The transit of the dirt section of River Rd begins about 4 miles after the start. The view above (from 2008) is the last pavement you will see for 1.5 miles. Bright orange signs on each side of the road will indicate 200m to the turn.
This is the turn that begins the real race. At the bottom of the steep short hill, Edwards Ferry Rd ends in a T-intersection with River Rd. The gravel begins on the apex of this turn. You cannot ride this turn like it was in a criterium: start from the outside and complete most of the turn before the pavement ends.
(photo from 2008)
Course conditions on the gravel section of River Road are the smoothest they have been in many years. The 1.5 miles of dirt is almost completely free of the giant craters that made the 2009 course so challenging. Nearly the entire way is two tracks of hard-packed dirt, separated by a ridge of gravel.
Some competitors who crashed in '09 are still on the course, however.
In dry conditions, the dust can be choking. (photo from 2008)
About 400m from the end of the dirt section, you cross a one-lane bridge. (photo from 2008)
Finally, the end of the gravel and the beginning of pavement! Intersection of River Rd and Elmer School Rd. (2010 photo)
The rest of the course itself is quite narrow for nearly the entire length. This is a typical view along West Offutt Rd
The trophies are a new design for 2010. The iconic gravel, taken from the hair-raising turn onto River Rd at the bottom of the hill at the end of Edwards Ferry, remains, but it has been encased in epoxy.