Next Big Race Innovation: TEAM Self-Supported Racing!
Solo self-supported racing seems a bit sketchy to me, especially in wilderness areas, but also when dealing with heavy paved road traffic.
Two or more would seem naturally safer, faster, lighter, funner.
...The buddy system!
I see a big future for teams in both Tour Divide and a self-sup RAAM, that is, a revival of Chris Kostman's "Trans-Am" idea. He was ready to roll then cancelled due to safety concerns. Well, a cross-USA self-sup bike race would be jim-dandy in a team format. Safety in numbers, baby! Also... fun!
Entourage racing is cool, but self-sup just seems cooler. Yeah, it's neat that the Tour de France has coaches, drivers, doctors (dopers!), soigneurs, masseuses, cooks, mechanics, officials, commissaires, gendarmes and a thousand others. But it just ain't green. And I gotta say I think it takes away from a person's achievement. The less babying a racer needs the great their achievement. Duh! Sure, dudes ride faster when someone else is doing the thinking but are they better for it? Isn't the Tour great because a real champion emerges, a true all-rounder. Well, why should a racer only be great at TT's and climbing and hanging in their on the flats? Why not have them TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES, too?
Anyway, modern entourage/official racing is just too specialized and expensive. Put self-sufficiency back in the game and the playing field is leveled a bit. Yeah, I know that camp-racing will become all hightech and pricey but still.
Ya don't need no steenking sag wagon.
I don't even like 'em for bike touring.
No support! Fix your own bike!
Anyway, I wanna see TEAMS happen for both Tour Divide and RAAM.
Of course, self-supported racing can be done anywhere, anyhow, in any sport. (Forget the groomers in skiing! Ski your own trail! And I don't need bank-runners for my canoeing!) Here in Michigan we could do a North Country Trail self-support "divide" race from south to north. Whatever! Even Century rides. We gotta start cutting the overhead on this sports stuff.
Here are a couple items I wrote up about these notions:
Next innovation for the Tour Divide? It's gotta be a Team Divide. I kinda think that solo in the wild filled mountains for weeks just isn't very safe. I know that an innovator of the sport -- Jeff of Carousel who developed the first bikepacking luggage system -- believes in the Buddy System, and so do I. Teams are faster, funner and far safer. What's not to like? The only downside I see is impact....
The TD starts up north in early mud so erosion might be a worry. Maybe Teams could do NoBo. Anyway, I'm saying let's seriously look into TEAM DIVIDE! ...How would it look? I have no idea! What about *group* rides? Again, no idea. Anything more than one seems good. Offhand, I'd still say NO SUPPORT. NO RELAY. Does the whole team have to finish to get a time? No idea. Slowest member sets the time? Remember, this kind of racing is unofficial. Anyone can start what they like. I'm looking for a new website to launch TeamDivide.org and take it from there.
What's the next big self-supported race? It's gotta be Team Trans-Am. As per below, ya know I'm into Team Divide. Well, I think it would be great to have self-supported teams race ACROSS America. I've heard they're developing and connecting up an OFFROAD route -- dandy. I still think bikers should lay claim to the pavement. A team would be fast, fun, and far safer than solo. Easier for drivers to see. Far less likely to make bad decisions or get delirious due to lack of sleep. Chris Kostman seems a likely frontman here since he nearly launched a solo self-sup Trans-Am a few years ago.