Monday, October 17, 2011

The Cycling Travel Formula™: Is The Ride Worth The Drive?

Plug your numbers into The Best Bike Blog EVER’s Cycling Travel Formula™ and find out if the ride worth the drive.

HSR = or > HSD – F x DQ

(HSR) Hours Spent Riding should be equal to or more than the (HSD) Hours Spent Driving minus the (F) number of Friends traveling with you multiplied by the (DQ) Disappointment Quotient.  I just blew your mind didn’t I?  You might want to read that again.

Sweeky sweeky.  The hamster is running on the wheel between your ears.  You put index finger and thumb to your chin and ponder.  You’re saying, “Hmm…he could be on to something.”  You know, I am.  I’ve practiced this theory for years, only now have I put it to paper.  Like Einstein on a bike, I’m a genius.  Of course The Cycling Travel Formula™ all hinges on the DQ, the Disappointment Quotient and slightly on the number of friends you travel with.  It was precisely the reason I chose not to travel from Cincinnati to the cyclocross races in Columbus, OH and Bloomington, IN this weekend.
Only Crazy Glue Would've Saved His Teeth
The disappointment quotient is a measure of buzz kill, the chances of something bad happening in the following six departments: a flat, mechanical, disappointing result, domestic dispute, bonk or injury.  The highest possible DQ is 6.  Flats are separate from mechanicals, because for some rides or races you may not bring a multi tool or a truing stand.  Of course the DQ is completely subjective to your personal situation.  For example at the Mohican 100, you could easily achieve a 6 by making your spouse mad by spending your rent money on the entry fee, doing the race with no tools or food, crashing in the rock garden and bonking at aid station 3.  Since the round trip drive to Mohican from Cincinnati is 6 hours, such a debacle would ruin the entire trip no matter how many clowns you crammed in your car.

The DQ can be brought down by negating the possibilities of those buzz kills.  Depending on the situation, a pump, spare tube, patch kit and/or pit wheels can negate the chances of a flat.  A multi tool, spare chain pin or pit bike can nullify a mechanical.  A gift from Nordstrom could quell a domestic dispute.  Then again, inappropriately spent money can cause a domestic dispute.  Be wise.

In the case of a ride or a race with a potentially high DQ, it mathematically makes sense to travel with more friends.  Hence the hours of driving are directly and proportionately affected by the number of friends in your car.  The more the merrier.  The more friends the less the chances of a total suckfest.  Remember Aron Ralston, the guy who had to cut his hand off to escape death in a Utah slot canyon?  He drove all night to get there for a solo day hike.  Imagine if he took even one friend along.  A ha!  He may still have his hand and not have had to drink pee.  That’s what friends are for, a helping hand if you will.

HSR = or > HSD – F x DQ

Do The Math B4 You Mount The Bike
Take Haw Ridge, TN for example.  It’s four hours away from Cincinnati, 8 hours of total driving.  If you bring your spouse, tools, plenty of food and water and a first aid kit with more than Band-Aids and Bactine, the disappointment quotient barely registers, maybe a 1, only a broken bone or a deep laceration could kill your buzz.  To make the 8 hour round trip worth while you need to have 4 friends in the car and ride for at least 4 hours, totally doable. 

MTB Haw Ridge TN:  HSR 4 is = or > HSD 8 - 4 Friends x DQ (1)

Sadly it’s what makes a cyclocross race in Bloomington, IN a complete conundrum.  Even if you race the 60 minute Elite race, at the most you might ride is 2.5 hours with a warm-up and cool down.  Its six hours of driving. With spare wheels, a pit bike or two, giant duffle bags and coolers the most you can travel with is 3.  You need a negative DQ to make it work.

CX Bloomington IN: HSR 2.5 is not = or > HSD 6 – 3 Friends x DQ

While I had a chance to travel with friends, the DQ for me was still too high.  When I opened the front door to grab the paper on Saturday morning a blizzard of cat hair wafted up the stairwell with the breeze.  To cut my DQ I would have to clean the house or risk domestic dispute.  Of course spending the whole day on my feet hunched over brushing toilets, scrubbing floors and vacuuming stairs increased the chance of a disappointing finish especially against those fast Indiana guys.  I don’t have a pit bike and have rolled tires in the last two races.  My DQ was nowhere near negative.  I bailed on the race.  It just didn’t add up. 

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