The mailbag is full, overflowing, with good people who should know better than to associate with such a tawdry, ragtag, non operation as Il Pantani. But they simply can't look away. Il Pantani is like the Crystal Meth of gravel non-races. No really, there's a lot of Meth out there, so be careful.
Let's go straight into the mailbag, and I'll see if I can settle some of these queries once and for all.
1) Is it really going to be 69 degrees for Pantani on Sunday?
Naturally, given the fact that it's February and you used the number "69", I assumed this was a prank email. But no. Indeed, it appears we're on a warm streak here the likes of which has not been seen since China came up with this whole global warming hoax. And the forecast for Charlottesville does currently say it'll be exactly 69 degrees on Sunday afternoon. So yeah, I guess it'll be a warm one. But no way will it hit above 60 degrees out there atop the pop. In fact, I bet you'll want a jacket for the decent down into the arctic tundra that is Bacon Hollow, where snow is forecast to actually fall and stick tomorrow morning, despite the fact it's currently 72 degrees. Make of that what you will. Dress warm, dress light, dress however you want - but dress awesome.
2) Should I ride my 1X10 MTB or my cross bike?
A 1X10 mtb, even if you are running a 34T front ring, will probably leave you spun out and dropped in the first 2 miles. That start down Markwood is like a road race. But then, on brokenback, a 34X36 is not nearly sufficient to climb brokenback after what you've done to yourself for the previous 2.5 hours or so. So a 1X10 mtb is a rough choice on all surfaces. Then again, a cross bike that has similar gearing deficiencies is probably worse. But at least it'll roll nice until it doesn't. Was that helpful? No. OK then.
3) Can I get a coach and a training plan that'll help me get fit by Sunday?
You know what, YES. There are lots of options on this front these days, but B-slow, local pro, Past Pantani-Runner up, Tour De Burg champ, Battenkill champ, and just all around good guy is now an in-town resource for screaming at you to get you in shape. Coaches, of course, are not for everyone. But if there's one dude who could take you, in whatever state of disrepair you are in, and actually improve your performance between now and Sunday, given his history as an underground and gravel racing boss, I think B-slow could at least help. I'm not sure how he'd do it, though. Just look at yourself. Jesus. How did this happen? Anyway, give him a call.
Though around here, I imagine the biz dev conversation for the new coach in town going something like this:
I got a coach.
You got a WHAT? How long have you had that problem?
4) Has VDOT dumped gravel back there on the mountain yet?
As of today, Wednesday, no. It's smooth as silk back there. Which makes me believe they are waiting until Friday or Saturday, or maybe even Sunday morning, to get to work. Pinch flats for one and all. See also, Huck Norris.
5) Will you cancel Pantani if it's over 80 degrees?
I will not because I cannot. You see, I'm not in charge - in fact, no one is. This is a mob, not a monarchy. Going with the flow is not just a good option, it's the only option.
6) Can you recommend an appropriate Singlespeed gear for this route?
Every year someone comes to me with this question, and I hastily link them to Kev-29ers gear doc.
Then I mumble a few obscure comments about gear inches and metric vs American standards, and I try to blend the conversation back into something else that I don't know anything about before I'm exposed as the single speeder-fraud that I actually am. To that point, take note, I don't know. Kev29er might chime in here with real wisdom, though it's worth noting he'll be only slightly under-gearing on Sunday with a 1-10 mtb. SOFT.
7) Who is your pick to win?
Ricky StillGetsCardedInBars Everington. 3 hours flat. Long live the 26er!
But you read all that, and it didn't actually help, right? I know. Reading, and factual information in general, are both a thing of the past. BUT, Marky Mark did chime in that he has procured a keg of minuteman IPA. So you've got that going for you, if nothing else. (You have nothing else going for you but that.) So take advantage.
Sunday, 10 AM.
Up, up, up.