Friday, September 25, 2009

Outta Time

"Great Scott, Marty! I'm going to drown because I'm not wearing a life preserver!"

Wow. I just realized that the Tree Shaker 12 Hour Mountain Bike Race is rapidly approaching. I’m pretty nervous about this endurance racing thing, so I guess I haven’t really been paying attention to the date. October 10th is rapidly approaching; two weeks from tomorrow to be exact. My former Summer Series nemesis Doug sent me a message yesterday asking if I was still in. We had been looking for a third teammate, since Patrick had other plans that weekend. Well, Yesterday morning I got word from the Dirty Party Cycle that he would join the team of suffering. I’m not sure how ready any of us are, but I figured we are all have about the same level of fitness and riding ability. I have one concern (other than the fact that none of us has ever done a race like this before), and that is our team name. Since I’m riding for Middle Ring Cycles, it almost seems like a given that I put that down as the team name. However, Doug and the DPC don’t share my team affiliation so I was thinking of putting the B-43 name out there and see how that goes. I am also partial to Team Suffering, which has no established team implications, but it sure will do a good job of describing us. I guess I can discuss it with my team.

The other thing to discuss amongst the “team” is strategy. Who goes first? How many laps each? How do we man the support tent? Should I buy a tent to use for the aforementioned support tent? Do we need chairs or a cot to flop down on between laps? A cooler full of beer? And then there’s night riding, which is another challenge. I think I’m the only one properly equipped to ride at night, although the DPC probably still has some sort of lights or light system. I know that Doug neither has any type of lights, nor has he ridden at night before. I have a tad bit (read: miniscule) more night riding time than the DPC, but that would hardly qualify me as an expert night rider. I have ridden that exact same course at night though (last year as a volunteer), which is a plus. Besides, by the time we get to the night riding, we will be so fatigued that it won’t matter. We will need all the help we can get.

Are these guys available for riding at night?

With only two weeks left, I need a plan. Looking at last year’s results, I saw that the winner of the three person male category finished with 15 laps, and a time of 11 hours, 44 minutes. The third place team finished with 14 laps and a time of 12 hours, 16 minutes. Let me break that down to see what we need to do to at least get on the podium. To really strive for greatness, we should each do 5 laps, for a total of fifteen. The reported course distance is 9 miles, so that puts us at 45 miles each. Ouch. So, 15 laps in roughly 12 hours would have us doing an average of 11.25 miles per hour, completing the 9 mile lap in 48 minutes. That’s doable, but I’m not sure if we can keep that pace for 5 laps each. I was thinking maybe two laps at a time at first, which would give us a nice break in between. So, two laps, rest four laps, two more laps, rest two more laps. Then, one each at the end will give us fifteen, total. Geez, who knew that a mountain bike race would involve so much math? Yuck. Of course, all of this depends on a few variables, like mechanical problems, crashes, etc. Did I mention that we have to pay for this suffering? That is the life of a mountain bike racer I suppose. I chose this path, and it is my density, err, my destiny. Maybe these couch potato-types are on to something. Screw it, I’m in. Bring on the suffering.

More like the Dirt Trail Through Hell, but whatever. Sign me up.


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