namdoogttam
In a nutshell: What's the consensus on whether a racer can (or ethically should) 'stash' a full water bottle along the course before a "self-supported" race? Driving to and from my weekend lodging accommodations would require me to drive past a convenient place to drop (and later pick-up) a water bottle.

Background...
I'm definitely a middle/back-of-the-pack rider with a snowball in hell's chance at placing in the top 10, so there's no prize money at stake here. It's a 100-mile race. The rules state that it should be ridden "self-supported", stating that outside support is forbidden, but inside support (racer-to-racer) is allowed. There is not one single commercial food/drink establishment along the route: no gas stations, no convenience stores, nothing. There is one race-sanctioned food & water checkpoint somewhere around mile 65. 

Admission of motive...
Basically, I just don't want to be weighed-down by 65-mile's worth of water for most of the race because it's heavy. 

So, would most riders on this forum view 'stashing' of a water bottle at mile 45 as a breach of the "self-supported" ethos in a race like this? 
[uphill both ways]
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mongoosepower
Sorry, but I think (hope) everyone would say this is not ethical. The whole point is to keep all riders on a level playing field. 
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GuitarTed
Check with the event promoter first. It is incumbent upon that person(s) to set the rules of engagement. If it is allowed, then that is their definition of "self-support". If it is not, then you have a problem to figure out if you want to do that particular event. Or you can choose not to do that event and find another. (Nearly one every weekend somewhere now days)

If the situation is that you are just doing a course on your own, then don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Do what brings you satisfaction. If, however, it is an organized event, please play by the event rules. Pretty simple.
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Zurichman
Yeah I would agree with what others have said. If it is an organized ride you must play by the rules. I have never used a camelbak but you could use that. Three bottles of water should get you to 65 miles. You say you aren't a top 10 rider so why does it matter how much weight you are carrying. It would get you ready for other rides/races.

Zman
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Koyote
Exactly what Zman wrote above: If you are "back of the pack" anyway, just carry more water. Maybe a Camelbak. 

Unless the race promoter tells you that the stashed bottle is permitted.
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cyclery88
Here's a hypothetical for you: you are racing along in 40th place and a person you kind of know is behind you. Then all of a sudden they aren't, but they didn't pass you on the designated course. After the race, you see that they placed 38th. You ask them how they did that and they say, "Oh, I just cut a half a mile of the course. I mean, it's only .5% of a difference, so it's no biggie, right?" 
If that doesn't sit well with you, then you have your answer.
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Cmtgravel
I dunno. I disagree with cyclery88. I mean we're talking about completely different things, water bottle drop vs taking a shortcut. I say : 1. Check the rules. If they specifically say no water drop, then there u go. 2. If it doesnt specify, and u plant the water yourself, then its self supported. 3. You do run the risk of someone else getting to that water before you.  I totally understand, as a consistent back of pack rider, wanting to do an event like this and not wanting to drag an extra 5 pounds of water along. If it makes the difference between you finishing or not, fine. If you gain any other reward from finishing( prize money,podium spot,bragging rights,etc) then maybe not.
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Zurichman
He stated he was a middle/to back of the pack rider so just carry the water. I am not there yet but if the weight is the difference just work harder on losing the extra weight on the engine/body that is the same weight as the water. Just sayin

Zman  
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Slim
I would say:
it’s up to the event organizer.
However, if I was the organizer I would say no. 
You have the opportunity to do so easily, but others might not. I wouldn’t  want to create a situation where people are forced to do strange logistics and put in extra time beforehand. Keep it simple is the most fun for everyone. Plus, figuring out how to carry supplies is part of the fun of gravel riding.
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Marinerecon
namdoogttam wrote:
In a nutshell: What's the consensus on whether a racer can (or ethically should) 'stash' a full water bottle along the course before a "self-supported" race? Driving to and from my weekend lodging accommodations would require me to drive past a convenient place to drop (and later pick-up) a water bottle.

Background...
I'm definitely a middle/back-of-the-pack rider with a snowball in hell's chance at placing in the top 10, so there's no prize money at stake here. It's a 100-mile race. The rules state that it should be ridden "self-supported", stating that outside support is forbidden, but inside support (racer-to-racer) is allowed. There is not one single commercial food/drink establishment along the route: no gas stations, no convenience stores, nothing. There is one race-sanctioned food & water checkpoint somewhere around mile 65. 

Admission of motive...
Basically, I just don't want to be weighed-down by 65-mile's worth of water for most of the race because it's heavy. 

So, would most riders on this forum view 'stashing' of a water bottle at mile 45 as a breach of the "self-supported" ethos in a race like this? 


