Sunday, March 09, 2014

Trans Iowa V10: Speeding

Best not to burn yer matches getting to CP #1
I was talking with my good friend, Matt Gersib yesterday, and we covered a lot of ground in our conversations, but one thing came up that I wanted to cover for this Trans Iowa lead up. That has to do with your early strategy from the start.

I've seen this happen several years now and a lot of times, it just doesn't work very well. That is when riders fly off the front to "burn off" the competition and whittle things down to a few contenders which then can be dispatched over the rest of the course. Now, I will say that sometimes it worked. T.I.V3, V5, and in V6, it would have ended that way. However, in finishable years like the last three, that tactic, while quite spectacular, has backfired. You may think, "But so what?! I ain't gonna chase those guys anyway." But you may be chasing the guys that are chasing them, and that will affect your race.

Now, it won't matter one iota to most who toe the line what I have to say about measuring your effort out of the gate, but if one or two of you get this, it's worth mentioning. In my view, going hard at the beginning of Trans Iowa doesn't pay benefits. It just makes you lucky if you survive, and that determination is likely out of your hands if the weather is considered. Last year, a lot of finishers got grace with the weather.

 Eventual winner of T.I.V9, Rich Wince, had his race saved here
Ah! The Weather! The "wildcard" of Trans Iowa. Last year The Weather did not play its usual hand. In fact, it graced us with the best weekend of weather for weeks before it and weeks after T.I.V9. That day, the "front runners" and "hard chargers" were going great guns. Well, that is until whatever maladies they each suffered reached out to bite them and they all fell by the wayside with the exception of one- Rich Wince.

Rich won T.I.V9 but told me afterward that he would have likely been thwarted but for a rural church that held a wedding that afternoon where he was able to resupply on water which he'd run out of. (Rich's assessment, not mine, by the way. However; I agree.) The first riders that had probably done a better job of managing the event from a speed/resupply angle were Mark Johnson, Paul LaCava, and Monika Sattler. These folks were near the front at the beginning, but weren't at the pointy end of the stick until much, much later on.

However; you just cannot count on getting the kind of weather we had last year. If it had been wetter, windier, or had it rained somewhat, (all of which happened in V8, by the way), the field of finishers would have been far less, and the winner would have been a full two hours or more slower than last year's winner was. Just finishing that one was winning!

Obviously, going fast to some degree is important. Getting "time in the bank" is important. So is riding your pace and within your strategy. If that moves you along faster or slower, that's fine, but it's your pace. I'm just pointing out that going hell bent for leather right outta the gate at Trans Iowa isn't the smartest strategy and rarely works except for a few, highly talented endurance freaks.

Pick yer poison......


Steve Fuller said...

I went hard (for me) out of the gate long enough to get all the neurons firing and drove fairly hard to CP1 to get some of that "time in the bank" when I was as fresh as I was. The second section was more definitely a long steady burn for me.

MG said...

It was great riding, hiking and chatting with you yesterday, Brother! Thanks for making the trip over. That was super fun! And the Mexican food was thumbs-up too!

Thanks again,