The Ride of the Damned fast approaches, and we are in the final stretch of preparations. The pre-ride on Sunday went well, though cold, and we'll post the cues and GPS file as soon as they are ready (likely the latter first). Links to the maps are below. Please note: registration (07:00-07:50) and the start of the ride will be at Lac Leamy, by the beech). Ignore the start location on the poster.
Big news regarding prizes. One lucky rider will walk away with a brand new Steelwool Limited frame, fork and headset on Sunday! All registered riders present at the BBQ at Lac Leamy will be eligible for the prize (with the exception of the organizers). Norco has stepped in as a sponsor and will provide additional draw prizes. Thanks Norco! We'll start the BBQ at 2pm, which should be just about when the first teams arrive in. Please see below for more on the BBQ, especially regarding our warm invitation to family members to attend and participate in special kids activities and general merry-making. Riders will have some BBQ and drinks covered by their registration fee ($10), and we'll charge reasonable rates beyond that and for non-riders. Tall Tree team/club members will be bringing homemade food items as well to broaden the offerings, so if you've got a knack in the kitchen and feel like pitching in, please do!
Some will be quite familiar with the Damned format, but I thought it would be nice to provide some background to help us all get onto the same page. Read on.
Perhaps we are in still in the phase akin to the early weeks of a new job: everything odd, tired, inefficient, and dogmatic leaps out. We just don't seem content slotting ourselves into the events that are on offer in the road world. Others have, and do, put on different kinds of events to great success: challenge events. The RotD is part Randonnee, part Audax (latin for the audacious). Randonnees are typically ridden solo or in small groups. Audax events are ridden in large groups with a capitaine de route controlling the pace. Our first RotD was like that. With the team format we can incorporate the "allure libre" (free speed) format, thus mixing Audax and Randonnee genres. I'm going to call this format Raudax (Road-axe). Teams are free to ride whatever speed they like. Best of both worlds. If you cross racing with this format, you get "gentleman's racing," an underground, honour system format. While we are not calling the RotD a race, competition between teams is encouraged, within reason of course. We do the same on our Wednesday loops; we wouldn't call those races either.
This year, we'll use the route from the 2009 Quintuple Pave Classic for the RotD. We will begin and end at Lac Leamy (not the gate of the parkway, as the poster states). Total distance will be about 150k, including the neutral start of about 10k. The roads vary from smooth pavement to gravel. Total elevation gain will be about 1500 meters. The route incorporates much of the best scenery and features the area has to offer. Teams are encouraged to stop in Wakefield for water and food.
Neutral Start Route: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/2010-Ride-of-the-Damned-Neutral-Start-Route417427
Official Route: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/2010-Tall-Tree-Cycles-Ride-of-the-Damned
More to come.
Like the Qiuntuple, we'll utilize the 5-person team format. Raudax riders are responsible for their own navigation, and times are recorded. By keeping the route consistent from year to year, times will be comparable through time. We've learned that the team format is best for an event that pulls in a broad range of abilities. Last year's RotD was in effect a large group ride (Audax) with pace setters (us) acting as capitaines de route. Problem was, it was difficult to strike a pace that was good for all, and mechanicals/biologicals required the whole group stopping. This simply does not work. The team format aims to bring riders of similar ability together to form a unit that will move efficiently and be self sufficient. Mechanicals will be addressed as a team, as will any other problems. This is a safety net. The group will start together, but teams will pull away as their ability allows. Flats will occur, and leapfrogging will ensue. Teams can make pacts to stay together no matter what, but these agreements need to be explicit in order to work. Otherwise, teams get broken up, and problems follow. Last year, it was exciting when we flatted and had other teams pass us. It was more fun this way than having them stop. We were happy to work together to chase. It was a unique experience, and many riders considered it their best ride of the year.
Sticking with the team format is important. For those who cannot find enough riders to team up with, I'll endeavor to match you up with others of similar ability and perspective. This is easy for people I know, less so for people I don't. Email me at email@example.com asap. Growing groups from 5 is ok, but the number the team starts with has to be maintained. This is the spirit, no dropping riders. A teams time will not be count if fewer riders finish than began, and the last rider's time is the team's time.
The BBQLast year's Quintuple's BBQ went over well. However, the location, while convenient for some, did not work well for others. For the RotD, we'll start and end the ride at Lac Leamy. This will be much more convenient for those who have to drive to the event. Also, just as important, we'll be able to make the BBQ more family friendly. Spouses and children are encouraged to come. Kids activities will include bike decorating and a kids race. Beyond that, the kids will be plenty entertained being kids. We'll provide one brewsky per rider, and take contributions for additionals. Drinks will need to be consumed from water bottles.
I have yet to receive any emails with team rosters. Please send them my way, the sooner the better. I'd like to have them all in by Thursday the 13th, so we wan acquire the appropriate amount of food and drinks. If you'll captain a team, but the roster is uncertain, tell me what you can. Solo riders, please get in touch asap so I can hook you up with others. Provide me information about your ability level and expectations for pace (this applies to riders I don't know).
Invite yer friends, and have your friends invite their friends. This is going to be a big ride to remember!