There are a lot of details that go into a good team format multi-day MTB performance, but the one that tops the charts is the choice of your partner. With this person, you will scheme, strategize & execute. You will help each other in times of need. You will see each other crack and get through it. You will see the best, and maybe the worst, but for sure you will see the "unfiltered" version. It'll get raw at times (you define "it" ;) If you are lucky, will also enjoy some white moments together...
With all these challenges a team will face together, ya gotta be tight. Not all the teams at TR were tight...of a few teams I had a glimpse into, one was formed at the last minuted due to a partner bailing on the other...and another team consisted of 2 guys with very different goals for the event. Neither team finished together, although one guy from each team rode the entire event and had a great time.
The endurance racing game, from my experience anyway, has been a solitary pursuit. There have been exceptions - a couple of team events at 24 hours of Moab come to mind (and it was those experiences that taught me I'm stronger and more motivated in a team environment than going solo - is that what roadies find attractive about their game?). In the past year, though, this game is taking on a decidedly different tone, one of teamwork and friendship. Last year after the Brianhead 100, Lynda and I both had good races. After looking at our respective split times, she figured we raced similarly and asked me if I'd be into doing TransRockies with her. "What's that?" "It's a multi day race in Canada" "OK, sure. Let's do it." I'm such a pushover!
Of course, I had my reservations, but they didn't last long. We started training together when possible, and had already been sharing training ideas freuently. It quickly became apparent we tended to have our best rides when riding together. So much so in fact, that we now refer to it as "crack". It's pretty much guaranteed that if we are riding together, were riding as though we are on crack. That there is what crack buddies are all about. Somebody who can help you achieve things you probably couldn't on your own. We have a significant impact on each others riding even for solo events, and chances are we've pre-ridden the course together anyway. We've got mojo and synergy. We are lucky and fortunate and I realize that every time we're on crack.
So, if you've got a crack buddy, give a shout out to him/her and say "hey, watcha doing next August?" and start thinking about your next optimal experience.
Here's a shout out to my crack buddy!