I raced a triple tandem this weekend. The cast of characters was: Peter "Krash" Kaspar - the guy who (almost) never falls off his bike, me, and Mark "Berzerkski" Biedrzycki.
Peter built the machine - designed it, welded it, painted it - the works. It's gorgeous. It's made for racing. Probably for racing on flat ground, but we'll let that go....
Mark had never been on a multiseat bike before. Ever. My words of wisdom?
- Bring your own pedals.
- Ride like hell.
- NO BODY ENGLISH (hardest of all for a harcore motorcycle guy).
We warmed up on the bike - I rode to the course, Peter rode the bike to the start (mainly by himself, but we had enough empathy to go help him over Bailey Hill - the bike weighs about 50 pounds...). In warmups, Mark was audibly uncomfortable in the turns, especially at low speeds. Riding the back of a tandem is definitely an exercise in letting go. Mark gave himself a pretty steep learning curve.
And we're off! They even did a held start. Fortunately they'd brought a pretty big guy to do the honors - but looking at the pictures it's clear that he was glad to see us off.
It was a tough course full of rolling hills. We never got out of the big chainring. The 62-tooth chainring. It's that kind of a bike.
I was stuck in the middle between two gearheads. Peter would call out speed numbers. From my experience with Peter, I knew that hearing "TWENTY ONE!" means - "...and we need to pick up the pace back there!"
Then I'd hear even MORE helpful numbers from the rear "ONE SIXTY SIX!" - which was Mark's current heart rate; for comparison's sake, he'd told us that he was planning to do 163. To give him something in the middle of my back to look at (thus lowering his Body English coefficient), we installed his HRM on my helmet.
And so it went..."TWENTY ONE!...TWENTY TWO!...TWENTY...FOUR"...."ONE SEVENTY THREE!!!"...
My sole verbal contribution? "Um, guys, I'm about to CRAMP...". 26.5 miles into a 27 mile course. Not quite as much recovery from Race Across Oregon as I'd have hoped, coupled with a little more in the cadence department than I was used to...Rats! I clipped out for a minute to recover. It was gratifying to see that the bike slowed down, at least a little. I was able to get my feet back in for the finish, which I figure at least LOOKED a little smoother.
1:05:38....we were pretty pleased for a first effort. Peter thinks more tire pressure next time. More recovery for me, more experience working together - yep, an hour is definitely doable on this bike.
Final analysis - yes, everything you've heard is correct. Threesomes are a lot of fun.