Thursday, December 12, 2013

Big Organized Rides 2014

It's time to plot out the next year, although it won't necessarily be easy -- not all the calendars are filled in yet.  Opinions?  Interest?  Others to add?  Needless to say, the long list of unorganized rides is not included here.  For example, I'm tempted by another crack at Bremerton to Klamath if the miles stack up the way they should and Sam is available.

24 Hours of Sebring:  February 15-16, 2014.  May be tough to be in shape for that kind of mileage that early in the year, but looking at the numbers some people are putting up does make on salivate.

DC Randonneurs events:  the calendar is not yet available, I'm sorry to see.  Generally you can predict a few 200s between February and March; two 300s in April/May; a 400 in May, and a 600 in June.

RAAM Challenge Races:  this is a series of 200- and 400-mile events held in several locations at several dates throughout the year.  Most tempting from the perspective of convenience, timing, beauty, and apparent disinterest is Hillsboro, Oregon, May 10-11, 2014.

Trans-Iowa Race:  April 26-27, 2014.  Dirt road ultra.  I'm sorely tempted.

Mountains of Misery:  Sunday, May 25.  I do think I'll return for my fourth go at this great ride.  Damon lowered the bar (analogizing to limbo, not to high-jump) by going sub-8 last year.  Question:  can that be done on a metal bicycle?  Time will tell.

National 24-hour Challenge:  June 14-15, 2014.  We've discussed this event at huffmanbicycleclub before.  In 50 words or fewer, it's a casual, easy to access, low-cost, easy to self-support, and fun way to see how far you can ride as the small hand makes two round trips.  Last year was nothing glorious, but it was definitely something new.

Diabolical Double:  June 21, 2014.  A tremendous ride that I haven't done the past few years.  Tempting.

Alaska Randonneurs 600K:  date as yet not known, but this is usually targeted for the Saturday closest to the Solstice.  I would bet June 21, 2014.  This is a romantic favorite and a woman from Oregon (Asta Chastain -- not, apparently, related to Brandi) showed last year that 24 hours is a real possibility on this route.  On the other hand, it's a long way to travel and I'm 2 for 4 in Alaska Randonneurs events, cutting deeply into expected payout figures.  It also conflicts with DD, above, and is badly placed if somebody wants to ride the 24-hour Challenge.

Saratoga 12/24:  July 12-13, 2014.  This conflicts with the Double Triple Bypass (next), but does have three things going for it: it's another opportunity to try riding round the clock; it's driving distance from DC; and because there is a new course as of last year and nobody lit it up, the 24-hour course record is definitely within reach.  (One guy did light up the 12-hour, sorry to see.)

Double Triple Bypass:  July 12-13, 2014.  But for the altitude and the scenery, the Triple Bypass -- with 10,000 feet of climbing over 125 miles -- is kind of a yawn.  But riding out one day and back the next might make for a heck of a weekend!  Registration is January 2.  Also going for the Double Triple?  The organizers reserve slots for the two-day event and it historically does not fill up as instantly as the normal Triple Bypass.

Race Across Oregon:  July 18-21, 2014.  Is this the hardest of the various mini-RAAMs?  Intriguingly, the organizers run a series of serious long distance events over the course of the year.  RAO is, of course, King among them.

Second half of the year forthcoming.  Any additions, subtractions, or advice?


sam said...

Ambitious schedule, with lots of travel!

I could be in for N24C and Saratoga 12/24. DTB also seems interesting. I like the idea of finding a casual 1000K or two, even if not for RUSA credit. I bet Texas has plenty of 1000K permanent routes.

The Colorado CM routes are also enticing. Perhaps could be planned to coincide with a family reunion in the area....

Unknown said...

Next year is shaping up to be extremely light on triathlons for me, both because I'm planning on some long cycling races, and because I'm the only person in my social group not (currently planning on) getting married next summer. My travel budget isn't infinite.

Having said that, I'm tentatively planning on the following:

(1) 24 hours of Sebring. I'm already registered. This could be a bit of a debacle in that I'll head into it objectively light on miles, but I'm on the trainer 5 days a week or so these days and I'm in better cycling shape than I have been at this point in prior years. I have moderate faith that I can clear 400 miles (RAAM Qual), and a notion that I could win if things break in my favor, but it'll be an experiment in many ways. The course record for my AG is 449.1, which seems like a lot, but considering M40-44 and M45-49 are in the 480s, it appears to be at least human. This has to be a blisteringly fast course, so I think it's really just a question of staying aero and staying moving.