I’d say I’m in the same “situation” as you but unless you are going to stache enough water for everyone to utilize best figure out another option.
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Shaun McNally
Personally, I would not have any problem with it. If I rode past you picking your water bottle up from behind a bush, I'd think "that was a good idea" But it seems the consensus is to check the rules. That said, I think race organizers need to do a better job with aid station locations especially on longer routes. If you are not making a route that at least goes past a gas station or store, then your only aid station should be right around the halfway mark. One day 3 bottles can get me over 80 miles, the next day with hotter temps and a big head wind, 3 bottles might not get me 50 miles. I don't think "self supported" races and events should be a test of how much liquid you can carry. 
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namdoogttam

Thanks for all of your varied, informative, and sometimes weird and offensive answers. 

Just to be clear: the reason I was asking in the first place was out of a desire to 'play by the rules'. Since the  race organizer included no detail beyond "self-supported" and "no outside support", it was my assumption that there was some kind of general consensus in the gravel-racing community regarding what specifics these terms entailed. It's now apparent to me that there is no such consensus and that clarification needs to be sought from the race organizer (which I have now done: his ruling was 'no - not allowed'). 

No thanks and no appreciation to those whose answers implicitly or explicitly accused me of trying to gain an unfair advantage in the competition, or who assumed that I was looking to garner support for knowingly cheating. I took those comments personally. Also, the answers that suggested I simply carry more water were not offensive to me, but they were completely useless: I realize that it's possible to carry more water....it's always possible to carry more water. 

Thank you to those others who gave respectful, useful advice, or shared your experiences. 

I didn't want to add so much background detail to my original post, but now: I did this same race once before (several years ago, it was the race's inaugural event, and also my first-ever 100 race). Not only are there zero potable water sources along the route, but when I arrived at the one-and-only water/feed station around mile 65, they had just run out of water (there is no spigot there, they have to shuttle coolers of water up  to the checkpoint by vehicle).  Some 'racers' had to wait an extra 20 minutes to refill water. In the end, I wasn't upset about the logistics problems: it was an otherwise very well planned race, in a beautiful area - extremely remote, with good company and good will shared between all, and for a good cause. Plus it was their inaugural event, so I would expect some kinks to work out. Nonetheless, I have some hydration anxieties now. The reason I didn't share all of this background in my original post is because I realize that it has no bearing on whether or not stashing water along a course is common/accepted/kosher under races with 'self-supported' rules. 

[uphill both ways]
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cyclery88
Heyo, sorry if I came across as accusatory.  I just wanted to provide a voice of black and white ethics.  I know stashing a water bottle is nowhere near as bad as cutting a course, but if ethics are your concern, anything that might give you a slight advantage against others should not be done. 

How much advantage would not carrying an extra 1-2 waterbottles give you for the first part of the race?  Probably not much, but it could probably be broken down by weight and power output and such.  

I agree with others, it is totally up to the race promoter.  The promoter has probably heard from others that 65 miles into a race for refill is pushing it, but another voice could persuade him/her to pop up another station before that in future events.  

But that's also the give/take of small grassroots racing.  If the cost of this race is super low which is nice for racers, it's hard on promoters to provide a lot of services.

Hope it all works out for you either way and good luck/have fun on your race.  
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DrBagg
Do it, it's self supported, you are supporting yourself, in a manner. Now, I'mma tell you why I said that. 3 years ago I did the landrun 100 for the first time....it's supposed to be self supported (with support crews or drop bags at the 1/2 way point)....and that did happen, but I also saw vehicles along the way, with riders family/friends waiting. But the biggest thing I saw, was late in the night, when light batteries had died....riders were still out on course with vehicles following, lighting the road up for them, and that in itself was the biggest violation of the self supported rule.
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Koyote
DrBagg wrote:
Do it, it's self supported, you are supporting yourself, in a manner. Now, I'mma tell you why I said that. 3 years ago I did the landrun 100 for the first time....it's supposed to be self supported (with support crews or drop bags at the 1/2 way point)....and that did happen, but I also saw vehicles along the way, with riders family/friends waiting. But the biggest thing I saw, was late in the night, when light batteries had died....riders were still out on course with vehicles following, lighting the road up for them, and that in itself was the biggest violation of the self supported rule.


If you need lights to finish a gravel century that almost surely began early in the morning, then you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place.
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Zurichman
Koyote wrote:


If you need lights to finish a gravel century that almost surely began early in the morning, then you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place.


