Sunday, May 15, 2011

One Fine Day

Well, sports fans – after fifteen years of endurance racing (yes, my first endurance races - triathlons - were in 1996) I've...learned something: I'm pretty good at 24-hour racing. I've raced longer, I've raced shorter – sometimes successfully. But I've seldom had as much fun, and as much unqualified success, as I have had at 24-hour road races.

There's a symmetry, a challenge, and a proportionality to 24 hour racing that plays to my strengths: maintaining a high output, keeping my stomach going, staying awake all night, and putting up with things that are uncomfortable in the name of forward progress. For shorter – or longer – distances, the specific synergy of all of these attributes isn't as important: if it's shorter, you can fake it, and if it's much longer, it's a given that something – pain, fatigue, or a gathering malodor – will force you off the bike eventually. I'm also aware that I'm somewhat better with monotony than some folks: in the moment it's not a big deal to me that I've been around this track 60 times already....I'm busy racing it THIS time, and I'm enjoying myself mightily, thank you very much!

After my Sebring race this year, Dennis Johnson made a very savant comment, reminding me that my distance there was better than the official UMCA womens' mark of 439.65 miles. That's no small potatoes; Nancy Raposo's record has stood for 20 years. Which got me thinking....

Setting a 24-hour UMCA record requires specific oversight – dedicated officials and a very accurately measured course. You need to declare your date at least three weeks in advance, have the course selected and approved by the UMCA, and put together an independent officiating team that will monitor your progress and certify the attempt. Ideally, the course should be flat, and smooth, and you should be as close to “guaranteed” good weather as one is likely to get. All in all, it's not a huge surprise that there are relatively few attempts: the barriers are relatively steep. The challenges are many. The rewards are few. After all, you had NO CLUE that the UCI womens' 24-hour record is held by C. Roberts of the UK, and is 461.45 miles. So it's not like I'm going for fame or glory here. I just...need to do this.

You know where this is going, right?


I'm in. 24 hours of controlled insanity, or as I like to think of it, One Fine Day. Details to follow.