Including crew, this Transcon is half the size of the Southern that I rode in 2006. Makes for some interesting differences.
Here's the breakdown by numbers:
|Males by Age||Number on Tour||Females by Age||Number on Tour|
The major difference is that this is a much more "elite" group in terms of riding credentials/pedigree. Several (men and women) have done Team RAAM (Race Across America), PBP (Paris-Brest-Paris, a 750 mile event that must be completed in 90 hours, and Furnace Creek 508 (a premiere 508 mile event in the Nevada desert that many will race as a qualifier for other premiere events such as RAAM.
That this Tour is half the size has made for a fast front pack and the caboose. In the 2006 Transcon I came in solidly in the middle or upper middle of the pack every day. This tour I am in the caboose, along with 4-5 others. Quite demoralizing actually.
The last difference, at least for me, is that I am now 63 3/4. Although I think in many ways I am a better rider now thanI was 3 years ago, I do seem to need more recovery time after either extra-long rides (>116 miles) or rides with greater than 4,500' of climbing. We've had many of those "more than" days so far.
Somewhat sobering to stare the consequence of aging so squarely in the eye.