Re: Bicycling as sailing
It was a great ride, I improved my time to 9:15 which I think puts me about in the middle of the pack. For a middle-aged guy carrying 15 extra pounds, I count middle of the pack as a win.
Anyway, I did witness a lesson that applies to sailing. Most of the breakdowns I saw, flat tires, broken pedals, jammed chains, etc., happened in the first ten miles. Not after fifty or eighty miles of abuse on loose gravel, dust, mud, potholes, washboard, and general heck. Most of the breakdowns happened right away.
This tells me that a lot of people put new stuff on their bike and never did a proper shakedown. Maybe the night before they put on a new chain, or "fixed" their brakes, or put on a new tire but pinched the tube. And then they set out the next morning on this grueling ride with untested equipment.
Even the water bottles. The ride is unsupported, there's only one place to get water, so you have to carry a lot. The first ten miles I bet I saw fifty water bottles lying in the road. This tells me that the night before a lot of people added new water bottle mounts but never tested them to see if the bottle would actually stay in the cage.
Lesson learned! Test your equipment BEFORE the big day!