Saturday, July 7, 2007

STP

Wendy and I have been trying to figure out when we should head down to visit our friends in Portland, and we settled on this upcoming weekend, July 14-15. I told her that the only drawback is that I need to get in a long ride every weekend until Leadville. Her solution: I should ride part of the way to Portland, and she'll pick me up on the way. Excellent of an idea! To find the best route to take, I looked up the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, which happens to take place on -- get this -- July 14-15. So I started looking into the 204-mile ride, and the more I looked into it, the more I wanted to sign up. I can't believe I've never even considered doing it before.

The bad news is the race is sold out. The good news is the race organizers have done the unthinkable -- they've allowed registered riders to transfer their tickets if they can't do the ride. See? I told you it was a cool and well-organized event. I've lost my entry fee to a few events, including an Ironman Triathlon, because I've gotten injured before the race, and the response has always been the same: "We don't allow refunds." Yes, and there's always been a lottery. Some registered riders can't do a race for whatever reason, and some would-be competitors can't register for the race because it's sold out, yet apparently, the STP folks are the only people who've figured out how to make everyone happy. They just charge $10 for the transfer form, and everyone wins. It's what those of us in the cycling industry like to call a "win-win situation" and those of us in the math industry call a "non-zero-sum game." The only problem is that all the proceeds go to charity, and that seems just a little too touchy feely for a sporting event.

I found a registered rider who injured his shoulder, which is great news, so I'm going to buy his ticket. Now I have to decide how far I'm going to ride. Should I just do 100-120 miles and then have Wendy pick me up on her way to Portland, as we originally planned? Or should I ride the whole 204 miles in one day? I figure it will take me about 14 to 16 hours to ride a double century, and I probably won't be in a poker playing mood afterwards. Then again, there a special patch or something that people get for riding the STP in one day, so it would be pretty cool to be able to put that patch in one of the boxes in the garage that has my Leadville belt buckles and pinewood derby trophy. Decisions, decisions.