Watching a bicycle race is kind of hard. My favorite way is from a TV at home on my couch, but unfortunately the Iowa Gravel Series is not televised (yet). So, if friends and family want to come cheer you on, what can they do? Well, we have scouted out a couple options for you for each race. As we get closer to each race we’ll add a new section.
This part of Iowa is a pure gem. Both the Loess Hills State Forest network and Preparation Canyon offer some amazing day hikes. Fortunately, the Pisgah route hits some of these places and might be a good place to watch. Below is a list of places and you can also view them on a map here.
- Loess Hills Scenic Overlook – Small parking spot across the road. Great view and it’s at the top of one of the longer climbs on the first section.
- Preparation Canyon State Park Overnight Parking – Not a big parking place, but enough room for a few cars. This is right before the first big climb, so good place to help your rider gear up for mentally for the hills.
- Ingemann Danish Lutheran Church – This is on a paved section going down hill, so the riders will be moving fast. Hopefully they’ve caught their breath from the first climb and can give you a wave as they zoom by.
- Gleason Hubel Wildlife Area – This is the second aid station for the race. Emotionally I would imagine some folks will be drained at this point. And, they have one really big climb “138th & Fulton” ahead of them. Give a big cheer and let them know they can do it!
This area is beautiful and so unique to Iowa. If you’re a fan of side-by-sides and UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicles), you’ve found the right sport. There area number of small pull-out points for all the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) areas, so that would be my first recommendation for watching and cheering on riders. Here’s a list of what’s on the route:
- Iverson Bottoms Wildlife – This is were the first aid-station is located. It is right on the Upper Iowa River in a fun little shady spot. Great to just hangout and watch riders zip by as they come down their first big climb and get ready for the second big climb of the day.
- Highland General Store – probably the most civilized part of the route. Racers will be coming down Quandahl Rd. and turning left to go South on on Highlandville Rd.
- River Rd., Just South of Lower Dam Rd. – This is the second aid-station location. It’s possible to hike down to the Upper Iowa River from this location. The aid station will be about a quarter of a mile south of the point on the map.
- Van Buren Dr. – This section is just a mile from the end of the race. People will be tired and it’s a bit of butt-kicker to get up. Might be a good place to offer some encouragement. But, you might risk missing folks crossing the finish line.
- Start and finish line on Spirit Rd. – The route starts in town at the fairgrounds, but it officially starts and stops on Spirit Rd. There’s not a lot of room for parking, but since we’re still a small group it should be a problem having people cheering on the finishers as they come in.
Silver City Century
There are a number of parks and cemeteries along the Silver City route. This makes it easy to park and hang out for a bit while you wait for your family member or friend to ride by in a sweaty mess of gravel endurance. Here are a few places that you might look at depending the route your friend or family member is on.
- Wesley Chapel and Cemetery
- Old Town Park in Macedonia
- Carson City Park – it doesn’t show up on the map, but it’s just at the far West end of Carson Ave. on W N St. And, it has a nice little playground.
- Old Town or Pioneer Memorial Cemetery – Also doesn’t show up on the map, but has some ancient headstones.
- 100km and 50km
- Willow Slough State Game Management area. The racers on both the 100km and riders on the 50km will go through the area.
- Cottonwood Cemetery and Ray Thomas Wildlife Preserve – This is just a cool place. Great area to go for a hike while you wait for folks to ride their bike by.