Yuri: How long were your pit stops?
Dave: They've been all over the map. At Old Pueblo, they varied between 0 and 5 minutes, probably averaged about 1-2 minutes - except for the 8 hour forced stop :( Moab was similar, quick stops throughout. Competition was really tight and strong; I was motivated to hustle them all on through.
Pit stop length seems to be something I've adapted to. I couldn't do short pits in the first couple of events. I tried...but ended up stopping for 5-10 min through the night after 9pm or so, and really looked forward to the "every other lap" in the night when I switched out batteries, since it took a little longer.
For your first event, I'd strongly recommend taking a "relaxed" plan of attack. You want to keep the wheels rolling as much as possible, but it might be too costly to shoot for 2 min stops throughout the night. Have a good plan in place, then on race day be flexible and seek the flow.
Yuri: I know this one is a little more personal but, how many shammies did you go through? Did you rotate every few hours or did you just use one for the whole 24 hours? Any issues with chaffing, if so, any secrets for prevention...besides vasoline??
Dave: It depends on the race. If it's a close one, I'll go the whole 24 without a change. I think the perfect plan is to change twice during the race, every 8 hours. The first change could coincide with when you mount your lights, the second the am breakfast stop. To keep things pain free (well, sorta anyway) new chammies are key, and the kind that you know are uber comfortable. I started using performance bibs, not sure the make but they come from Italy...every 24 hour event gets a new pair of bibs. 24 solo events are so big, so epic - that I figure I just owe it to my nether regions. The other key is a saddle you know won't rub you raw. I prefer the WTB lasers as the whale tail design spreads the pressure points over a wide area - but this is totally subjective. It all gets lubed up with Udderly Smooth udder cream - cheap and works better than anything else I've used, although it doesn't have the menthol tingle of that expensive euro stuff.
Yuri: Now, I read your blurb about the run....how important do you think it is to be in good position on the run? I don't think that Laguna Seca bottlenecks too bad at the beginning, so there will be time to bring people back. How do the other solo riders approach the run?
At OP last year I dawdled the run and got completely bottlenecked in traffic. My first lap was about 25 minutes slower than the second. This year I was on a mission, and getting bottlenecked wasn't part of the plan. It takes a few races to get a feel for how you'll respond, and with each race confidence improves, allowing more aggressive pacing. However, for the first one, the position of the run is absolutely meaningless. You could walk it and it just wouldn't matter, especially on a course that doesn't bottleneck. For example, last year at Steamboat I was pretty much dead last on the run. Didn't expend any effort at all, yet it certainly didn't affect the results. In fact, there are some potential pitfalls of an aggresive run. First of all, it will put you with the front-runners, which may motivate you ride harder than you should. The second point - if you aren't accustomed to running, you can do muscle damage in the first 60 seconds of the race that will haunt you the rest of the race.
Most solo riders take the run nice and easy. The exception would be the contenders. Even then, the race is not won in the first 400 yards ;)
Next up: pacing, then training.