The last 3 miles of the Silver City Century are on the Wabash Trace. Known as “the trace” to locals, it is 60+ miles of Rails to Trails goodness that goes from Council Bluffs to Blanchard. It’s well maintained and used by locals and visitors from all over. There’s been a lot written about the trace, so I’ll let you do your own research and I’ll cover the important thing here for us as gravel racers.
Rule #1: No Racing on the Trace
Even though the Silver City Century is a “race” with a podium and prizes, this is still grassroots racing and not a fully sanctioned international event. We’re here to have fun. Having the routes on the Trace was a matter of local pride, convenience, and just keeping people safe. But, it does mean we have to hold back and take it easy for the last 3 miles of the race. So, once you get on the trace, just settle into your position and stop any and all passing. At this point, the race is effectively done and all you need to do is glide into Silver City to thundering applause… or most likely, some classic rock playing on loudspeakers.
What if I’m neck and neck with someone?
If you and a few other people are all close together on Gaston after the time trial on 302nd St. as you turn onto the trace you’ll need to come to a lady-like and gentleman’s agreement on who is going to cross the finish line in first, second and third place. You all get the same prize, so it’s not that big of a deal who the top three are. If there’s more than 3 in the group, figure out who had the best day or needs it the most. Maybe it’s the person with the best beard or longest leg hair or who just lost their job or just had a baby… long story short… just figure it out.
Think of the Trace as our own little Champs-Élysées. During the Tour de France, the last stage of the tour goes down this amazing road in Paris. While the Tour de France is a huge race, no one races on this last stage. The positions are all set from the stages previous and everyone rides fast, but stays in a nice orderly bunch. There have been exceptions to this on rare occasion, but the rule generally applies, no racing on the last stage. And, the same goes for Silver City. No racing on the trace.
Be cool and have fun
Help us all have a good day. We anticipate with such a small field of racers, this won’t be a big deal. We’ll be looking at all the podium winners GPS recordings and if we find that you passed people on the trace, we’ll have to have an awkward conversation, so please don’t. Just be cool and figure it all out on Gaston and let’s have a good day.