By Thomas Bérubé
I see from a prior issue of the Derailleur Mailleur that John Tebbens is the CCC’s mileage champion for 2005, logging in 10,870 miles. I am pretty impressed. I know from the years where I have exceeded 10,000 miles how much saddle time that is. However, if 10,000 sounds like a big number, try 28,000. This is the annual mileage claimed by Jure Robic, winner of the 2005 Race Across America. But, there is a difference between John and Jure. John enjoyed racking up his miles. Jure rode 18,000 more miles than John and it sounds like he was miserable during every single one of them.
Jure Robic was recently profiled in a New York Times Magazine article called “That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stranger”. The wild hallucinations and fits of rage that occur during his multi-day races are described in humorous detail. Jure comes across as a character from a Werner Herzog film; a tortured soul madly pursuing an obsession which will eventually destroy him.
Obsessive behavior is par for the course for participants in a race where mileage in a routine training week often exceeds 600. Lately I have begun to wonder if I am equally obsessed.
As I am trying to nail down all of the race management details, thinking about this expedition has become a daily, and even hourly, activity. I have been busy as of late pricing rental vans and motor homes and setting up spreadsheets to track average miles per hour and estimate time station control times. And then there is the equipment list.
As with any race we will be going armed with the usual array of extra wheels, inner tubes and water bottles but how many other bicycle races have an equipment list which includes a Dustbuster? Think about it. At some point in the race energy drink powder is going to get spilled in the van and if that stuff gets wet it makes a sticky mess. Better to be able to pick it up right away. Maybe thinking about such details does not indicate a healthy state of mind.
Thanks to everyone who has expressed an interest in our Race Across America endeavor. Talking about it is the best way to remind myself that despite all of the work involved, this is a lot of fun and a big adventure.
Appeared in the Derailleur Mailleur – The Newsletter of the Chicago Cycling Club.