Well, the 24-hour race was a hoot. I only completed a bit over 108 miles (down from the 120 I had originally hoped for), but I did that on purpose. (I'll explain that, farther down the page.)
Once again, Randy Caley was awesome as my camp manager, head cook and bottle washer. He also took most of the pictures (Carol took the rest).
Colin and me, relaxing a couple of hours before the start of the race. He and Carol had just gotten back from riding a lap on the course.
Oddly, when Mark picked up the 650
, the other day, I told him that he should put a white oval on the tailpiece and paint the number 13 in it. (Cue Twilight Zone
This year, rather than park our bikes at the start/finish and then run from the gate to them, we ran from the the gate to the start/finish with our bikes. Well, some people ran. For me, it was more of a leisurely jog.
Here I am after exiting the timing tent after the first lap. I was feeling pretty good, and really enjoying the ride. That continued throughout the race, actually.
Making the turn to go to the timing tent, at the end of lap number 2. What had been the least fun part of the course, last year (going up the seemingly endless straight stretch along the RR tracks) was one of the highlights, this year, because we came down the slope. There was one stretch on this section where I routinely topped 30 mph, and long stretches that I cruised along at between 20 and 25 mph. If you could avoid the sand pits, it was great. It was a little disconcerting if you hit the sand at that speed, however.
Sunset, during the third lap.
Pike's Peak alpenglow.
Swiping my card at the end of lap 3. To keep up with rider laps, everyone has a magnetic card on a lanyard. When you come through the timing tent, you swipe the card like a credit card.
"Number 13...got it!", they would call out.
"Thank you!" I'd call back, then take off again.
After lap 3, I came in and had a ham 'n cheese sandwich. Twenty minutes later, I was back on the bike, with my helmet light and headlights on, going for the night laps.
I had planned on going for at least another 3 laps, but after the second trip down the fast straight, unable to anticipate the sandy washes very well, I decided to call it a night. My back was a little achy, too, so it seemed like a good time to eat some pasta, drink some Asti and then hit the sack for a few hours.
In bed at midnight, I did brief battle with some leg cramps, then slept through until about 4:20 (Dude!). I stayed in the sack until the alarm went off at 5:20, then Randy and I got up for breakfast.
Randy had forgotten the griddle for his stove, so we skipped the pancakes and had scrambled eggs with pepperjack cheese, bacon and hashbrowns. Talk about great fuel for bike riding...I felt stronger in the morning than I had the night before. In fact, I ended up completing five laps between 7:30 and 11:00, an hour faster than the night before. Of course, two of the laps the night before were in full darkness...
Out of the timing tent after lap 6, feeling strong like bull!
This is as close to "race face" as I get. I leave the perma-scowl to the guys who are out to win. If I have as much fun as I had, this weekend, that counts as a win, to me!
Same place, starting lap 8. I was pulling over to give my arm warmers to Randy, and to tell him I might want a snack after that lap. I was feeling great, and didn't want to let the tank get low. It's really hard to recover from that, in an endurance race.
I had thrown down a 35-minute lap on lap7, Randy told me. I felt great. That was my fastest lap of the race, so far.
End of lap 8. This is the last picture Randy took, before he had to go home. Before he left, Randy made some ham 'n cheese sandwiches and a couple of pb&j, and put them in the cooler so that I wouldn't have to make them, myself, between laps.
I can't say enough about how great it is to have him on my team.
So, the rest of day went something like this: Go out for two laps, come in and eat, take ibuprofen (my right knee was beginning to get sore), apply sunscreen, then go back out.
I hit 100 miles on lap 12, came in and ate, then went back out for a couple of laps. That was my plan, anyway. I ended up completing lap 13 and calling it a day.
As I was approaching the top of the climb, on that lap, a guy came by me on a single-speed. Single-speeders always pass me on climbs, because they have to: They can't gear down and crawl up a climb (even if they wanted to), so they stand up and power up the hills. Therefore, they tend to be the speediest climbers. (Coincidentally, I happen to be one of the slowest climbers.)
As always, when a SS passes me, I called out. "You're awesome!". He kinda shrugged and continued on.
When I reached the top of the final part of the climb, the SS was already way down the other side. I was curious to see what gear he was running, so I decided to chase him down. Usually, I can do that because, while the SS guys are fast uphill out of necessity, they tend to be a little slower on the downs and flats since they can't shift up.
So, I took off, down the twisty part of the trail leading to the long back straight along the RR tracks. I could see my quarry, as he turned onto the slight uphill portion of the straight section, which then turns slightly downhill. He was cooking along at a good clip, at that point.
"No worries", I thought, as I turned onto the straight stretch. "Once I'm in the big ring, I can reel him in."
I was hammering the pedals down the first section of the straight, topping out at over 34 mph. Then, I held a speed consistently faster than 20 mph for the rest of the lap. I never got close enough to the single-speeder to even see the colors of his jersey. He just flat rode away from me, and was long gone by the time I swiped in at the timing tent.
At that point, I realized I had banged out a 33-minute lap (my fastest of the race), on lap 13, riding with race number 13. Even though I was only at 108 point something miles, it seemed like a real good place to call it a day.
So, I rode up to the tent, sat down and opened up a nice cold beer, and relaxed. It was a good end to a good race.