Results for the 2012 Everest Challenge are in. I was #443, and took 5th place, being 27 seconds behind 4th place.
I rode the Moots Vamoots RSL with SRM Cannnondale SI/SL power meter, wheels the Lightweight Obermayer 20 spoke front and rear carbon fiber wheels, Veloflex Sprinter rear tire, Veloflex Record front tire and wore Giro Prolight SLX shoes with my usual Pearl Izumi In-R-Cool short and a full-zip jersey, which I unzipped fully most of the day.
A race (or place) is won by a very small margin. For 2012 I didn’t know that only 28 seconds was all that separated me from 4th place vs 5th.
Thinking over the race, here are all the things that add up, that could have saved me time; I learn a little each year, making fewer mistakes:
- +2 minutes lost 2nd day — Don’t drop out of a paceline to urinate. Save it for later, on the uphill, where a paceline is generally irrelevant (barring a headwind).
- +30 seconds — Don’t pull your competitors overusing your strength. 2nd day I pulled a certain individual into a strong headwind uphill. No big deal, right? Wrong. When I finally complained and he finally pulled, I discovered that the required power dropped from 260 watts to 220 watts— a Big Deal dropping from threshold to aerobic pace.
- +3 minutes — lose the 1 pound repair kit. Apparently I was the one of the few riders carrying a repair kit: spare tubular tire, mini pump, Stan's No Tubes sealant, valve stem tool, a few misc items, saddlebag to hold it. Next year, take only the Stan’s, valve tool, and mini pump (saving 3/4 pound).
- + 1 minute — lose the Moots Vamoots RSL head badge and 2nd layer of bar tape, a few other trivial items: save 1/4 pound =
- +5 minutes — stow cooling vest at bottom of DV road to bring body temp down. Wear for first 30 minutes of final climb. I can watch my power drop 30-40 watts when my body temp gets too high. See this article.
- +30 seconds — when really tired, stop and gulp and eat, then race down. Don’t sit there descending and braking while trying to drink and eat badly (unless it works).
- +1 minute — suck it up even if you think it doesn’t matter. I got lazy on the last climb, not by much (good discipline), but enough to cost me one place.
That’s 13.0 minutes. Seriously. Serious time when you’re in the top five, as I was. This is how races are won or lost— the small details (assuming you do everything else right).