Rest day. Stopped at Pat’s Cycle Shop in Mesa to pick up a tube repair kit, just in case. Talked to Don in there a long time about bicycle stuff. He said out-of-towners had been coming in all day buying stuff for the race. He lamented that a couple of loud Air Force guys from Colorado were bending his ear about how bad the roads are here in AZ, full of thorns and gravel.
Was going to get some of those air cylinders, too, but the mechanic talked me out of it. Says my frame pump will do just as well, if a little slower. Since I’m not planning on any flats, I decided not to purchase them
Picked up my El Tour rider packet at the Mesa Convention Center. They have you go through a maze of 24 or so stations that dole out goodies, information, and try to get you to buy things. There was a really cute girl at the first station who even made some eyes at me, I think because I was nice to her. A bit flattering, although officially I could care less
Got my rider numbers (#520), tee shirt, poster, computer chip, and a bunch of rules and tips. Maybe they saved me that number because in 2003 I finished the 70 mile event in 5 hours 20 minutes, although probably not
I decided to go to something new they had this year, an orientation meeting. This 15 minute meeting runs through the most important rules and quickly through the course. Most of the tips pertained to the racers. Some interesting rules, no aerobars permitted, no music earpieces permitted. Lots of rules about not crossing center lines on corners, obeying all traffic signals if the intersection is not clear, etc. I tried talking with some of the other riders, but, no one seemed very affable. Too focused on their own performance perhaps, a little nervous about the race maybe.
They also talked about the staging, i.e. where you line up to start. They have a platinum group (by invitation), gold, silver, and bronze area. You’re supposed to line up according to your previous (or expected) finish, but they also indicated that the early bird sorta gets the best position. That would all be OK, except that I also learned that your start time is determined by the gun, not by your computer chip. They promised it wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to clear the start. I guess they figure that we slowpokes don’t really care about the extra minutes.
Trying to stay well pre-hydrated and eating lots of carbs this week and tonight. Wheat Thins, apples, pasta, beans, spinach, gatorade, water, no alcohol. The ride starts at 6:30am, so it is an early dinner and an early night. Huge plate of pasta and chicken and a mountain of fresh spinach.