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Touring race?

Old 05-11-09, 06:44 AM
  #1  
benajah
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Touring race?

I am doing a five day self supported race in a couple of months. It's small, just me and 5 other guys. I have two potential set ups...a Surly LHT with bags, or a steel framed road bike (Surly Pacer) with a trailer. I am trying to figure out which will be faster. It will be all open country road, no big towns to go through so the length of a trailer set up won't be a problem.
It is a race so comfort and long term durability and factors like that are not that important, speed is what I am looking for.
Before I get out and set up an HRM and cadence meter and do testing on different types of terrain, does anyone out there have any up front ideas of which setup would be the faster? I am leaning towards the road bike simply because between the two bikes it is much faster unloaded, but I have no idea how it will do loaded. I already have the trailer too (I haul my dog around in it)
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Old 05-11-09, 06:46 AM
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check out audax setups.
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Old 05-11-09, 06:53 AM
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Skip the trailer if this is a race and just carry almost nothing, a sleeping bag and tarp, a few tools and spares. It should all fit in a seat pack. Eat cold food from stores along the way or eat in restaurants. No need for cook gear or much clothing.

If it is a race how do you know it will be 5 days? Seems like that would be dependent on hours ridden and pace and could vary.
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Old 05-11-09, 07:55 AM
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Staehpj1, For safety we are camping together, and timing each day's ride. Each day averages out to 120 miles, some are shorter some are longer. Essentially, we are organizing it just like a stage race in road racing, with the main difference being that we are camping rather than staying in hotels, and will have no SAG vehicles. We are all experienced road racers, so we are essentially just keeping the stage format that we are familiar with for racing.
Whoever has the fastest cumulative riding time by the end of day 5 wins.
I did think about carrying almost nothing, but this is the Northern California coast, where even in summer you can run into cold rainy storms in the mts, then blazing heat a few hours later. I would probably need at least one pannier. I did debate using a commuting type pipe clamp rack with one pannier on a road bike but cannot seem to get the ones I tried out to fit on the bike.
It's not a really serious race, just for fun cause a lot of us are getting burned out on the rest of the racing scene.
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Old 05-11-09, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by benajah View Post
Staehpj1, For safety we are camping together, and timing each day's ride. Each day averages out to 120 miles, some are shorter some are longer. Essentially, we are organizing it just like a stage race in road racing, with the main difference being that we are camping rather than staying in hotels, and will have no SAG vehicles. We are all experienced road racers, so we are essentially just keeping the stage format that we are familiar with for racing.
Whoever has the fastest cumulative riding time by the end of day 5 wins.
I did think about carrying almost nothing, but this is the Northern California coast, where even in summer you can run into cold rainy storms in the mts, then blazing heat a few hours later. I would probably need at least one pannier. I did debate using a commuting type pipe clamp rack with one pannier on a road bike but cannot seem to get the ones I tried out to fit on the bike.
It's not a really serious race, just for fun cause a lot of us are getting burned out on the rest of the racing scene.
Thanks for the details. There are folks who routinely tour with just a big seat bag, so it is do-able. A 20 liter Caradice is one such bag. Tiny panniers would serve as well. You can get by on very little gear if you want, since this is a race that seems to make sense.

You probably need to ask... Will you be camping at high altitudes or just riding over passes? If camping at elevation how high? I would think that for the kind of trip you are describing 10-15# of gear would be plenty.

What ever you do have fun.
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Old 05-11-09, 09:19 AM
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What a great idea. I'd love to do something like this. The tough part is how my touring friends don't like to race, and my racer friends don't like to tour! I need to move to an area with more randonneurs; I bet many would be intrigued by this race format.
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Old 05-11-09, 09:26 AM
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To my mind the words "touring" and "race" mix about as well as oil and water, but that's beside the point. Still, what you're doing sounds more like "long distance cycling" than "touring," so you might take a look at the posts in that forum, and maybe ask your question there.

