Some strategies must be carefully crafted and executed, over a period of weeks — nay, months — if they are to be successfully executed. No cutting corners. No details ignored. No contingencies left unconsidered (which is to say, I have considered all contingencies).
Such is the case with my planning for this weekend’s Park City Point 2 Point race.
I’m excited to share my plan with you in great detail, because I think that whether you’re doing this race or another endurance mountain bike race in the future, my carefully-crafted plan should provide valuable guidance.
“But enough preamble!” I imagine those of you who use words like “preamble” saying. For the rest of you, I imagine you saying things like, “Get on with it, OK?”
I shall get on with it. Now.
My Plan, Revealed
Here, in short, is my plan:
I have no plan.
At first blush, I can see why you may think this is a not-very-good (i.e., bad) idea — to not have a plan for what is, after all, a 75ish mile race, with 14 thousandish feet of climbing, pretty much all on singletrack.
But I have my reasons. Here they are:
- I have been busy. You may find this hard to believe, but I sometimes find it time-consuming to manage being a new husband, raising a largish pack of children, working a full-time job, training on the bike, doing cancer fundraisers, and writing hilarious things like what you are reading right now. If I had prioritized knowing a lot about this race, I’d know a lot about this race right now. Instead, I have prioritized pretty much everything else.
- By the time I signed up, it was too late for me to get in better shape anyways. Until a few weeks ago — just before Leadville — I hadn’t planned to do the P2P anyway. This is mostly because I forgot to register until after registration was full. Which isn’t, perhaps, the noblest nor most compelling of reasons to not sign up for a race, but there you have it. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I found out that someone who had registered but couldn’t make it to the event, could transfer his registration. And suddenly, on a whim, I was registered for what is widely known as a brutally challenging race. Without any time to get any more prepared for it than I already am.
- Nothing ever goes as I plan it, so why have a plan at all? I have always been an obsessive race planner. And then, when the race occurs, nothing ever happens the way I imagine it. This time, I have no idea what the race will be like (except that it will be long, climby, and singletracky). So while I can still count on a race day that is completely different than what I would expect, I at least won’t have spent several weeks fruitlessly imagining a race day that is nothing like what will actually happen. Very pragmatic of me, don’t you agree?
Things I Do Know
Of course, it’s not entirely accurate to say I know nothing at all about this race I’ll be doing in a couple of days. There are in fact a number of things I do know.
First and foremost, I know that I will be wearing my CarboRocket jersey. And not just because my good friend Brad — the owner / proprietor of CarboRocket — is sponsoring the event and is going to be in town racing.
Okay, that may actually be the reason. At least partially. But I think you’ll agree that it’s a good reason. Besides, Brad’s worn my jersey at a lot of races, I think it’s about time that I return the favor.
So, I know what I’m wearing. But that’s not all I know. I also know how many miles (78, I think) and how much climbing (14Kish) there is. I learned both of those things yesterday, when I was IM’ing with Dug, who is also doing the race, and who has prepared 8% more than I have.
I also know that The Runner will be crewing for me. Which is really nice of her.
Finally, I know my actual race strategy, which is the following:
- Ride really hard. As if I were racing.
- Walk when I can’t ride. As opposed to standing still, I guess.
Things I Do Not Know
My list of things I do not know is more extensive, and quite possibly problematic.
- I do not know the elevation profile. In my head though, it just goes up for 14,000 feet, and then goes down for 14,000 feet. That’s a pretty easy profile to keep in my head, so I’m going with it.
- I do not know whether I should ride using a camelbak or water bottles. I prefer riding with bottles, especially when riding my singlespeed (which I will be riding for this race). However, since this is a lot of singletrack and a lot of climbing, it could be really hard to find time to grab and drink from a bottle.
- I do not know the course. I understand it’s in Park City. Hence the name of the race. I haven’t pre-ridden any of it though. At least I don’t think I have.
- I do not know what time the race starts, or where or when any mandatory meetings are, or when I should pick up my racer packet, or where Lisa is supposed to meet me when she crews for me. I should probably find these things out pretty soon.
- I don’t know whether I’ve got a good gear selected. I used a 34 x 20 gear at Leadville, and that worked out great for me. And in fact, I’ve used a 34 x 20 on my Superfly SS since I’ve had it, and I’ve been happy with it. But I’ve got a twinge of doubt about riding a course this hard with a gear ratio this tall. But I’m not going to change it.
- I don’t know whether it’s a good idea for me to not have a suspension fork. I understand there will be an occasional bump on the course. I hope that’s just an unfounded rumor, though!
- I don’t know whether me doing this race at all is such a good idea. I don’t believe additional explanation of this point is necessary.
Oh, what am I worrying for? I’m sure everything will be just fine.