I thought I should post something on race strategy as before the start I felt like a lazy man participating in a “race”, yet planning a par 6 day completion. In the end I felt like a winner.
I encountered three different approaches.
1. Ride Non-Stop (Racing Snakes)
For the hard core out there looking to challenge Martin Dreyer’s 2012 record of 56 hours or improve on previous best times or aiming to win the event. None of these super athletes are rookies, they have paid school fees by previous participation, route recce trips and specific preparation to be able to spend many hours in the saddle. Their equipment choice and setup are specific to purpose and most importantly their navigation is accurate and well prepared.
2. Break Par (Fast Snakes)
These riders plan to break par, ie they will attempt to complete one and a half days or even double up in a 24 hour cycle. They come no less prepared than the Non-Stoppers and have more than likely done some additional preparation for night riding, night navigation and also plan to sacrifice beauty sleep. I found them less cautious of night navigation than the 6-dayers, I suspect this is due to either strong determination and lac of fear of getting lost or perhaps just a good knowledge of the navigation aspects. This would be a real challenge for rookie riders.
3. Tourers (Tough Snakes)
Completing the race in 6 days is no less of a feat. There are some who simply choose to ride at a manageable pace, finish before dark and enjoy some of the scenery and hospitality. There are also those who have to work hard, get lost and have to hang tough to complete one day at a time. I suspect most of the finishers in this category are likely to return either with friends or to try and improve their time.
I chose the 6-day plan from the beginning and it rewarded me with a very enjoyable experience of the journey as it did those in any of the above categories. I guess it’s another dimension of Race to Rhodes that is different to other multi-day events, there are options available to satisfy your need whatever it may be. In the end everyone deserved their whip as they had to dig deep and overcome their personal challenges.