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Offline rob_squared

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A question for those interested
« on: May 24, 2011, 08:40:13 AM »
I pose here a question. I do so in the hopes of getting some "gut" reactions. I have an opinion and withhold it so as not to influence the conversation.

This is related to developments currently unfolding for the Tour Divide; mostly affecting North to South racers.

Give me your gut reaction after reading the history and the current challenges faced this year.

***************************************************************************

History:
TD hasn't run the same route year over year. As singletrack is built or discovered it is added to the route. As well, paved sections are often removed when suitable dirt stretches of Forest Road are located. As such, direct comparison of "record times" is somewhat difficult.

ACA maintains maps for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) which serves as the "official" race course, with exception to pre announced changes to TD racers. This year there are several "changes" that are now on the official TD route, but not the ACA maps for those touring the route for fun. So, TD is not 100% the GDMBR - but about 98% instead. All this is clear to racers and is incorporated into the official race GPS file.

The Grand Depart is always the second Friday of June - "always" being since 2008. Grand Depart is what you all know and recognize as the "race" and is what the movie was following (Ride the Divide). This sort of creates a race within a race. The overall "world" record is for all years raced under the rules of TD and may be obtained during the Grand Depart (GD) or also can be at another time of a racers choosing as an ITT (individual time trail). Currently the record is held by someone (Matt Lee) who left during the GD of a given race year.

The Spot Tracker for Grand Depart creates a GC competition (here is the race within a race part). If you sign up and leave at Grand Depart, you are on the overall TD GC race tracker. If you leave one day early, one day late, or another time, you are not in the GC competition for the TD that year - you are instead an ITT'er and only gunning for the overall "World Record" time.

This Year's Challenges:
This year's race is faced with record snow pack depth in the Canadian and Montana Rocky Mountains. Still lots of snow above 4,000 feet; some as deep as 60" (5 feet). These snow sections, from the perspective of the TD route may last for 10-15 miles at a time. With a little over 2 weeks to the race start, it is unlikely there will be major melt to make the snow a non-issue. But if there were a sudden heat wave, there would be dramatic flooding in the region.

The route uses long sections of an UNIHABITED swath of land known as the Flathead Valley. It holds the largest concentration of grizzly bear in the world, it has next to zero services (food or lodging), and obviously has no cell phone coverage. It has several high passes (gaps as we call them on the east coast) that the route crosses, that as of yet, no one has even ventured through to scout the route to determine safety/usefulness.

As the fear of nearly impassable routes, avalanches, and rivers flooded by snow melt have crept into the picture, the TD is faced with re routing the course from its intended path.

Here is the Question:
TD has announced that the official course is still the official course and anyone that wishes to challenge those conditions is not going to be stopped from doing so. However, because there is a risk the route won't be navigable, there are alternates. These alternates are at lower elevations and on mostly paved, snow free roads. No racer will be penalized for using the alternates.

How do you score/rank/track/list racers on a race course that has more than one route?

Offline Darrinw2001

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2011, 08:59:45 AM »
I would think they would have to chose one or the other routes... since there is not prize money awarded, I guess they dont feel it matters and that riders are doing this mostly to prove something to themselves... I would hope they would put it up to those racing to make a decision/vote...

Offline BeerCan

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 10:33:36 AM »
You can't score it fairly, period.  I can't see why they won't just declare the alternate route official.  If rider safety is at risk it is a no brainer.
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Offline Marcel Aguirre

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 11:57:20 AM »
All those doing the TD know the challenges and dangers.  Are those 10-12 miles of 5ft of snow more dangerous this year than years before?
 
If this was my dream of one day "race" this race, the competitive side of me would say do it in the traditional way so I can compete on both the GD and ITT.   However, NO RACE is worth loosing my life over it.  I have a family and friends (hopefully some of you) that would care about my safety and coming home in one piece to survive and to try it again "next year."  There are over 2,700 miles on this race.  So what if I took a "legal detour" to ensure racer's safety for 10 of those miles.  I wouldn't loose any sleep over it and take the safer route.  Besides, it is not just about the route on this "dream ride" is more about the preparation, and that burning fire inside of one day doing such a thing.
 
Be safe Rob and Karlos do what is best for YOUR dream.

Offline rob_squared

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 01:13:17 PM »
comments are appreciated. keep them coming.

Offline Jason & Nancy Daniels

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 02:54:30 PM »
I think the idea of a "course record" on a constantly changing course is impossible. Even in the FSC (shorter XC races), many courses change significantly from year to year; I've experienced a variance of at least 10% in lap distances. Modified route distance and difficulty coupled with inherently evolving trail conditions, a course record cannot truly be measured.

