Signing up for events... In the past, it's caused me to get injured. At least signing up for RUNNING events.
Okay, "caused" is not scientifically correct, as correlation does not equal causation. But it's also hard to argue with the number of times I've gotten injured within days of signing up for an event. In more than one case, it's happened the day after I signed up.
Cycling events, though, have been a little different. So I'm less nervous about losing the opportunity for participating after paying for the privilege.
Maybe it's the nature of the events themselves... Running races (and even more so, triathlons) for me are more competitive. I'm gunning for place, age group and even overall. For cycling events, I've left behind the days of vying for overall placing, so USAC-style team racing is in my past, there to remain forevermore. Been there, done that, took a lot of pain and transformation to get there, not interested in going through that again.
No, the cycling events I'm doing now are more mass-participation, challenge rides. Some track finish times, some don't.
And so this past week I've signed up for two cycling events.
The first is Chilly Hilly, which happens this coming Sunday. As the name suggests, the course is quite hilly. Not in the mountainous sense that RAMROD is hilly, but short sprinter-type hills that challenge leg strength and gear selection. A 36 or so mile circumnavigation of Bainbridge Island. I've done this course several times over the years, and done it as this event one other time some 20 years ago.
The very nature of dumping several waves of a thousand cyclists a pop of varying ability (or lack thereof) onto fairly narrow and undulating country roads negates any ambitions of speed for at least several miles. Add to this that the ride is considered by many the first time the bike has been dusted off since September of the previous year, and you can imagine what the road looks like -- weaving all over, paying little attention to anything that's not directly ahead... It can be a bike-handling challenge. In the one year I did this event, I had one rider stall out on a hill directly in front of me. Did the whole Laugh-In stop and fall over. I had to dodge left swiftly to avoid hitting him. It should be loads of fun.
The second, which is both bigger and smaller, is the Gran Fondo Leavenworth. Yep, one of the events I mentioned in a previous post as falling on a not-so-convenient date (being the day after my wife's birthday). Well, she actually gave this event the nod, as it's not actually ON her birthday, and can be made into a nice weekend get-away in a town she's never visited before. Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style tourist town nestled into the eastern Cascades. And when I say "Bavarian-style", I mean it's REALLY Bavarian-style, right down to the shop proprietors wearing Lederhosen and knee socks.
The bigger aspect? This event is 87 miles of mixed paved roads and Forest Service roads, including three passes. Could be the equivalent of 120 or more road miles by the time it's all said and done, as far as the physical toll. The smaller aspect? It's limited to 200 riders.
This will be a new kind of adventure for me. I've done road events, mountain bike races, cyclocross races (on my mountain bike), tours... Never a mixed-surface event of this magnitude. And it's a timed event. There will be packs, which I'm sure will be "up the road" from where I'm riding... Fine by me.
Eric is going to do this event as well -- our families are going to share a house rental for the weekend. He was looking at a Kona Jake earlier this month at Inspired Ride, where I work part time... Now he HAS to go get that bike, as his Trek won't accept anything more than 23mm tires...
I was just thinking this past weekend that this is two years running where I've suggested an event, and he's gotten a new bike to do the event. As a bike shop employee, I'm evil...