The organizers of Haute Route have 86ed the Team ranking (and teams) from all their events, it seems. For 2019 they’ve now got two different and separate classifications: Solo and Duo.
I haven’t confirmed this, but I’m assuming that Solo remains the same as in the past, i.e. a normal leaderboard with individual rankings based on accumulated time.
Duo – the new kid (or kids…) on the block – is for, you guessed it, a team of two riders. I wrote this off immediately as ‘gimmicky’, but have come around the circle so far that John and I are now signed up for it.
First, the irritating part: If you choose to be a ‘duo’ you won’t be on the individual rankings, which are the ‘most important’. After re-realizing that I’m going to just be farther down the solo leaderboard than I was for the past two events anyway, I’ve suddenly taken a shine to this new category.
The way they rank a ‘duo’ is interesting, and sort of explains why you won’t be on the solo leaderboard: the daily (and overall) time of the slowest rider of the two is taken for the ‘team’, not the combined times. This changes race tactics drastically, as you can imagine. If combined times were the key to your success you would ride as individuals, trying to get the best times you could, leaving the slower rider in your dust if you had to. If you only consider the slowest rider’s time, the faster one will have no incentive to go ahead down the road. In fact it’d be more advantageous to ride together in the mini paceline on the few flats that exist in HR, and not far from each other on the climbs and descents either.
Of course once you add another person into the mix you also now have the added stress of not screwing up too much by bonking, falling or blowing up completely (all too common in this event). You’ll also want to make sure you are in good enough shape to keep up with your partner on the climbs, or at least have a friend who doesn’t mind waiting on frigid cols.
I’ll get John a warm jacket for his birthday…