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Old 05-20-2011, 10:18 AM   #37
yellowbronco
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Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Sacramento
Oddometer: 203
I definitely think that one pit crew can chase a non-pro ironman. It's all in the pit strategy. There were 16 pits in 2006 and I looked closely at the mileages between them and figured out a system so that my pit crew wouldn't have to go to every single pit or the remote pits (the definition of a remote pit is a pit that requires more mileage to be traveled by the pit crew to get there than for the race vehicle). I pitted at pits 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, and 15. The distance between my pit stops averaged between 60 and 70 miles skipping pits like I was, except for the leg between pits 8 and 11. That one was just over 80 miles and, with no troubles, I could have made it (3.8 gallon Clark tank). However, we chose not to replace the air filter in the XR at pit 8 and that was a mistake. The filter got clogged and it was a struggle to get it to accelerate. It took full throttle to get anything out of it so I was burning a lot of extra fuel. So, I wasn't surprised when it ran out of gas and I had to lean it over to continue. Likewise, I wasn't surprised when it ran out again and I had to pull a bottle of gas out of my camelback.

This is a good indication of how serious I was (not very). The bottle of fuel I was carrying in my camelback was in case I ran across someone else who had run out. I had never intended for it to be for me. Then, also between pits 8 and 11, I ran across a guy who had crashed and broken several ribs. I stopped to make sure he was alright and he begged me to start his bike for him. His plan was to get the bike to the next pit and he also wanted me to ride with him and make sure he was ok. I agreed and was forced to watch as at least two other ironmen passed us because we were riding so slow. Finally I was sick of it, got the thumbs up from mr. broken ribs and took off to catch those two riders. I figured that, for the ironman class, it's more about just getting to the finish line but my competitive nature got the best of me. I saw his pit crew at pit 11 and they were extremely thankful because my help meant that they were able to get the bike to the next rider so they could stay in the race. After all this, I'm sure you can understand my surprise when I found out that I had gotten third in class.

So, unless you're Quinn Cody, a single chase vehicle should be enough. Just make sure they have everything they need in the chase vehicle so they don't have to stop for anything. You might even throw in a few jugs of fuel for the chase vehicle so they don't have to stop for that either. They can pour the jugs in while they are waiting for you at the pits. Had we taken these precautions, my pit crew wouldn't have missed me at pit 15 where I arrived there before they did.
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