Tour de Mag Dog 2004by Tim Chilton, VP Touring
In a few months, most of us will be keeping tabs on the legendary Tour de France, watching anxiously to see if Lance Armstrong will win an unprecedented six championships in a row. We'll discuss the brutality of the mountain climbs, the frenetic attacks in the flats, the breakaways that almost succeeded, and the controlled chaos of the group sprints. While we may all revel in this drama, we will be forced to admit that it's impossible for everyday Joe Cyclist to relate to that kind of awesome athletic event.
Well, maybe we can try! We have the hard-core century riders, the Mad Dogs, whose legs are strong and whose camaraderie is contagious. We have some great, challenging routes that can test just about any cyclist. We have a cadre of strong riders that is just itching to find the motivation necessary to push towards a new level of riding. All we need is some organization and a desire to do something different, perhaps even radical.
Gentle readers, I give you the 2004 Tour de Mad Dog! No, we cannot do 20 stages in a three week period. But we can do 20 stages (century courses) staggered over the 2004 Touring Season (March 1-October 31). We can't race, for several reasons, but we can invent a competition that rewards riding Mad Dog Centuries and group riding. We can have Stage Winners, a General Classification, a Yellow Jersey leader, and even a Lanterne Rouge. In the end, we will have two winners: a male and a female Tour de Mad Dog Champion.
At the beginning of each stage, all of the participants will place their name in a hat and a blind draw will be held. The name selected will be the Stage Winner. The trick to this is that the name will only be revealed AFTER all of the riders have completed the course. Fictitious times are assigned to each rider, with the Stage Winner getting the best time. All of the rest of the riders' times are determined by the group they finish with. If you finish with the Stage Winner in your group, you get the next fastest time. If you finish solo, you get the slowest time. The larger your group (six is optimal), the faster your time.
We will even start the competition with a Tour de Mad Dog Prologue, a club time trial that is free and open to all LBC members. That time trial time will be the only one that counts with the Prologue Winner becoming the first Yellow Jersey leader. Can't make the Prologue? Don't sweat it. You will only get a nominal penalty for not riding. You can still participate in the rest of the challenge!
Missing stages will not disqualify you from the event, as this will only be penalized slightly. In order to stay in the General Classification, you need only make sure that you complete one of every three stages, with a total of six being the magic number necessary to determine a winner. However, to be a legal participant, you must complete one of the first three stages.
All LBC members who complete a Mad Dog Stage, whether they are in competition or not, are eligible for any stage prizes. At a minimum, each Stage Winner will get a nice prize to mark his/her Mad Dog success.
This sounds simple and fun, but having created a tentative schedule for this, I can assure you that our Tour de Mad Dog Champions will be very strong and determined cyclists.
Thanks to my Mad Dog friends and to the Touring Committee, I've written a rule book that covers every aspect of this challenge: who can participate, how times are determined, how riders can get special time bonuses (20 minutes for riding 100 miles on an old 10-speed!), and much more. These rules will be disseminated to all those who are interested in the challenge.
So check out the Tour de Mad Dog on the ride schedule. Come out to our Prologue and do a time trial for fun. Complete one of the first three Mad Dog Centuries and get your name in the General Classification. Who knows? Maybe you have what it takes to become our first Tour de Mad Dog Champion!
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web posted: 4 March 2004
last updated: 6 March 2004