Three Options, One Choice

This happens every year.

I work myself into a fitness frenzy trying to get into as good as shape as possible for the Leadville 100. Then, after the race, I go into a fitness freefall, eating everything in sight, and exercising only sporadically and randomly.

That pretty much describes what’s happening right now.

Beating The System, I Hope
In order to fight back the inevitable weight gain and to leverage the fitness I’ve worked so hard to get, I’m going to do another race.

The only problem is, there are three interesting races coming up in the near future, and I just don’t have the courage (or indecency) to ask my wife if I can do all three of them. Or even two of them.

I need to pick one race to do. But which? These are my options, and the factors I am considering in making my selection. Listed — for your convenience — in chronological order.

The e100
The first race I could do is the e100. I had planned to do this race for certain, back when Dug and Rick Sunderlage were going to race it. I liked the idea of doing this race just as a ride, goofing off, taking lots of pictures and video, and generally suffering as little as possible.

But Dug’s not going to do this race anymore. So if I’m going to do the e100, I pretty much now have to do it as a race. And here’s the thing: it’s another 100-mile mountain bike race. I know I’m not going to win it, but I also know I’m strong enough to complete it. So I wouldn’t be exactly breaking any new ground at a personal level. However, it is acknowledged to be a very challenging course with a vast amount of singletrack and climbing. Which would be very cool.

This race is close, which is a positive — I could probably sleep at home.

But — and I feel a little bit mean saying this, but it’s true — this race has a real “what do you get for your money” problem. Let’s compare: For my $220 at Leadville, I get a bag, a t-shirt, a personalized sweatshirt, a handmade trophy buckle, a pre-race dinner, the best-marked course I could ever hope for, and aid stations beyond my wildest dreams.

At the e100, you spend less –$185 — but from what I understand, you get a t-shirt and socks for entering, and nothing at all for completing. People tell me the course is not well-marked (you’re encouraged to bring your own GPS), and I know from first-hand experience that the aid stations are pretty sad.

In short, the positives seem to be an interesting and challenging course that’s relatively close. The negatives are that the race organization and rider support seems to be kind of weak.

The Logan to Jackson (LOTOJA) road race is pretty much a rite of passage for cyclists in the area. 200+ miles connecting up Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I could do this ride with Rick Sunderlage, which would be fun, and 200 miles on a road bike does sound epic.

The logistics, however, seem like a pain in the butt. We’ve got to find a place to stay in Logan before the race, a way to get back from Jackson Hole after the race, and — from what I understand — someone to come be our sag wagon along the way.

When the arrangements around a ride / race become more effort than the ride / race itself, is it perhaps time to reevaluate the ride?

The 24 Hours of Grand Targhee
It’s been years and years since I’ve done a 24 Hour Mountain Bike race, and I’ve never done one solo. Kenny and the Jack Mormon Militia are planning to head up to Jackson Hole Wyoming for this 24 Hour Race in mid-September, and I’m tempted to go up with them and try my hand at riding for 24 hours, solo.

This race would definitely not have the “no breaking new ground” problem I’d have with the other two races; I’ve never done a 24 hour race solo before. I honestly don’t know if I have it in me to ride for that long (though I have a hunch that I do). It’s in a new place, not too far away. That’s good.

It is, however, on a ski resort. And the description of the course makes me think that this is going to be an extremely climby course. How am I going to do at not just riding for 24 hours, but basically climbing for that long? Seems like I could wind up fully cooked well before the race is even halfway over.

As a bonus, I would get to see the Jack Mormon Militia in passing, which would be kind of cool. I could probably even leach some support from them.

And if I push really hard, I bet I could badger Sunderlage into doing this instead of LOTOJA, which would be pretty cool. And Brad.

I admit: of the three races, this one both intrigues and terrifies me the most.

Your Choice
If you were presented with these three races, which would you do, and why? Furthermore, which should I do, and why?

Provided I am given good compelling reasons, I shall abide by the consensus of the commenters.

Which is probably a really, really dumb idea.

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