Wednesday, January 23, 2013

No Chamois Butter Sponsor Yet for Ben Jacoby and the Strava Base Mile Blast

Last week I wrote about a local guy going for Strava's January Base Mile Blast.challenge. At that point, Ben was averaging a little less than 100 miles a day, and dealing with a stretch of bad weather.   You can see that the weather's slowed Ben's progress.  Former leader, Mike Frazier of Clearwater, Florida, has been struggling with an injury for the past few days, as his daily miles have fallen and he's been struggling.  

As he should, having ridden 2,500 miles in 3 weeks!

New leader "Durianrider VEGAN POWER!"  of Magill, Australia, has steadily risen to the top by increasing his daily mileage, and apparently riding with pros in the region now racing the Tour Down Under.  In January, Durianrider put more time, per week, on the bike, than most of us spend on the job:  he averaged 43 and a half hours on the bike and 676 miles.  

Ben has soldiered on, hitting over 2,000 miles thus far in January, averaging 36 hours a week and 534 miles per week on the bike.  

Today, finally, Ben is flying to Florida to ride in the relative warmth.  With 8 days left in the challenge, we'll see how Ben holds up as he tries to make up the 500-mile deficit he faces.  My guess is that he'll have to average at least 150 miles a day to do so.

Or, as Ben seems more inclined to do, he could just go out and ride, have fun, and see where his legs take him.

Ben was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions last week.  Here they are:

Ben Jacoby at Cycle Life
Q:  Ben, you may not know it, but you are probably the most talked about topic among the local bike racing community.  This Saturday a bunch of us met up for regular morning "goon" ride and someone said something about "a guy riding 200 miles at Hains," and our jaws dropped.  Then I checked out what you've done on Strava, and saw your January:  1,373 miles in 14 days!  That's 100 miles a day!  What's motivating you to go for the Strava Base Mile Blast?

Ben: I spent a lot of time in December "taking it easy" and wanted do something positive with my energy. I saw this awesome guy I really admire "the durianrider" who is a vegan nutritionist and cyclist, join the Base Mile Blast so I wanted to try and keep up with him. If you look at the Strava Base Mile Blast Challenge you'll see his name.

Q:  Tell us about your background--for example, your age, school, job, verticle leap, degree of self actualization--and what, if anything, prepared you physically and mentally for this challenge?

Ben: I dropped out of high school a year ago as a junior for a lot of reasons I don't think it would be good to talk about. I'm taking the GED test this month. Hopefully I pass. I'm 18. I worked as a bicycle mechanic for 6 months at Cycle Life USA after I left school. Right not I'm not working for Cycle Life anymore I'm working part time for my grand father's real estate company. the phrase 'degree of self actualization' is a little hard for me to understand. What prepared me physically or mentally for this challenge. I'm a pretty talented cyclist and I eat pretty well. Mentally I didn't think about it. I just went for it! :D 

Q:  You've done almost all of your miles at Hains.  One ride, one you call Gangnam Style, in particular has to go down as maybe the craziest local ride I've ever heard of:  200 miles of circling Hains, basically solo.  Do you realize how unusual what you're doing is?

Ben: I have not really though of what I did as unusual but I guess your right. I just wanted to get a lot of miles in and Hains is flat. That 200 mile ride was actually called "YOUTH CULTURE FOREVER" Anyway I've always depended on a bicycle to get around and I've never driven. I don't know my way around the DMV very well. I know Bethesda, Georgetown, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring, and DC pretty well and I've been out to Poolesville a lot. I'm learning my way around Arlington. I just don't know my way around that well so I don't feel comfortable biking 50 or 75 miles away from home.

Q:  What about being on a bike brings you joy and fulfillment, and is there something special you get from going these incredibly long hours in the saddle?  Is it a zen thing?

Ben: I love biking because, well, there's a lot of reasons I love biking. It's the best mode of transportation I know of. It helps me stay fit. It's affordable. It gives me a sense of identity and community with other cyclists. I think the act of riding bikes as an alternative to driving has the ability to change the world completely. It's not a zen thing. As inspired as I am by Zen I can't get into it. I just can't sit still.

Q:  My body can't handle being on the bike for super long periods.  What's your equipment setup--in particular, have you signed a chamois butter endorsement deal with anyone?  

Ben: I have two bikes of my own and I occasionally borrow my step-dad's bikes. I ride a Blue AC1 road bike and a brakeless RYD Masher Pro fixed gear. I had to flip my stem and rotate my bars up on the Blue to help my lower back with the long hours in the saddle and find the sweet spot with my seat height as I think I grew a little recently. I actually joked with some one at Hains about getting sponsored by a chamois butter.

Best of luck in Florida, Ben!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Man, he should be sponsored by whatever saddle he's using. That's got to be an amazingly comfortable saddle.

- BC