Friday, March 29, 2013

The RdR Survival Guide

Two weeks until the Ronde de Rosey. I thought as a PSA I would jot down some rules to live by. You see that book above? Yeah, go buy it. Basically everything in there is what you need to survive the RdR. Substitute bike for machete and you get the idea. But I will do my best to give the RdR the old Zombie survival treatment

1. Organize before they rise! Ie., do not show up to the Ronde on some clapped out bike. Only PVB is allowed to do this. Cause that is pretty much how he rolls. You have two weeks. You may not have washed the mud off your cross bike since Ice Weasels (shame on you!) Get it all cleaned up. Fresh tires or at least make sure they don't have cuts etc. Fresh tubes, and all that jazz. No one wants to be that rider who has an avoidable mechanical and ruins their teams day

2. They feel no fear, why should you? Ok there is ample reason to fear the Ronde. Rosey won't tell me the route (bastard!). Sure Team Camelstache had a sick homefield advantage last year but still. I am old and fat I need all the help I can get! But back to Rule #2. Do you think Mike Wissell feels fear? Matt Roy? Sara Bresnick? No they don't actually. So why should you? Have fun. It is the ONLY reason we do the Ronde. The whole point is to get out and ride trails with your friends

3. Use your head; cut off theirs. This actually translates well. Fast teams do horribly at the Ronde. The most important tool you have on the RdR is your head. Stay calm. Stay on the route. Take care of the weakest rider. You start and finish as a team. 3-6 person teams. You start with 3 you end with 3. No ditching riders. No going out on your own. This is the most basic rule of any Zombie invasion. Never separate from the group. That is the dude who gets it. Every time. You may get a GPS file at some point. Print out a cue sheet. Think about where you are going. Help each other out. That is probably my favorite part of these rides. Its not the fastest individuals who finish first but the fastest team

4. Blades don't need reloading. KISS> Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. DO NOT show up to do the Ronde on tubular cross tires and carbon wheels. We will send you home. Ok we won't cause we aren't like that but you might as well light $1,000 on fire. The Ronde will destroy lightweight stupid racing equipment. Come on a solid cross bike. Simple parts. I go with a mullet. Mud 2 on the front, Jet on the back. Business on the front, Party on the back. I like the edge of the Mud 2 so I can have fun in the woods. But its nice to have a file tread on the rear for the road sectors.

5. Ideal protection=tight clothes, short hair. Helmets are required. Obviously. Eye protection is key. I would wear gloves in case. The course will not be raked. We are in a woods environment. You will want to be prepared to hike a bike.

6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it. Hmmm not sure about this one. Solid Zombie 101 advice. I think perhaps this translates to get through the woods in one piece. We have had some crashes in the woods. Some of that is speed, some of it is fatigue. But this is an endurance bandit race. You won't make up time in the woods. But you sure can lose it. Especially if you hit a secret stump and yardsale into the woods. Cross bikes are great in the woods. We ride these trails all the time but stuff can sneak up on you. At Ronde 2.5 it seemed like my team was crashing every time we went into the woods. Don't do that.

7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike. Words to live by! There isn't a ton of parking at Washington Square Tavern. If you can ride to the ride. If not carpool. Last year we had such a big bike pile on the street we were stopping traffic. Be respectful of the locals and of the patrons at the Tavern

8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert! Momentum is the key to these events. You can only go as fast as the slowest rider on your team. So don't blow them to pieces on the first 20 miles. And here is a serious tip. I have seen so many deraillers ripped off bikes in the last couple of years. You know what the single best defense against this is? Backpedalling. No I am not talking about when you say something really stupid on your friends Facebook page and then have to backpedal and say you were dronk or just in a bad mood because your wife left you with the kids for week. I am talking about pedaling backwards. Roadies don't do this much. They are probably like why would you ever pedal backwards? Sticks are going to get sucked up into your rear triangle If you hear it or feel it DO NOT smash the pedals down. Backpedal and if you are lucky the stick will disengage. At the worst you just dismount and pull the stick out

9. No place is safe, only safer. This is very true. Roadies always think mountain biking and riding in the woods is "dangerous" I saw the craziest crash of my life during last year's Ronde. We won't name names or relive it. But let's just say we were riding in a paceline on the road and bombs went off. Luckily no one was hurt. Well hurt worse than hitting the tarmac and shredding all manner of skin off ones body. Follow all the rules of the road. Maybe put a bell on your handlebar. That certainly makes for a nice way to tell other trail users you are coming through. Some of the boardwalks aren't in the best shape. So be careful on them.

10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on. I am really looking forward to this Ronde. Rosey has cooked up a special one. We have a lot of support. I am hearing rumors of a Rondefoamparty on the Cutler Island. And maybe an aid station at NTF. We are putting the funk back into this Ronde. Can't wait to see all of you in two weeks.

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