I have a hard enough time sleeping, but throw in my biggest event of the season and humid, sticky evenings . . . . well, all I can tell you is a lot of peanut butter sandwiches are being eaten at three in the morning (cause what else are you going to do?). I haven't been nervous or worried about one single event all season. However, this is a big friggin event - big in lots of ways: travel there, logistics, planning of drop bags, nutrition choices, gearing, the distance of the race, what am I going to wear to the awards and draw prize show, keeping up with the fitness at home, finding the best route from Ottawa to PA, and so on and so on. Feels like my brain has been working in overdrive (so that'd be like two hamsters on the wheel at the same time - mind you one is overweight and the other isn't too bright, often running in the other direction).
Here are a few decisions that I have made:
- Gearing: going to run 32 x 19 - contemplated running a 20t, 18t too big . . . meh - one tooth either way won't kill me . . . . right?!? I still might switch off to a 20t. Maybe not . . . . well?
- Wheels: running tubeless - rumor and race reports have it that there are some long rocky descents - if I slice a side wall, I'll probably slice the tube too. I'll take the added traction and suspension from tubeless - will be my first race on the tubeless. Guess I got to do it sometime.
- Drop Bags - # 2 (40 miles) and #4 (80 miles) - aid stations are fully stocked for the most part. I'm putting a can of coke in each of my drop bags - Coke is the cat's arse when the going gets tough.
- Hydration - this was a tough one for me: Wingnut pack VS. bottles. I decided to go with two bottles. I've used the Wingnut only a few times this year and hate wearing it (not that it's a bad pack - it's actually the best I've ever used), it's just I hate having anything on my back when it's hot. Aid stations are roughly 30km apart - if everything goes alright (knock on wood), I should be good. I also find that using a bottle I am more aware of how much and how often I am drinking, whereas you can't see with a hydration pack. Besides, if I want to look fast, I need to strap on my tube and air to my seatpost.
- Awards - going with sling backs and a classic black dress - simple and classy, just like me.
- Saddle bag - since I'm not using a hydration pack and I don't want to carry shit in my jersey I'll be running a seat bag. I fuggging hate seat bags, but I hate wearing a pack on my back for that long and in the heat even more. I've cinched it down tight, so nothing will be bouncing around. Jersey will be used for food.
- Long lonely drive down - when I registered for this race there were a bunch of my riding buddies who were like, "Oh yeah. I'm in for sure." Fuggers. Where are you now? I still have room - any takers? . . . . .Bueller? . . . . Bueller? . . . . Bueller? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I thought not.
But since this is my blog and I'm rambling, let me continue.
To be perfectly honest, I'm a bit scared about this race. First, I'm going to stop calling it a race - cause if you saw the competition you'd know it wasn't any longer a race. So it's going to be a big old big ass big ride. I use my usual race tactics: start off slow and gradually get slower as the race goes on, clawing my way to the finish line.
Cramping is on my brain - but I've been doing everything I can about that - will come down to hydrating, electrolytes and the heat/humidity of the day. Gearing - did I go too steep? Meh. It is what it is - if I have to walk some climbs, I have to walk some climbs.
I have no benchmarks on how to judge what to expect in terms of finishing times. I have no one to pace against, I have never ridden in PA, and I know a little about the course.
I'm looking forward to meeting up with some fellow bloggers/racers: Shockstar and Soiled Chamois and it will be nice to have someone to call home for me when I cross the line to tell my wife to come collect my carcass.