Thursday, August 13, 2009

You can pick her up at eight

Steve and I are off to Leadville today, both of us on borrowed bikes. I wasn’t planning it that way, but Elden was pretty keen on the idea of me riding his geared Superfly. How could I turn that down?

Aaron was equally gracious in letting Steve, who doesn’t own a MTB, borrow his Superfly. I was hesitant to even approach the question, as I know borrowing bikes is a sensitive thing for many cyclists. So I phrased it something along the lines of “I realize this is kind of like asking to take your wife out on a date, but can my brother borrow your bike this weekend?”

Aaron responded: “Forget about the bike. You can pick her up at eight.”

The Superfly weighs about five pounds less than the bike I was going to ride (23 lbs versus 28), a difference I would describe as “material” over a 100 mile course with 14,000 feet of climbing. Just how material, I didn’t realize until plugging some estimates in at analytic cycling*.


Apparently those five pounds will save me somewhere around 453 seconds. Or seven and a half minutes if you can’t divide 453 by 60 in your head. Put another way, when I finish I’ll be 2km ahead of where I would have been on my bike.

We’ll see if the seven and a half minutes is enough to get me under nine hours.


*If you get really nerdy and dig into my numbers, you’ll realize the distance I entered, ~80km, is equal to only ~50 miles. This is because it’s an out and back course, so we’ll only be ascending half the distance and descending—where weight reduction doesn’t help—everything we went up for the other 50 miles. Of course we don’t climb 14k feet all at once and there are even some flat sections, which further complicates my dumbed-down analysis. Certainly one could get much more precise about it and analyze each climb independently, which would yield a much more accurate answer, but there are so many other variables in a race like this, why bother? Besides, I really have no idea how I’ll do, since this is my first attempt at this event.