Sounds like a lot of fun, though!
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Old 05-11-09, 10:29 AM
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We just came up with the idea Saturday night over copious numbers of beers.
Yeah, the main reason I posted in this forum is mainly because it involves camping overnight and carrying at least some baggage. I do want to go as light as possible, but this particular group of guys I am racing with...we are all wounded Afghanistan and Iraq veterans, and have all pretty much had our fill of sleeping out overnight with the "ultra spartan" style. We are also all handicapped in some way..two of us are leg amputees, two are arm amputees, and one guy has both ankles fused so he cannot walk without crutches (ironically, he is insanely fast on a bike though, as his ankles are already locked he saves energy, the only crippled guy I know who actually has an advantage over able bodied folks). The handicapped thing is the biggest reason we are camping together as we all need mutual assistance of some sort.
We are pretty excited and think it will be a lot of fun. There was a big bunch of us wounded guys who moved out here to Cali when we got out of the military, and most of us have not really travelled off the beaten path around here much yet so it should be a lot of fun.
Im the one guy in the group who is into all kinds of cycling and I kind of convinced the rest it should be fun.
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Old 05-11-09, 10:57 AM
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I love the idea of a self supported touring race. The RAAM is a long distance race, but the riders have full support in RV's that tail them. It would be good to have a similar race across America, but fully self contained. The trick would be to balance hours in the saddle with rest. It would be like a brevet on steroids and require camping and cooking meals as there'd be no rest stops or support
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Old 05-11-09, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by benajah View Post
We just came up with the idea Saturday night over copious numbers of beers.
*All* of life's best plans start out this way.

Sounds like a really terrific idea for a trip.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:36 PM
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I think my favorite part of the idea is how even though you are racing against one another, you all end up in the same campsite at the end of the day. I'd imagine that would do wonders for keeping the competition friendly. Nothing like knowing that your friends are waiting for you at the campsite. (and if they're TRUE friends they'll have some food or drink waiting for you!)

Congrats on continuing to live an interesting and adventurous life with your handicaps.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
I love the idea of a self supported touring race. The RAAM is a long distance race, but the riders have full support in RV's that tail them. It would be good to have a similar race across America, but fully self contained. The trick would be to balance hours in the saddle with rest. It would be like a brevet on steroids and require camping and cooking meals as there'd be no rest stops or support
I am sure several of you will have herd of Steve Abraham there is on ride he did as DIY Audax where he did his house -> Dover -> Lands End -> John O'Groats (google will tell you where all these places are) -> home a total distance of 2100 miles in 9 days 50 min, average speed 9.4 mph, not as fast as RAAM I know but self supported, I think he stopped in some B&Bs and slept rough some nights so not purley camping but still pretty self supported. Link here. Although I think this may be a different attempt to the one I'm talking about.

Long distnce cycling more than touring I know but in the same vain as this thread.

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Old 05-11-09, 02:14 PM
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Sounds like fun. Most of my "tours" are basically long distance races between two points because of not much time off from work. Last ride was from NYC to Boston, 135 miles the first day, 105 the second.

Although I ride with panniers, I still think you're more aerodynamic with rack top bags, but if you're carrying camping gear, panniers maybe necessary. I don't think you'll be carrying enough to justify a trailer.

28c gatorskins on my touring bike haven't never given me a flat, when 25 and 23 have, too many to count.
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Old 05-11-09, 02:20 PM
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What you should do is combine all your group gear, and split that up evenly... so each racer carries the same 10-20 pounds of camping/food gear.

I would use the more comfortable bike, probably the LHT with two panniers. maybe the road bike if you can fit all your stuff in a saddlebag? I would not want to use the trailer, but thats my prejudice maybe...
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Old 05-11-09, 02:41 PM
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Once upon a time, I got into backpacking. And, when you finally get all your packing for that done, you wind up with a 50-lb pack that you tote around the mountains.