(2) Randonneuring events. I'll do some, I'm sure, but it's hard to say what they'll be at this point. I'm planning on Central Coast 1200k in August, and Lois Springsteen, the RBA in charge of it, has expressed a willingness to allow me to substitute some 24-hour races and challenge rides for qualifying brevets. I doubt I'll do a full 2-3-4-600k series.

(3) National 24-hour Challenge. I think this is my big June event. It looks like there's some talent, which is appealing, and I'd look forward to drafting Max for the first 12 hours while blasting N'Sync from a handlebar-mounted speaker.

(4) MoM and DD... dunno. I don't want to overcommit myself, but they're great rides and convenient. Also, DD is a week or so after National 12/24. I'd say DD is somewhat unlikely, especially since I rode it last year. As for MoM, Mike W. went 7:46, and I went 7:49. I have zero confidence I can improve on that time, which came at least in part because the temps were in the 60s, instead of the 80s. On the other hand, I do think I've finally figured that course out.

(5) Saratoga. Who lit up the 12-hour? I'm still second overall behind Matt Roy, as far as I can tell. (Although Matt did have a great ride, so maybe he's the person to whom you're referring.) The 24-hour CR is absolutely within reach, to the point of seeming like something of a gimme if the conditions are anything like 2012 and the rider is supported. If I don't do RAO, this seems appealing.

(6) RAO or, more likely, Furnace Creek. RAO is more appealing in certain ways -- logistically it's easier and I'd have a better chance of doing well there. The trick is that it comes at a tough time of the year given my other plans, such as Central Coast 1200k only a bit later, and it would also make Saratoga impossible. Furnace Creek is a little easier timing-wise, although I'd almost certainly get my ass kicked. I need to make up my mind on this pretty soon.

sam said...

If I'm feeling good, I may go for the win at Saratoga in the 'one lap fun ride' category.

Max said...

I have no ambition of doing all of the above! I'm just laying out the options.

Saratoga is a new course, so last year's winners are record holders. 255 miles for the 12 and ~360 for the 24.

DTB: the biggest downside is that we'll be in Colorado exactly a month later. The upside is there's nothing quite like high mountain riding.

Max said...

I just spent a few minutes at the Cyclos Montagnards website. There's no gentle way to say it -- those guys are the baddest of the bad. The Fleche challenge? Although there's no absolute rule, the implication is anything less than 600K isn't interesting. Proposing a route? It had better be as hard as riding PBP in 56 hours or less.

I'm definitely up for riding a CM route before, after, or both, the family Estes Park gathering.

sam said...

If being in Colorado twice in a month is the biggest downside, then DTB should be a shoe-in.

Any of the CM challenges would, for me, be a sufficient accomplishment to feel good about the year. Completing them in the allotted time strikes me as a bigger challenge than any of the N.A. 1200s.

Max said...

Sign up for DTB begins (I think) January 1. Let's circle back before then.

At least one CM route goes through Estes Park. That particular one was 450 KM, which about the right distance given the challenges.

Another of the routes actually climbs above 14K feet.

Unknown said...

The CM rides look like fun, but I'm mildly annoyed about their militant anti-technology stance. I mean, really: they're telling me that because I have a Di2 bike, I can't get credit for their rides? Piecing together brevets and permanents from the last 2 years, I'm already an R70 in theory, but to prove it I'd need to produce a GPS file, which violates their preference against riding with GPS units.

Isn't this all stupidly arbitrary? It's not as if, when bikes were created, people were riding around with generator hubs to power their bike lights.

Max said...

Understood. Of course, every sport sets an cut-off freezing at some arbitrary place the point beyond which technological advances are not permitted. Triathlon prohibits recumbents although they are human powered bicycles; accrediting authorities recognize that if they allowed recumbents the record books would be blown wide open. Swimming has the knee-length rule on men's suits. UCI is famous for its ridiculous rules.

If you are going to draw a line, it makes sense that it should be at a qualitative and not quantitative point, e.g., it would be silly to say "no more than 10 cogs on the cassette" but it is much less silly to say "bike must be chain drive." From that perspective, no battery-powered shifting is as reasonable as any other possible bright-line.

But yeah, at bottom its a bunch of guys who say "the way we do it is better than the way those other guys do it," and if you are one of those other guys, it's plenty fair to say "phooey on you too."