What a weekend! It started Thursday with getting things all packed up and ended last night when for the first time since Thursday night we slept. We got into Tucson around 6:00 Friday evening, check into our Hotel and then met Brad and Sean for Italian. I enjoyed my traditional spaghetti and meatballs. Brad was out to pit for Sean, a friend of his who was out for his first 24 hour race. Actually brad was out to pit for all of us, me, Mary and Sean. We got a plan together for the next morning and called it a night.
Saturday morning we head out for the race. We got to 24 hour town around 10:00, as planned. Spent the next two hours getting race ready. Brendan had my Song running fast. I decided to start with my hardtail just because I wanted to use it while I was fresh as I knew the Song would be very comfortable as the race when on. Also I had only ever raced O.P. on a hardtail so I figured I should start with what was familiure to me.
The first few hours of the race went quite well. Bonnie and Brad had me in and out of the pits in no time. They rocked it all race long. After a few laps Mary, Sean and I were pretty spread out so they were pitting racers every 20 minutes or so. Not to mention that Finn was there to 'help'. Luckily Mary has a good friend, Steve who came down to take care of all things bikes. Not that my bikes needed much more than lube. It's a 24 hour race, you never know what might pop up. Thanks Steve for being there for whatever we might have needed!
As the sun went down the laps continued to tick off. Deep into the night this was not the case. This is a long tough course when your tired. My last laps were nearly 2 hours long. I think if I could have got a few more long rides in as training I might have been a bit stronger later in the race. I know, I know, shoulda coulda woulda. In the end we broke out 16 laps, one better then last year. This was good enough for fifth place. I got passed late on the final lap to get pushed back to fifth...Rats!
Before the race I wanted to get at least 15 laps, I'd be very happy with 16, and I wanted to hit the podium. After seeing the competition, I wasn't sure podium would be an option. Here is a shot of the top five in the solo male category, not shown is Tinker, who believe it or not took third. Believe it or not we were just one lap down from him and his crew. Way to go team World Bike Relief-Siren!
Here's a shot of me and Finn looking to the next race. O.P. raced hard...Check...what's next?
Mary and Sean had a strong showing as well. Sean was able to put in 9 laps for his first 24. That's nearly 150 miles. Brad and I were reminiscing about our first 24 hour efforts, Sean would have smoked us. Mary rode hard for her first 24 with her new sponsor Intense. Intense was well represented on the women's podium with two of the top 3 spots. Nice work Mary and Terry! Sarah won the top spot. She was riding hard and put in 15 laps. She and I were rode together for a couple of laps. Way to put the hammer down Sarah!
A huge thanks to Bonnie for getting me there, in more ways then just drive to Tucson. This 24 hour racing thing has grown into something neither of us would have expected years ago. This is a lifestyle choice we've had to make together, as a family. I love it and I love you. Thank you! Brad for all the support, and not just at the race venue. Your friendship through the years has been inspirational and what has dragged me around the race course at times, thanks. Brendan for Siren bicycles. I've never raced better then when I've been on a Siren. Your ideas, designs, and bikes get us where we need to be all season long. Usually it's the podium, but sometimes it's just the store. Sorry Lance but part of it is about the bike, otherwise we'd be running out there...humm, is that what's next Finn? Mary for getting things together at the venue and making sure Finn had a place to hang if it got too cold, hot, dusty, windy, wet, unbearable. Also for time throughout season riding, racing, and talking bikes with me. Steve for any help at any time with the bikes. Marissa for taking care of Finn when Mom and Dad were racing. And to everyone who was watching out there online. Some of you called and left messages, some of you emailed, and all of you thought about us out there. Thank you for your thoughts and positive energy. I know it's what got us thought some of those dark times that creep in. And thank you to Shannon. You could be there in person this time but I knew you were with us the whole race in spirit, and if you know anything about the desert that means something.
So as you can see it takes a village to get a solo racer to reach their goals. I couldn't do it without all of you behind me. I'm truly grateful.