Koyote from what I have read the Landrun is a different animal/kind of a gravel ride. It has peanut butter mud and just chews up drive trains and causes your bike to go into single speed mode in whatever your gear is stuck in. I hate to say it but this ride is why the 1x gearing was invented. People getting hypothermia and then $300 - $600 to get your bike fixed up afterwards. I think this year was the 1st dry year they had in quite some time. I did Missouri this weekend but thinking I will be looking for another ride for my Oklahoma ride.

Zman DSCN1261.jpg I don't think this pic of my Roker from this weekend is anywhere close to what they have at Land's Run at times. The first clue is they give you a mud stick at registration.
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Zurichman
DrBagg wrote:
Do it, it's self supported, you are supporting yourself, in a manner. Now, I'mma tell you why I said that. 3 years ago I did the landrun 100 for the first time....it's supposed to be self supported (with support crews or drop bags at the 1/2 way point)....and that did happen, but I also saw vehicles along the way, with riders family/friends waiting. But the biggest thing I saw, was late in the night, when light batteries had died....riders were still out on course with vehicles following, lighting the road up for them, and that in itself was the biggest violation of the self supported rule.


I believe in helping out encouraging any rider around me. But using cars lights for follow on a self support ride I would be turning their number in for the DQ.

Zman
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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BurkC
Koyote wrote:


If you need lights to finish a gravel century that almost surely began early in the morning, then you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place.


That's kind of harsh. 
I once had an awkward moment, just to see how it felt.
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Zurichman
BurkC wrote:


That's kind of harsh. 


Not really. Most gravel rides of 100 miles probably start around 7-8 AM and since it gets dark now around 7-8 PM that gives you 12-13 hrs. to get in a 100 mile ride. If you can't ride a 100 miles in 12-13 hrs. you probably shouldn't be in a 100 miler. LandsRun is a different kind of ride though when It's muddy as I posted above.

Zman
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Cmtgravel
I totally disagree. If its not a race, but a ride, who's to say how long it should take to finish?  Since moving from hudson valley ny to Vermont, my averaage speed for gravel rides is 8-9mph, down fro 12-13mph for ny gravel rides. Have to take in to account road surface,terrain, ridwr ability, and rider goal. 
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Zurichman
Cmtgravel wrote:
I totally disagree. If its not a race, but a ride, who's to say how long it should take to finish?  Since moving from hudson valley ny to Vermont, my averaage speed for gravel rides is 8-9mph, down fro 12-13mph for ny gravel rides. Have to take in to account road surface,terrain, ridwr ability, and rider goal. 


Even at 8-9 mph you still would be in before dark. 8 mph x 12 hrs. I guess my thinking at my end. Yes most rides are self supporting. But yes from what I thought the ride still  has to account for all the riders. Is it kind of fair to the volunteers who are there all day to wait say 4-5 hrs after the next to last finisher is done to wait for the last finisher. Just throwing that out there and yes I kind of bring up close to the rear right now as I am not in the shape I need to be in yet.

Can't remember if you have ridden the Cabot Ride the Ridges @ Cabot VT. one of the best rides I have ridden on the East Coast.

Zman
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Koyote
Zurichman wrote:


Not really. Most gravel rides of 100 miles probably start around 7-8 AM and since it gets dark now around 7-8 PM that gives you 12-13 hrs. to get in a 100 mile ride. If you can't ride a 100 miles in 12-13 hrs. you probably shouldn't be in a 100 miler. LandsRun is a different kind of ride though when It's muddy as I posted above.

Zman


LR 100 occurs in March, and starts at 8am. Sunset in Kansas is around 7:30pm at that time of year. That allows 11:30.

If you can't finish a gravel century in eleven and a half hours, you probably should not enter such an event. Now, sure, some people will have serious mechanical issues and choose to not call for a rescue ride...But that would be a relatively rare exception.  The poster referred to riders still out on the course "late at night" needing car headlights to show the way. Those riders should train more, and not force race promoters to keep things going to an unreasonably late hour.
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Zurichman
Koyote wrote:


LR 100 occurs in March, and starts at 8am. Sunset in Kansas is around 7:30pm at that time of year. That allows 11:30.

If you can't finish a gravel century in eleven and a half hours, you probably should not enter such an event. Now, sure, some people will have serious mechanical issues and choose to not call for a rescue ride...But that would be a relatively rare exception.  The poster referred to riders still out on the course "late at night" needing car headlights to show the way. Those riders should train more, and not force race promoters to keep things going to an unreasonably late hour.


I couldn't agree more.

Zman
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Bobby Digital
I'm a "back of the pack rider" preparing for a self supported race as well. I will be wearing (and have trained with) a 3L camelbak. 

Carry what you can carry and be done with it. Or add a handlebar or frame bag and store more.

Bottom line: don't stash IMHO

Good luck 👍
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