Thursday, September 19, 2013

Road Construction Detour Details

Click for massive growth!  No pills necessary!!!

The current state of road construction at the HWY 30 and HWY 1 intersection has HWY 1 northbound blocked off so that you can't turn onto it from HWY 30.  Since the "official" detour will take you way off into the Narnian outback, here is my proposed "unofficial" detour.  See map above for reference.  If you're one of the folks coming from Dubuque, just take HWY 151 to HWY 1 and head south.  The road construction won't affect you.

Coming from Iowa City/Coralville (North on HWY 1)

  • Take HWY 1 North to HWY 30.  
  • Turn left (West) on HWY 30
  • Turn right (North) on 10th Ave S.  This intersection is now a roundabout.
  • Turn right (East) on Palisades road.
  • Turn left (North) on 1st Ave (HWY 1)
  • Follow to the start/finish area at the Webster street intersection.  If you get to the railroad tracks you've gone two blocks too far.
Coming from Cedar Rapids (East on HWY 30):
  • At the roundabout, turn North on 10th Ave S
  • Turn right (East) on Palisades road.
  • Turn left (North) on 1st Ave (HWY 1)
  • Follow to the start/finish area at the Webster street intersection.  If you get to the railroad tracks you've gone two blocks too far.
Coming from Marion/Dubuque (South on HWY 1):
  •  No worries about the detour.  Just come south on HWY 1.  The start/finish is before the road construction.
Coming from Clinton (West on HWY 30)
  •  Continue through HWY 30/HWY 1 intersection
  • Turn right (North) on 10th Ave S.  This intersection is now a roundabout.
  • Turn right (East) on Palisades road.
  • Turn left (North) on 1st Ave (HWY 1)
  • Follow to the start/finish area at the Webster street intersection.  If you get to the railroad tracks you've gone two blocks too far.
For you folks staying at one of the hotels in town, they are both currently affected by the road construction.  If you can get to the HWY 30/HWY 1 intersection though, it's fairly trivial to get into the hotels.  If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me an email.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Parking and Such

Click for embiggening.

Moar details for y'all.

Parking:
Curse of the colorblind, but I'm pretty sure I picked out green and red for the aerial view shown above.  In any case, areas marked in what I think is green are suitable for parking.  For those of you staying overnight, I strongly suggest you park along Webster street or at least move your cars there after the ride.  PLEASE DO NOT PARK IN WHAT I THINK IS THE RED AREA!  That's where my neighbors park, and they'll be cool as long as we're being cool.  Otherwise, you should be good parking at any of the Davis Park parking lots.  I'd avoid the parking lot on the east side of HWY 1 (1st ave) since it's currently youth soccer season, although I'm sure you'd be fine if you're not staying overnight.

Start/Finish:
The start/finish will be at the west intersection of HWY 1 (1st ave) and Webster street.  My house is on the southwest corner of this intersection, and that's where you'll be checking in.  If you need the address for GPS purposes, email me at craig@projectbackroads.com and I'll send it to you.  I just don't want to put it out there on the wild wild world of the interwebs for all to see.

Facilities:
I have but one bathroom for the 20+ people who have already signed up, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to hit up a gas station bathroom on your way over to avoid the line.  I debated bringing in a porta-john, but I think we're below the threshold where we really need one and since all expenses for this ride come out of my pocket I'm going to be a cheap bastard on this one.  I doubt this will be as much of an issue after the ride since people will be more spread out and less antsy.  Plus, it'll be dark and I have bushes.  If you're staying the night, you'll have access to the shower.  The hot water will only last for the first two or three people, so you can rock-paper-scissors for the privilege.  Sorry, it's an old house with an old water heater.  I'll have a hose out in the yard as well if you just need a quick rinse.

Road construction:
Unfortunately there is currently road construction at the intersection of HWY 30 and HWY 1 that will affect everyone but the locals and those coming in from the north side of town.  Right now you can't get on HWY 1 northbound directly from HWY 30, so on Thursday I'll post a map with the current state of the detours.  Luckily Mount Vernon isn't a very big town, so even if you forget to check back you should still be able to find your way to HWY 1.

Miscellaneous:
  • If you're planning on hanging around after the ride, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring something to sit on.  I'll have some extra chairs, and I'm going to see if I can borrow some folding chairs from work, but just it would still be wise to bring your own just in case.
  • I'll have stuff for tacos warmed up and ready for the after party, with meat and vegetarian fillings.  I'll make a half-hearted effort to provide a vegan option as well, but no guarantees.
  • There will be pre-ride snacks as well.  Feel free to take some along for the ride.
  • Any questions about anything?  Feel free to shoot me an email or post a comment.  I typically respond within a few hours.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Course Map and Details

The course info for the Moonshine Metric can be found here.  If you're the GPS type, you can get your GPX files there.  If you're the cue sheet type, I'll have those posted later on and will have some at the start.  If you're the minimalist type, you can just hang back and ride with me.

