Now that I’ve won the lottery, I’ve got more questions. How do I prepare? What gear will I need that I don’t already have, and how much of that gear I need to bring to get to Westcliffe comfortably?
The gear question is not as straight forward as you might think – ask 10 different riders what to pack for the week, and what to carry on your bike, and you’ll get 10 different answers. To try and get to the bottom of this little dilemma, I went to the First Time Rider Social in search of answers.
We heard from a lot people who have done the ride multiple times and got their input. From the minimalist who doesn’t like to carry much, “Sure I’ll be chilly in the morning, but I’ll be fine by lunch”. To the Boy Scout who is prepared for “Carry everything you’ll need for every possible weather condition we may see.” I think the answer to this question boils down to a matter of personal preference and will fall somewhere in between.
While a ton of great info was shared, there are three things that stuck with me from that night. The first was the advice about trying new things. Be it new shoes, bags, shorts, gloves, tires, carrying more/less, whatever: if you want to try new gear or ideas, do it now to determine what works and what doesn’t. Have those decisions dialed in well in advance of June 13th. The second was a quote from the movie Bull Durham: “Respect the streak.” To put that in context, once you find what works for you, stick with it. Don’t try changing things up just for the sake of change. The third was the updated elevations figures. Turns out we’ll only be climbing about 32,000 feet, not 40,000. I’ve got mixed feelings about that. At first, it’s quite a relief that there will be a lot less climbing than I thought. But it’s also disappointing that I’ll be losing some bragging rights at having riding 40k in just 7 days.
I’d like to give a big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who did come out to the social to speak with us newbies. If you are a first time rider and couldn’t make it due to scheduling or geographical conflicts, here is a link to all the info that was shared that evening.
Cycling etiquette tip of the day: Don’t wear headphones. You’ll look anti-social. Instead, get an external speaker and share your tunes (Note, while apropos to the route, The Sound of Music soundtrack will not be allowed)