TR Super Poster
Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Location: Bowen Island/Vancouver, BC
|Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:03 pm Post subject: Revised-What to expect on your 1st TR Pt. 2 - Partners
|Finding a Partner
The 7-day version of the TransRockies is a 2-person race. And every team will only be as fast as its slowest member. If you want to ride as fast as possible and hate waiting for anyone, then perhaps the TR3 is the right choice for you. But if you are prepared to work together and encourage your partner when they are down then, with the right choice of team member, you should have a great time on the full 7-day TR.
Finding the right partner is one of the most critical elements in having a good TR. The forum is a great place to start your search, but even if your e-mails indicate that you’ll be a great match you’ll need to get some details ironed out.
These are a few of the things that you should agree on before you team up. (And while most of this you’ve probably already thought of, there are some things to consider.)
1) What are you looking for? A podium finish? A great ride with a friend? A 7-day anaerobic lactic acid fest?
2) What sort of bikes will you ride? It will be challenging for a singlespeed rider and a 3x9 rider to maintain the same speed, especially on the road sections. (Although the singlespeed rider will have a big advantage on the hike-a-bikes.)
3) Do you have similar or at least compatible personalities? If you’re old enough, think of The Odd Couple. Are you an Oscar and is your prospective partner a Felix? If your partner is happy to have the tent look like a Lycra® bomb went off and you are a bit of a neat freak there may be trouble in paradise.
4) Can you play nicely together? What are your problem solving styles? Do you just yell louder and louder until the other side gives in? I’ve seem too many people who were abandoned by their partners after a big blow up. Apart from being unfriendly, it is against the TR rules and potentially very unsafe.
5) Can you put up with each other’s speed? Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses when riding. In 5 years of racing the TR I never had a partner who matched my speed up, down and on the flat. Some years I was the faster climber, other years I was slower. Some years I took long pulls on the road sections, others it was all I could do to hang on as my partner barrelled down the pavement like a freight train. In 2009, riding as an Ambassador, I had the opportunity to see how lots of teams worked together. There were quite a few teams who discovered that by the end of the week their speeds were not as closely matched as they were at the start of the week.
6) Can you both live with the “ground rules”? Will the race be 7 days of musical heaven or an iPod-free zone? How “close to the bone” are you prepared to go? Just two water bottles, or will you carry a hydration pack? Will one spare inner tube each be enough?
Some may disagree, but on the TR I think the most important factors in picking a partner are personality and climbing speed. In the five years that I’ve raced in the TR, I’ve had four partners and we were never the same speed. Even if you spend a lot of time riding with your TR partner beforehand you need to recognize that over the course of 7 days your relative speeds will change. You need to think about who is faster on what type of terrain. Ideally you should both climb at about the same speed. That is where teams can make or lose hours. If your climbing speeds are very different you will have a harder time sticking together. On the road sections the slower rider can draft and on the downhill/technical sections the difference between the slow and fast riders is usually never more that a couple of minutes.
For 7 days you will both be pushing yourselves well beyond your comfort zones. You’ll be tired, sore, hungry and thirsty. You’ll snap at each other, or be tempted to. You have to remember that when you are doing the TR “it is what it is”. Anything that can break will break, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. The strongest rider can have a horrible day and the winners are the people who can maintain their pace all day long for 7 days. Burning out your partner on the day 1 time trial does not make for a happy experience.
So, if you go in to the TR with a pretty clear idea about what the two of you want to achieve and an understanding about how you’ll try to achieve your goals, then you should have a great time.