I am having a battle in my head. I am trying to figure out which bike I will take on my MS 150. I know for a fact that I will not be taking my cargo bike. As humorous as that would be, I have no way of getting it back home. It required a tandem mount for the roof, and those things are expensive! I will pass. I wish I could, because the looks I would get would be priceless!
I have three other bikes to choose from. My Gary Fisher HiFi would be nice, due to the full suspension, but I just don’t want to tempt anyone. That is the most expensive bicycle I have, so I will turn my head to that idea. I do plan on training on that bike a lot, since it is harder to maintain speed than the others (not counting the cargo bike). That leaves two bicycles. My Specialized HardRock Sport Disc 29-er and my Trek 1.5 road bike. I have taken the Trek every single year I have been in the MS 150. I am tempted to take the 29-er because of the larger tires and the front suspension. It weighs in about 10-lbs heavier than the Trek, but it would be more comfortable on that pavement. Decisions!
I think a lot will depend on the weather for that weekend. If it will be a spectacular weekend to ride, I will take the 29-er. If I have to deal with headwind or less than ideal riding conditions, I will take the Trek.
Another thing I have to consider is a wonderful thing called time. The ride begins at 7:30am (0730 for you military types). Since we were unable to get a hotel for the overnight stay in the middle of the ride, we are camping. They bring in trucks that supply us with showers. If you do not get there in a reasonable amount of time, the line gets crazy for the showers. I mean crazy as in about 40 yards wide and close to 100 yards long.
In order to get an ideal camping spot and access to the showers without having to wait hours, we must get there early. That means waking up early. I told my buddy that I am riding with that I plan to be at least 1 hour ahead of the main pack. If we make good time, that puts us there before noon. That will give us time to get a quick massage (only $15 + tip), which is great after the ride, and an early shower. I also plan on bringing baby wipes to freshen up later that evening or early the next day.
That following day, I aim to be awake early and tear down the tent early as well. I hope to beat the main field onto the road again. That prevents us from being packed in a tight group of slow riders. We are not fast either, but we are faster than most. Our typical cruising speed is around 16-18-mph. The majority of the riders out there are less than that. By heading out early we accomplish two things. First, we are safer. Less inexperienced traffic is out there. If you are passing us, you know how to ride a bike. Second, we hit the lunch stop and finish line earlier. By getting to lunch early, we avoid the long lines. By eating relatively quickly and able to get out on the road again, we will not need to struggle to get our legs moving again. The more you wait, the harder it is to get going again.
Getting to the finish line early is great because we do not have to hunt for bicycle parking in our team tent. Also, they cater Mexican food (actually, TexMex). Last year we got there an hour before food started running low. Also drinks were slim pickings as well. By showing up early, we make sure we get bike parking, lots of food and some drinks.
On rides like this, I prefer being early than late, more than just for the reasons listed above. If I show up early on day one, I have more time to recover. The more time I have to recover, the better I am on day two.
Most likely, I will be taking the roadie out again this year. I would love to take my mountain bike, but I do not know if I can justify that move. We shall see. I may get both inspected and ready to roll. That way I can decide the week before. I will be doing a lot of training on the mountain bike, so I will be used to it. We shall see!
Ride on my friends.