I will join the chorus of attaboys for Ed and Barb. They do this selfless thing each year and have been doing so, as the lawyers say, until the memory of man runneth not to the contrary. We remain hopelessly in their debt.
That having been said, I note another round of suggestions to break up the ride(s) contest(s) into further classes, possibly something along the order of Pro, Semi Pro, Not Quite Pro, No Pro, and Don't Even Think about Pro. If I recall, the most recent contest featured five different highway sign challenges, ranging from one within a state's boundaries to an unlimited class covering the entirety of the U.S. It would appear on first blush that such classifications in and of themselves are pretty much self-selecting. I mean, if someone wants to confine himself to running around in circles in Maryland between Ocean City and Deep Creek Lake on summer weekends, isn't that easier than searching out 87 U.S. highway signs in 48 states? I can make a case that it isn't. With some decent planning and some even more decent riding, it is possible to hit 48 states within a couple of weeks without breathing hard. Seventy-six riders did just that on the Iron Butt Rally last summer in under eleven days. Perhaps it actually is more demanding, mentally if not physically, to plan and execute a series of complex rides solely within the boundaries of Maryland or Virginia than it is to slam oneself across I-10 and up I-95. I don't know.
What I do know is that the only thing that matters in a riding contest is riding. It is irrelevant whether your day consists of selling crack full time down at the corner or cashing Social Security checks to pay for your assisted-living facility. When you're not doing either of those things, only one question remains: are you riding? In 1993 Joe Mandeville cranked out 103,000 miles in six months while working full time as a trial court judge in Los Angeles. The year after that Phil Mann, retired, rode 113,000 miles in six months. Do we see any correlation here between their miles ridden and hours worked at a job? We do not. We merely see the results of two guys who rode their asses off and who didn't care what class you wanted to put them in when the season began.
One of my grandsons has an 8th place swimming ribbon hanging on his wall, this memorial to his skill coming from a pool that has but eight lanes. Clearly his school has moved from results-based contests to effort-based ones. In my view if this were the only argument against further expanding the ride contest classes, it would be sufficient. But more critically you're also asking Ed and Barb basically just to do everything they already do except do it two or three more times. I know we pay them an obscene amount of money --- in this case, $0.00 is reasonably obscene --- but perhaps before asking them to undertake what obviously will be additional effort, we might want to ask them what they think of all this.
I'll be happy, as usual, to follow the contest this year, but for several reasons I won't be able to participate in it. However it turns out, this much we already can be sure of: it will be a giggle.