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Addendum to J's B'ham DC Ride Report .....(2 posts)

Addendum to J's B'ham DC Ride Report .....TNSquared
Sep 9, 2003 8:01 AM
I hesitate to intrude into J's ride report, but after re-reading it I think two noteworthy items should be included:

First, J didn't explain how the 4 DC'ers from our group got their last 25 miles after the equipment snafu at the start shorted their first loop. After reaching the finish area, J, A, JK, and E did about a 10 mile out and back round trip, and then rode laps around the high school that served as the start/fininsh. The lap was about 1/2 a mile, and they circled it endlessly in crit fashion. Getting 15 miles in this manner after 185 miles on the bike had to be even tougher mentally than physically, as they passed the sight of me and others sitting and stuffing our face about every 2 minutes. It was fascinating to watch as their faces grew darker with each of the first umpteen laps. Then as they neared completion of their quest, you could see each of them become visibly more animated and happy with each lap. Sports psycologists everywhere missed a golden opportunity for some field work.

Secondly, hats off to the B'ham Bicycle Club and volunteers who put on this event. While J and the organizers may debate the most accurate description of the course topography for centuries :)( and pun intended), this was a great event. I was particulalry impressed that all SAGs/rest stops were kept open and stocked until all the riders came through for the last time. I've participated in too many endurance events where many of the latter finishers were left unsupported because rest stops were closed with people still on the course. Organinzing and working on a volunteer basis is often a thankless task. These folks not only stuck around to the bitter end, but were extremely helpful and friendly even after a long day. I will definitely do this ride again in future years.
clarification and coincidenceJS Haiku Shop
Sep 9, 2003 9:34 AM
regarding equipment SNAFU and miles:

I think the century guys finished a few miles short of 100 (92, if i remember right), and the DC guys might have been a few miles under, too. not sure, but i heard a few mentions of mileage.

when we arrived at the "end" of our ride, JK needed 24 miles to finish; i needed 20. we went out on DC loop #2 intending to go 12 miles out and turn around, until we were nearly run off the road and frequently given the middle finger by motorists from 6 to 7 miles out. when we arrived back at the lot, i needed 7 more miles, or 14 laps around the school, 'cause i wasn't fighting any more traffic. the only thing missing was a start/finish prime, or handups of pizza and beer from our pit crew.

regarding support & route:

clarksville DC vs bham DC last year were polar opposites. bham supported us 'til the end, and did a good job at it, though i did decide to opt out of the last loop in 2002, partly 'cause my ass was kicked and partly 'cause they stressed another 27 mile loop after xx o'clock would keep their SAGs on the road perhaps unfairly. i agreed from my viewpoint at that time, which has since changed to "finish or die trying, repercussions be damned". luckily we were a bit faster this year.

no surprise that the support and organization were good this year. i feel the only reason any of us might have stressed (R was worried, too) about SAGs on the leg back was the mention, 50 miles out, that we were the last ones on the road, and other SAGs may have already closed. this was contrary to my experience with bham over the last 2 years, so i wasn't concerned.

as for the hills, our friendly ride organizer either posts and reads here or was pointed in this direction, and sent me an e-mail this morning in appreciation of the review. you know, it wouldn't be a "right" DC without either topographical challenges, extreme weather, or some other "fun" obstacle(s).

to clarify, my questions were answered to satisfaction: were there any steep or extended ascents on this ride? no. was there anything for which a 39/21 was too small to recommend? no. did i "enjoy" climbing big ass hills peppered throughout this ride between bouts with a gentle breeze? absof!@#inglutely! will i be back next year and hopefully bring twice as many people as this year? you betcha. will i take 39/21 next year? very likely so. am i a complete idiot? without a doubt.

highly recommended ride, rates in the top 3 that i've had the "pleasure" to "enjoy" this year. if i hadn't had a high opinion of the ride & organizers, and complete confidence in the support, i would not have recommended it to A, E, and JK as their first DC. a direct result of the positive experience is that A is now hooked on longer rides, and JK is asking when we can do a "training" DC at home.

bham DC scores 9 out of a possible 10, one point withheld for sorely missed podium girls and alcoholic beverages at the end of the ride.

-J