Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sure they're weeds, but ...

Date: June 21
Mileage: 16.4
June mileage: 469.1
Temperature upon departure: 57

All I rode was the full-circle commute today, so I am officially tapering. It left me with the better part of the evening to scrub all the little components on my MTB with a toothbrush, switch the wheels, change the brake pads and finesse the shifting down to smooth, clickless transitions. Mechanical preparedness is probably the third most important step in preparing for an endurance cycling attempt, right behind buying the right food and building up an amiable attitude that will keep you semi-sane in the suck. How could those things possibly be the top three, you ask? Sure, training is very important. But all the past six-hour bike rides in the world aren't going to help you when your front derailluer refuses to shift into anything but the middle ring and you're doubled over your handlebars with gastrointestinal pain.

Attitude, Food, Good Gear. After that, it's all just breathing and spinning.

I found some great articles on about preparing for a 24-hour bike race. Sure, all that training info now is too little, too late. But all I really needed to hear from those who know was in the closing paragraphs:

"Don't worry: Things can get a little weird during the wee hours of a 24 hour event. When this happens, don't panic - consider it a bonus. Others might have to commit a criminal act or spend years in an ashram to experience some of the sensations you're going to enjoy in the middle of the night. Laugh, store it in your memory bank, and keep riding.

Ultracycling is your hobby - it is not your job, it is not your punishment. You've prepared for months to get to this race and now that you've arrived, there's nowhere in the world you'd rather be. So put a smile on your face, put a song in your heart, and enjoy every minute of it."

Barring the smiles and songs - (I don't know that collecting mosquitoes in my teeth or humming "Birdhouse in Your Soul" for 24 hours will really be all that beneficial) - all the secrets to endurance bike racing lie in that statement. Tolerance for insanity and pre-emptive enjoyment. That's all it takes. Simple, right?


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sings to theirself (theirselves?) when riding.

    Good luck at Kincaid!

  2. wonderful picture, I sing too when on the bike and no one comes near me :D

  3. Good luck Jill!

  4. Good Luck...have fun with the road/trail phantoms. That's always the best!

  5. Might wanna add deet as the 4th most important thing. You can be happy, sated, and well-oiled, but sans deet you'll be carried away by skeeters. Weather is forecasted to be good in Anchorage this weekend. Good Luck; and pre-think your strategy if an ornery moose straddles the trail, which is bound to happen in Kincaid.

  6. Good luck and be safe! I get songs in my head all the time while riding. Sometimes I even get commentary by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. It's like I'm watching myself on tv though I'm really on my bike...weird.

  7. ima coming to alaska real soon (next wednesday)

  8. my advice that I have shared with so many others
    and have to shared with myself a few times


    not sure what your race is
    will scroll down
    not sure if you are racing team or solo
    I am sure that it is true in all cases

    I did a 12 hour race on a duo team and a 24 hour relay on a four man team this season

    love that stuff

    the action around the course is as much part of my draw as the race itself

    I just tried to write an article for a local mountain bike magazine
    it was tough for me to get around the idea

  9. I just settle in and listen to my earworm and pray it isn't stuck on Bananarama or the Macarena! ::GRIN::

    Other than that, I just fall inside my head and zen the ride! Sounds wierd, but it works for me.

  10. sing
    Phil and Paul
    cycling zen

  11. Jill,

    A lurker momentarily de-lurking here...

    Best of luck on your ride. I've ridden just about every kind of road cycling event and some MTB, but I've yet to do a 24hr event of any kind. You're providing inspiration to all of us.


  12. Jill,

    What an excellent quote! It's so good that I have copied it to put on the fridge for a while. Haven't had anything up there all summer yet, so yours is the first.

    I never visit you enough, but I'm always in awe of your photography. Great stuff. Do you flickr?

  13. I agree, dandelions get a bad rap. Then again, I don't have a yard.


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