Saturday, March 8, 2008

Oregon Randonneurs

Dave, Laura, and I rode 62 miles with the OrRando folks today. We met at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and signed in.

Officially 87 riders, a good showing considering the rain that was falling last night. We shoved off at 8AM, no rain, but the roads were still wet from the night's rain. I jumped right into a pretty fast group and we held better than 20 mph (just inches apart front to back and side to side) for about 18 miles when one of the women flatted.

I paused to see if she had everything she needed. That was all it took to fall off the back of the group. We were climbing a slight grade and I just couldn't hook back up with them. I solo rode the remaining few miles to Snooseville, the turnaround point. I ate a banana and drank some water then quickly hopped back on the bike. Within about a mile a tandem caught up with me and went around. I knew where my bread was buttered and pushed hard enough to slip into their copious draft. Before long we passed Dave and Laura making their way up to Snooseville. The had smiles on their faces and waved. The roads dried off and all was well. I managed to stay in the tandem's wake for the next 20+ miles as they pulled 20-22mph on the flats. I just about lost them at the "secret control" where they got better than a quarter mile jump on me as I waited to get my ride card initialed. It was all I had in me to catch back up with them. I gave it all I had because I knew what the benefit was to be in their draft. I enjoyed the tandem's gravitational pull for another 10 miles or so. In the non city of Kansas City (just past the famous Love Farm antler filled barn) I stopped to down a gel and drink some water. I let the tandem continue on their ride. I had ridden the stoker position on a tandem on my first 1 day STP and continue to marvel at their efficiency. The stoker was feeding the captain, taking the garbage back, calling out the next turns, passing gel and water forward. I was stuck on my solo bike doing that all for myself. But then I did have an easier time on the uphill sections!

I rode the last few miles into Forest Grove and the Maggie's Buns control solo.

I felt a bit tired from about 40-45 miles but rallied. As I turned on Evergreen Rd the velvet smooth pavement helped pick up my spirits. I pedaled back up to a 19-20 mph pace and held that back to the ride's end, finishing our circuit at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse.

I did not see the colored balls control coming off the Wilson River Road.......concentrating on the tandem you are drafting's rear tire just 6" in front of you will do that! Despite not being able to answer that question the powers that be were kind enough to issue me a very cool Populaire finisher's pin. I finished the 62 miles with just over an 18 mph average, the nice little finisher's pin supplied by the Oregon Randonneurs and a scuzzy bike to show for the first hour and a half on wet roads.

My 4 Race Across Oregon teammates were to meet at the finish today to go over race logistics. One teammate had previously sent regrets having family commitments, one other just didn't show.
And so it was that Mike and I met and went over some of the challenges we will face. It's hard to plan a team event when half the team doesn't attend.

How do you spell commitment? I hope it's not going to be an issue. Before we deal with an issue like that Mike and I will ride as a two man team. I am prepared to do that.


...............Road Bike.....LifeCycle.....Total Miles
Jan total.......98.....+........402....=..........500
Feb total.....385.....+.......220....=..........605



  1. Commitment.. How to "scuttle" a 4X-508 Team:


    The 508 is a huge undertaking. The act of riding the bike is just a small part of having a successful event; the preparation and commitment is by far the most difficult stage.

    Every team member needs to take a hard look at themselves and ask, "How committed am I?” The answer to that question cannot be a silent personal answer. That answer must be verbalized to every other team member. We all need to have complete confidence that each respective team member has a 100% sense of commitment to do what it takes to complete the 4X-Furnace Creek 508.

    While I look forward to participating as a 4X Team entry, the prospect of negotiating through the team-dynamic introduces a whole new set of uncertainties. Because each of the team members here is not collocated, there will be additional uncertainty because of the distances between us. Typically 508 teams develop and train together leading up to the 508.

    We must have a complete understanding of all rules and requirements. Take the time to read the rules a couple of times; we need to remove the uncertainty of a possible DQ because of a rules violation. For example, “Rule 14 D. Each team must enter with two or four racers (or eight if it is in the eight-racer tandem category). If one or more of the team members gets hurt or cannot ride, no substitutions or additions are allowed to their team roster. -DQ". We need a commitment to participate. My initial interpretation of the rule is once we register there can be no substitutions.

    Everyone here is a cyclist; Training and physical preparation is a personal process. Ask yourself if you're willing to show up in October with the endurance and climbing skills that it takes to complete your stages. The 508 is a no-drafting solo event; you may want to prepare for that by doing most (or all) of your training solo; be prepared for wind. Before you can answer the commitment question you’ve got to consider the Team Entry rules. The rules state that if a team rider cannot complete a stage, the team must return to the last time station and start again with the next rider in the sequence (Rule 14 C.). Failure to complete an assigned stage will put a burden on the team's ability to complete the 508.

    Every team member is responsible for the condition of their equipment. Everything should be in 100% operating condition well before the start of the 508. New bike, new wheels, new chain, new cassette, new chain-rings, etc. should be proven on a few shake-down rides before the October start. Discovering a problem on the day of the ride could result in a team DQ. Ask yourself if you can remove all uncertainties with your equipment before we line up at the starting line.

    Support Van:
    Each team member will be responsible to share in all of the support van rental, set-up, operating and maintenance expenses. We'll need to rent the van and have it ready for inspection on the Friday before the start. Those expenses will include: Rental Fees (including insurance), gas, lighting, signage, bicycle racks, etc. Ask yourself if you are able to commit to those expenses (and any other) that will arise. We need to have that financial commitment on the table before we can proceed as a team.

    You're obviously going to be responsible to pay your portion of the entry fee and get yourself and all of your equipment to Santa Clarita early in the day on Friday before the start. In addition to that, every team member is required to share in the expenses for the accommodations at the start and for the accommodations at the finish (whether we make it to the finish or not). Ask yourself if you are able to commit to those expenses (and any other) that will arise. We’ll also need to have that financial commitment on the table before we can proceed as a team.

    This message is not meant to be the complete list of things needed to do the 508. The whole task is big. It is huge from the very beginning of our preparation. And it does not end until we shake hands and say good-bye back at the starting line in Valencia.

    The 508 is a special event.
    The 508 deserves 100% commitment.
    Being part of a 4X_508 Team demands 100% commitment

    How committed are you?

    Eric Thrasher Troili

  2. Thanks so much for this Eric, as you so distinctly stated, being part of a team undertaking this effort requires so much more than riding a bike. While we all have lives outside cycling being part of a successful team with this goal must have priority for it to be successful.



Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.