets.
The above checklist should get you to the start as ready as you are going to be.

I think that is everything. If you still have questions, please let me know in the comments below. Travel safe, and we will see you soon! 



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