Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Unsupported Ride

We tend to split hairs, randonneuring, bike touring, racing, for those fettered by chains to wheels in prolonged motion. They do this perhaps because it will make their lives better, and who knows how tough it has been so far. I think the ride would never end, if it did not depend on some contrived cut-off point. At SIR we tend to err on the side of support, especially for the spring brevets. This encourages speed, making things closer to an ultra-marathon event, never mind some really gifted riders that are not only fast but seem to need little support, perhaps the one comes from the other, there is some logic behind this, for instance faster riders catch services still open. This support level also encourages new recruits to the sport, what good is an awesome sport with no participants, the Feast of the Immortals.
Support also creates a buffer zone, recruiting a larger participation despite varying ability, fitness and experience.
Ever since traveling with Mark and Geoff from Troutdale to Whitefish I have been drawn to the unsupported ride, I believe they emphasize the cerebral (decision making) aspect of the ride, a special arrow to have in your quiver. Where do I find these rides; Permanents and Pre- Rides. The Pre-Rides also come with extra unpredictability. Adding another dimension to the equation is the Point to Point ride. Most brevets take the form of some kind of loop, invoking the law of averages, headwinds now, tail winds later, what goes up will come down. This is obviously a simplification, but on the Pre-Ride of the Crater Lake 1000K with Geoff, without study of the profile of the ride, I completed the hundred mile climb expecting to descend 8000ft to the finish. Klamath falls was still above 4000ft ASL, nice curve. Point is (no pun intended), with a point to point situation it is theoretically possible to climb, descend, fight headwinds or drift with tailwinds for the whole ride. I like this.
Joe Platzner intuited that we are drawn to an "Audacious" ride. Well there you have it.
The S2G or Seattle to Glacier is coming up August the 16th. It travels from Everett to Whitefish. It will be largely unsupported, yes! there will be drop bags and a Cheshire cat. Your Bike will support you. so come prepared to support it in return, you will also have your Buddies and the whole states of Washington, Idaho and Montana.

In Memory of Don Boothby