I would view the fastest riders as members of a pantheon ...more like rock stars than sports stars...

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Offline firebiker

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 09:18:41 PM »
I have odviously never attempted this challenge but I have been been really interested in it and have read about it for years. It seems to me that this is as much an individual challenge as it is a rase against others. Those I've read about, speak of conquering the terrain and elements as well as their own own mind and body. I've heard little about riders competing against others. Although I'm sure some are pretty competitive. So in short, does it matter what the course is? I agree with Marcel. 
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Offline rob_squared

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2011, 09:58:43 AM »
Thanks all - I appreciate the feedback. I asked the question so as to gauge the reaction and get a sense of what a race on this scale means to others.

To me, I'm torn. There is a battle of practical and sensible versus hardcore and orthodox black/white raging in my mind. The route is of no particular consequence; it changes year over year anyway - if there is another 100 miles of paved road or not, in the end will make little difference. Or at least it will likely be only a minor foot note. But there are those that are proclaiming that the published route is what they will take. They do so so as not to have an asterisk by their name, to go for a "pure" finish, and to attempt at the record.  A record time this year is unlikely - but hey, let them go for it!!

I have that feeling. Pure - all out or nothing - HTFU or go home!

I also have a feeling (survival instinct??) that I'd rather not die as bear food or a popsicle stuck in the snow with a broken ankle. (BTW - reports just came in that the snow on top of Union Pass in Colorado is 105 inches deep - and Union isn't the highest pass on the route!!  :o  )

There still hasn't been an announcement on the re-routes with only 16-days to the start - so I also have a whooping sense of anxiety from the uncertainty that is still hovering over this thing.

Lastly is the $$. If I take the alternates, I have little fear of missing my flight to come home. If I go hard core and attempt the snowy route, I may not. I run out of vacation at work & I have to pay for the airfare charges of a last minute flight change. Frankly this adventure has cost me far too much money - not your concerns I know, but it is a factor in my decision making matrix.

I'll let you all know, that as of now, with the snow reports the way they are, I'll likely take the alternates to make my goals. I expect to finish high in the rankings - failure is not an option in my mind - and so be it if I finish well but have a little caveat that I took the paved alternate route in twenty-eleven.

It'll make 2012's race that much more meaningful when I take it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 03:17:59 PM »
First to cross the finish line wins...if people are so concerned about 'winning' they'll take the shortest route that is on the official course.
 
If there is a tie, i say they arm wrestle to determine the winner.
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Offline $irWattZZZZ

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2011, 05:13:48 PM »
Do it Rob :) Wish I had the time and legs to join you :'(

Offline Big-E

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2011, 07:13:47 PM »
First to cross the finish line wins...if people are so concerned about 'winning' they'll take the shortest route that is on the official course.
 
If there is a tie, i say they arm wrestle to determine the winner.

I agree...As long as its official i would take it in a heartbeat!!! Do it ROB!!!! We will be cheering you on from the comforts of our air-conditioned cubical s!!! :)

Big-E

Offline Orion_134

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2011, 07:42:43 PM »
Sorry man, I say be one with your inner-gonzo. If you have the will, gear, and the smarts to make  it through the pass, go for it. However, don't feel like a course-cutter if you take an official alternate route. It's up to you to decide. The only thing for us to do is support you...unless you are in the sb, then we tell you that you chose wrong no matter what you do:)
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Offline firebiker

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2011, 09:33:53 PM »
I wish you the best. I'll be in CO the 18th thru July 9th so I'll be thinking of you Florida guys. I'm actually in Salida one night. I think I remember last year or the year before I saw riders near there on their way south.
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Offline rob_squared

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2011, 10:07:01 PM »
I wish you the best. I'll be in CO the 18th thru July 9th so I'll be thinking of you Florida guys. I'm actually in Salida one night. I think I remember last year or the year before I saw riders near there on their way south.

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Re: A question for those interested
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2011, 10:50:32 PM »
I am going south to north taking whatever the legal alternates are.  I have no shame in this choice. As for me it won't be hard to finish high in the rankings considering there are only 11 other people starting in new mexico with me. I admit I have a vision of setting the official 2011 TD south to north record we will see what shakes.  But to answer ur question Rob, since we run the CfITT and the huracan 300 and the course will likely change slightly from year to year thw only fair thing is to note the record set for that course for that year. At least that's my thought on that piece. I

 

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