All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination." -Earl Nightingale
The Plan and the Road Map
What to repeat and what to refine
To excel in any endeavor, one must take an approach of mindful observation and continual improvement. Ultracycling is no different, but does take this to an extreme. Unlike traditional bike racing where I used to race 20 or 30 times a year, the mind, body, crew, and bank account can only accommodate a few ultracycling events. At most, there are a few ultracycling events a year, and perhaps one or two RAAM attempts in most people's lifetime. One must pay attention and learn purposefully from each. Yet another unique aspect of ultracycling is that there is a lot to figure out on your own. The published literature on training and nutrition are thin compared to other sports. Even the scientific literature is thin, and tends to be merely observational accounts of what and how much one athlete or another ate combined with some pre- and post-race body composition measurements.
One of the reasons I started the blog was to leave a trail, not for others to follow, but for others to consider. I hope it will find some aspiring athlete that wants to step into the ultra, and help them get started in the right direction. I openly share my training plan, race plans, course reconnoitering, and other thoughts. The blog helps me organize those thoughts. The www site serves as a tool for the crew. I hope others find it a useful place to start.
Now with 35 years of racing, and two years of road ultras (and that Dirty Kanza thing in 2014), there are some things to repeat, and some things to refine. Here is a quick list.
There is no unfinished business, only destinations not yet reached
"Unfinished Business" is nearly a term-of-art in ultracycling. Most often, you hear from ultracyclists when they talk about returning to an event that they previously DNFed. Dex Tooke's titled his captivating book about returning to RAAM in 2011 after his DNF the year before after a 299 hour/2808 effort "Unfinished Business." I want to return to RAW in 2020. In conversation, other riders have told me "you have unfinished business at RAW". Yet, when I consider my desire to return to RAW, and ultimately to RAAM, I do not see it as unfinished business. I see myself on a personal journey, a voluntary one--with no obligations, no "business" to complete. Instead, RAW and RAAM are waypoints on a journey--destinations I have yet to reach. The journey continues.
My interest in ultracycling dates back when I first started seriously riding a bike in college in the early 1980s. This is my RAAM story preparing to compete in the Race Across the West in 2020 and RAAM 2021.