Monday, July 15, 2013

Cup 'n Cone Ride: Preview

I think it's a good time to do another charity bike ride. This time, I'm doing one called the "Cup 'n Cone", so named because there will be ice cream. But I'm drawn to it for a different reason: chip timing.

Runners get chip timed in pretty much every race. Cyclists, however...not really, I guess because it's dangerous to encourage racing on public streets. (They close off roads for foot races, but not for bicycle rides.) I'm not sure why this is different, but I'll take it? They chip time you for the whole ride, sure. But that's really secondary to the "King of the Mountain" contest, in which they time you up a long hill, kind of like they do in the Tour de France for the purposes of awarding the polka dot jersey.

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I've ridden down this particular hill (Lystra Road, west of Jordan Lake) before, but never up. So last weekend, I thought I'd give the notorious Lystra hill a shot. I've always thought I was a decent climber (at least on the hills you get around here), but what am I going up against, really?

Actually, they already had the start and finish points for the chip timing labeled on the road, so I was able to unofficially time myself on Saturday, and see roughly where I would have ranked in last year's ride. Well, out of 318 men, I would have ranked...289th, or around the 9th percentile. Hmph. (By the way, the hill isn't easy, but I can do it.)

So, here are my two goals: 1) Among men, finish 15th percentile or better in the "King of the Mountain". (As in, avoid finishing in the bottom 15 percent.) That basically means increasing my average speed on the climb from 11.3 mph to 11.8 mph. Now that I've ridden the hill once, I know what to expect, and know when to push and when to conserve. 2) Among all the people doing the 65-mile ride - yep, I've decided to go for another metric century - don't finish last. Last year, everyone finished in 5½ hours or less, including rest breaks. If you include the breaks, then that's cutting it close for me, but that's the goal. Yeah, I know riding over 100K is an accomplishment in and of itself, but, I mean...chip timing!!!

Anyway, this is coming up on Saturday, July 27.

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