If you rode last years Moonshine you can pretty much expect the same for this year in terms of road conditions, barring rain.  I rode the course a few weeks ago and it was dry dry dry.  Unless we get some good rainfall in the next week you should expect a couple miles of cocoa powder B roads and lots of dust.  Additionally, the B roads haven't seen squat in the way of maintenance this year so the first two mile stretch (about two miles into the ride) is rutted out, overgrown and gnarly.  I don't suggest sucking any wheels in this stretch.

Expect plenty of this.

At around mile 31 we'll turn onto a closed road.  There's a bridge along it, with a couple mounds of dirt blocking either side.  It's passable though, so we won't be routing around it.  Just consider it a bonus B road.

 Some bushwhacking required.

At mile 44-ish we'll pass a Casey's, and apart from an early bar that we ride by in Sutliff this will be your only opportunity for resupply.  They're open 24 hours, so no worries about them being closed when we come through.

At mile 50, there's a wheel eating bridge at the bottom of a steep hill.  BE CAREFUL HERE!  We'll lay down some plywood to give you some good surfaces to ride on, but we won't be covering the entire bridge.  If you stick to the tracks worn into the gravel you should hit the plywood sections, but you still want to proceed with caution.  It's gonna be dark after all.

Those are 45mm tires.

Apart from that it's pretty much standard fare for a summertime Midwest gravel grinder. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Correction

For about 7 hours last night I had the wrong state listed for the ride location (oops).  It has since been corrected but I wanted to clarify that it will be held in the great state of Iowa, land of corn, butter cows and Matt Maxwell's beard. 

Thanks to G-ted for the proofread.

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 Details and Registration

Date and time:
Saturday, September 21st.  Rollout at 7pm.

Location:
Mount Vernon, IA.  We will be leaving from the intersection of Webster Road and HWY 1 (near Davis park).

Entry fee: 
Minimum of one high five, fist bump or Ryu-style Hadoken to be delivered to your host or another rider of your choosing.  Also, if you want to bring food or drink to share then that's cool too (but not required).

Course info:
65 miles consisting of about 80% gravel, 10% B roads and 10% pavement.  There is one resupply opportunity at mile 44 (Solon, IA) that should be open until at least 11pm, but I'll check on that.  Total climbing is around 3500ft with a mix of flat and rolling terrain.

Lodging:
If you're the hotel/motel type, there are two options in Mount Vernon.  The Sleep Inn and the Mount Vernon Motel.  If you're the camping type, you're welcome to pitch a tent in my back yard (near the start/finish line).  There's plenty of room back there with only one caveat...  I live two blocks from busy railroad tracks.  I'd suggest bringing ear plugs or enough booze to sleep through the horns.  There's also camping available a few miles away at Palisades-Keppler state park if that's more your flavor.  Protip:  It's a lot quieter there.

What's the plan?
This ride is intended to be no-droppish in nature, though cues and GPX files will be provided so that you can ride ahead at your leisure.  I will personally be riding at the back, as long as the tail end of the group is holding a 10MPH overall average.  That'll be about a 10.5 to 11MPH rolling average, so bear that in mind.  If you ride slower then that's cool, but be sure to bring a set of cue sheets or a GPS with the course loaded as I'll be riding ahead.  At the finish, we'll have a fire going and plenty of food for everyone.  Beverages of an alcoholic nature are up to up to you though.  Bring a chair if you plan on hanging out.  The last two years we've stayed up pretty late comparing knitting recipes and other such manly things.

Registration:
To register for the Moonshine Metric, all you need to do is send me an email at craig@projectbackroads.com with your name and where you're from.  This gives me an idea of how many people will show up so I can plan accordingly, so please don't assume I know or just show up on the day of the ride.  I won't be posting a roster online this year, so I'll respond to your email for confirmation.

I'll be posting regular updates between now and the ride date, including gear suggestions, course conditions and other important information, so be sure to check back regularly.  Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Moonshine Metric 2013

The preliminary date for this year's Moonshine Metric is September 21st, rolling from Mount Vernon, IA at 7pm.  Details and sexy new race flyer to be posted later this week.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quick Update

Those of you on the roster should have received an email containing cue sheets, route files, and other miscellaneous details.  If you haven't received this email, please let me know.

For those of you still on the fence, the forecast is looking good and fun times will be had.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012 Roster

The 2012 roster has been posted in the sidebar and will continue to be updated as more people join up.  If I missed your name, let me know in the comments below and I'll add you to the roster.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Start Time, Other Details

Nom nom nom...

First off, this year the Moonshine will start at 6pm.  I was hoping to start at 7pm in order to have the entire ride run at night, but the only town on the route with a proper convenience store (Casey's in this case) is 50 miles in and the they're only open until 11pm.  Last year we cut it close, rolling in within 20 minutes of closing.  Since this is the only real place to get food or drink on the route (Sutliff doesn't count) I wanted to make sure everyone would get a chance to hit it before they closed.  That means we'll be running the first hour or so at dusk/sunset, which will get us through most of the B roads under daylight.  Honestly, that's not a bad thing.  Most of them have seen recent maintenance but all it takes is one good rain, a loaded 4x4 and a case of Busch light to turn a dirt highway back to a rutted sketchfest.  Ambient light helps with that.