Meanwhile, I found that other people were out doing rock climbing. For that, they needed to carry 40 lbs of rock-climbing gear, which meant they only carried about 10 lbs of camping stuff. The amazing thing is, it can be done.

Specifically: Use a bivy bag instead of a tent. Use a 2-lb down sleeping bag instead of 5-lb synthetic. Skip the stove, bring cold food. Really, just paring everything down to the minimum. If it's only 5 days, do you NEED your toothbrush?

But personally, I'm more the 50-lb pack kind of guy.
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Old 05-11-09, 03:01 PM
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This sounds like a very cool idea.

I'd rather have a 5-day Iditarod style race, though: you have a start and a finish, and it is up to each racer to decide when to eat, rest, and sleep. With a 5-day stage race, the strongest rider will win. If it was Iditarod style, a weaker rider could devise a strategy to beat a stronger rider. Keeps everyone on their toes.
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Old 05-11-09, 04:18 PM
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benajah,
What a great idea. I really like the stage race/self supported format. While a "single stage" race -- be it self supported like the Great Divide Race, or fully supported like RAAM -- emphasizes extreme fatigue, sleep deprivation, and the ability to suffer all manner of hardships, a stage race is more about the cycling with the opportunity to recover somewhat between days. I would love to compete in a one to three week stage race, but as a Cat 4 recreational racer, there are very few opportunities. I would definitely do something like this here in Colorado if I could get enough other participants.

Perhaps the format would set an overall weight minimum for the bikes and load -- something in the 40 lb. range. Then it's up to the racers to figure out what kind of bike to ride, and what to bring, and how best to pack the bike. Depending on the level of cooperation or informality, you could share things like stoves and cookware, food, tools, etc.

What would be really cool -- and now I'm just speaking generally -- would be to have teams of several riders each, set a minimum weight for the individual bikes, and then have each team figure out how to divy up and share the gear. Then you would have team tactics racing as well !

How can we organize something like this ???

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Old 05-11-09, 06:01 PM
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At the light weight end, you could get along in good comfort with a down bag, light weight thermarest and a bivy bag with just a change of clothing (wash the others when you shower), rain gear, toiletries, lights, fire starter and repair kit. Eat main meals at restaurants. Bring beer and munchies to camp at the end of the day. Probably about 10-15 pounds distributed between a largish saddle bag (like a Carradice Longflap attached to the saddle of any bike with a Bagman rack) and handle bar bag. This would be the most aerodynamic option which is a big consideration if you really want to fly (>15mph)...I've met people doing the entire Pacific Coast Highway with no more than this.

Take the fastest bike which I am guessing is the Pacer depending on how you got them set up.
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Old 05-11-09, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
What you should do is combine all your group gear, and split that up evenly... so each racer carries the same 10-20 pounds of camping/food gear.
I was going to suggest this as well if you guys are open to making a slight change to the competition.

If you don't divide the weight evenly, it could end up becoming about who can carry the least amount of stuff to win. Dividing the weight will make it about efficiency on the bike instead of being about who can camp with the least amount of stuff.
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Old 05-11-09, 07:46 PM
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Here's a setup to consider for the minimalist:

https://swiftindustries.wordpress.com...n-porteur-bag/
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Old 05-12-09, 05:41 AM
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If you are after speed, go with the Pacer with some sort of minimalist bikepacking setup. You don't have to rough it - check out Nun's setup, less than 9kg including a tarptent and repairs / spares - but it will definitely be quicker than panniers or trailer.
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Old 05-12-09, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
What you should do is combine all your group gear, and split that up evenly... so each racer carries the same 10-20 pounds of camping/food gear.

I would use the more comfortable bike, probably the LHT with two panniers. maybe the road bike if you can fit all your stuff in a saddlebag? I would not want to use the trailer, but thats my prejudice maybe...
Or how 'bout you get one trailer, with the bulk of the heavy stuff, and take turns pulling it? The guy with the trailer wouldn't be racing that day; he'd leave first and arrive last, but more or less take it easy that day. The next day, someone else does it.
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