Last night we celebrated Memphis’s 2nd foray into cycling culture past the comfort zone of spandex, asphalt, and/or singletrack. In other cities, tweed rides are a big deal- lots of people show up, the dress is fantastic, and the bikes are unique (just check out photos that pop up on a Google Image search). Last night, about 15 very dapper and dashingly dressed individuals showed up at Peddler Bikes for the leisurely ride to Celtic Crossing.
Odd, I thought… because the first Tweed Ride back in March seemed much less publicized and much more attended. More on that in a minute.
The ride and the company were great, of course. I managed to win “best dressed,” the prize for which was a shiny new Brooks saddle. If I can scare up a seatpost with more setback than my Thompson (not too hard- the Thompson is pretty mild), then it’s going on the One9.
Speaking of bikes, the decision has been made (thanks for all the input!). I will get an Air9 carbon sometime in the next couple of months. It will be mine… oh yes, it will be mine. I love Niner too much to mess around on them with other bikes.
So, back to the low turnout of the Tweed Ride…Ã‚ Last night was also the showing of the 2010 Race Across the Sky documentary (about the Leadville 100 mountain bike race). I am reasonably sure that it took away from the attendance of said ride. What I’m about to say might upset a lot more people than that time I dropped an F-bomb or posted a gangsta rap song.
To Hell with the LT100 hype.
There, I said it.
I’ll preface this by saying yes, it is a hard race. If you’ve finished this race, you’ve done a great thing that a lot of other humans view as “impossible.” By no means am I calling it easy or saying what you’ve done isn’t a great accomplishment …but NO 100 mile race is easy.
The media has hyped this raceÃ‚ sooooo much that people are viewing it as the end-all, be-all endurance race of a lifetime. Newsflash, people- there are other 100s out there that are harder. You wouldn’t know about those, though, because they don’t have their own movie, and L*nce has never entered them. In fact, I’d venture to say that without a film crew that are both very capable bike handlers/hikers and in excellent physical condition,Ã‚ a large portion of races more difficult than the LT100 couldn’t have their own movie because you couldn’t get physically get to most ofÃ‚ the trails that make up the race course. I recently realized that most people (even some very accomplished riders) don’t know that the LT100 easily lends itself to filming because most of it is on jeep roads (except for that couple of miles of singletrack between Pipeline and Twin Lakes). The altitude is a factor, as are the 1500 people that show up to race (many of them accomplished pros), but the course itself is generally run-of-the-mill when compared to other 100 mile courses.
I’m not going to blow smoke here- I will likely race in the LT100 some day… it’s a 100 mile race, and I like racing 100s. And yes, being the vain and self-centered person I am, I will probably then go to that year’s showing of Race Across the Sky in hopes of seeing myself on the silver screen. But I encourage any of you reading- if you are wanting to set a lifelong goal of finishing a 100 mile MTB race, then do a little searching. There are others out there that are more, less, or equally challenging. Read. Look for past race reports. Look at photos and course maps.Ã‚ Think for yourself and don’t just go with the one that’s on the front page of the magazines.
If you’re an LT100 finisher and this makes you mad, then please refer back to the above preface to my rant. You’ve accomplished something great, and I’m not trying to take that away from you. But now that you’ve done that, how about branching out?