Speaking of sketch, there is a bridge late in the ride that will eat a wheel like it's been laced with double butted french fries (see pic above).  Oh, by the way... It sits right at the bottom of a fast descent.  Last year we laid plywood down one side of of the bridge to give riders a safe surface to cross on, provided they lined it up right.  This year there will be even more plywood covering even more of the bridge.  To give you a proper heads up, the location of the bridge will be marked on the cue sheets.

About the cue sheets, I'll be posting them within the next week along with GPS/TCX files for you folks with the magic GPS boxes.  More on that later.

Finally, for post ride festivities I have been given permission to borrow a projector from work so we'll be showing various bike videos and movies on the side of my garage.  One film that has been confirmed is 300 Miles of Gravel, which is a documentary covering the 2011 running of Trans Iowa.  I have some other films in mind, but we'll probably take requests that night.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Updates

 

We've got a month left til the ride.  'Bout time for some updates, eh?

 Start/Finish location
The ride will start and finish at Davis park in Mount Vernon, IA, at the end of Webster Street. From there, it's a (very) short ride to my house where we will do our post ride stuff.  If you bring food and drink, you can drop it off at my house before the start. 

Lodging
We will likely be finishing up sometime in the time frame of 11pm and 1am and the night isn't ending there.  Therefore, you'll probably want to know about where to shack up for the night if you're coming from out of town.  For those of you that want to pitch a tent in my backyard, you're more than welcome to.  I just need to know ahead of time so we don't overbook.  I should have room for half a dozen to a dozen tents, depending on size.  One thing you should be aware of, I live two blocks from a busy set of railroad tracks (2-4 trains per hour, all night long).  Keep that in mind if you're going that route.

If you're looking to get a hotel room, there are two hotel/motels in town.  The Mount Vernon Inn and the Sleep Inn and Suites.  Both are about a mile from the start/finish.  There's also a couple B&B's in town if you're interested in going that route.

Finally, there are a few campgrounds within a 15 minute drive.  Palisades-Kepler State Park, Lake MacBride and the Coralville Reservoir area.  I don't know how late in the season these are all open though.

Course updates
Two weekends ago we rode a good chunk of the course and came across a closed bridge (see pic above).  The railing is damaged on this bridge, but other than that I have no idea what they plan do do on it or when they plan on doing it.  Worst case scenario, we'll have a shallow water crossing.  If the water is too high, we'll route around it.  Shouldn't be too much of an issue.  Otherwise, everything is kosher.

Other stuff
For post ride festivities, I'm working on arranging a special treat.  I'm not going to go into too much detail at the moment since I'm still ironing things out, but right now it looks like we'll have some extra post ride entertainment to go with the potluck and bonfire.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

2012 Moonshine Metric Date Announced

We had so much fun last year, let's do this again!

Q: So what is it?
A: A metric century on gravel run entirely at night.  Admission:  FREE.

Q: Really?  When?
A: September 29th, 2012 (full moon, sucka!)  Exact start time is TBD, but it'll be either 6 or 7pm depending on how late the one gas station on the route is open.

Q: So what's the course like then?
A:  65 miles of premium Iowa gravel with about 10% of that in the form of some sweet ass B roads.  There's some pavement in there as well, but we keep that at a minimum.

Q: Dude, that sounds awesome!  Gimme some more details!
A: You betcha.  This is a ride of gentlemanly nature and no timings, placings, stats or touchdowns will be recorded.  This is intended to be a no drop ride, but if you can't hold at least a 10MPH average then you may find yourself off the back (I don't want to be out on the road still at 2am).  Don't worry though, cue sheets will be provided and bailout points will be marked.  Basically you just have to keep up with me and I'm all slow and junk, so if you can do at least 11-12MPH on a moderately hilly gravel metric then you should be fine.

Q: So that's all cool and all, but what do we do when we're done?  I'm going to be all wired up, yaknow.
A: We got you covered there as well.  After the ride you can plan on hanging out for the post ride potluck and bonfire.  Bring your beverage of choice and if you so desire, a plate to share.  Last year we hung around the fire until 3am. 

Q: Sweet! Are there any other things I should know?
A: Yep.  This ride is self supported and YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR DAMN SELF.  Don't be stupid.  If you end up being stupid anyway (happens to me all the time) no one will bail you out.  Keep that in mind at all times and you should be shiny.

Q: Right on!  How do I sign up?
A: Fire off an email to craig@projectbackroads.com and you're in.  All I need to know is your name, but if you want to tell me more about yourself then feel free.  I'll be posting the roster on this site, so if you're one of those shy/private/paranoid types then I'll allow for a pseudonym of my choosing to post in place of your real name.  I still need your real name for my personal keeping-track-of-stuffedness though, but I'll keep it to myself.  Pinky swear.

Q: Alright, I'm in.  Will you be providing regular updates?
A: Of course.  Just keep checking this site for any new developments.