Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I think we're fully recovered from the 508. I'm not on the bike much but I've been running and hiking. Yesterday I ran with a weighted backpack and felt good. Bonnie has caught up with the class she is taking and this week we finally are totally cleaned up from all of the 'stuff' around the bike room that we used for the race. Bonnie got inspired and really did a 'service master' type cleaning. It just goes to show you that even though the race is done the work isn't. Have I mentioned I have the best pit boss?

So far the first couple of weeks of the off season have been good, and it couldn't happen at a better time. We are busy with school and the first show of the season, as well as Bonnie needing to put the finishing touches on that class I mentioned earlier. Right now I'm enjoying cross training, and spending some much needed down time with the family, and friends. Thursday I'm slotted to go for a hike good friend who is visiting from Alaska. It is really good to see her, it's been too long since she was by for a visit. Though I haven't been riding much that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about the next challenge. Eric, the crew member who did all of the slow driving for the 508, has this loop he'd like to try. It goes from Big Bear to Palm Springs, to Idyllwild to Banning, and back up to Big Bear. It's about 240 miles and lots of climbing. We're going to try it some time before the snow flies.

Ride on!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We finally took on the 508 this past weekend. Brad and I have been talking about this one for years. Usually when we were walking some techie part of a 24 hour mt. bike race. Here's how it went down.

We picked up Grandma from Ontario Wednesday night. She came to town to take care of Finn while we were out pushing limits. Thursday we picked up my sister Shannon in Palm Springs. It was good to have her back on the crew again, she been doing this for years with us. Friday we packed up the rental van. Our good friend Eric round out the crew. He's raced 24s, but this was his first time crewing with us. He swung by and we headed out to Santa Clarita. Once we got there we got together with Brad and his crew and set up the support vehicles and bikes for the race. This meant putting on signage and lights.
Saturday morning Brad and I rode over to the start. Our crews met up there, wished us luck, which we needed, and took off for the first place we could use support. This is what it looked like 24 miles into the race.

Our first 100 miles went off with out a hitch. Our crews were leap frogging with us. Brad and I were feeling good. Then it happened...about 115 miles into it Brad had a mechanical. While climbing a long grade somehow his rear derailleur got caught up in his rear wheel sheering the hanger and part of the derailleur itself. Thoughts of his race being over flooded our minds. I took off and let my crew know what had happened. They then alerted Brads crew. After Brad's bad luck with the mechanical, it was all good. The race director happened to not be far behind and he was able to get in touch with a team that had and extra bike that Brad could use. My crew was able to run into some locals that knew of a bike shop that was relatively near by. That shop had the one derailleur Brad needed. Sean, our good friend and expert mechanic got Brad's bike up and running and before long Brad was back on his bike. All together Brad lost about 2 hours. It was good to see the spirit of the cycling community in action. It was also impressive to see Brad pull out of a bad situation. It would have been really easy for him to fall into a funck, but he didn't. He is one of the strongest racers I know. The rest of the race when off without a hitch. I didn't get to see Brad again until the finish line Sunday evening. Bonnie Shannon and Eric were spot on. Every time I needed something they were there. Always positive, supportive, and encouraging. This is a tough race. They needed to drive behind me at speeds between 5 and 40, a lot of it below 10. I don't know about you but a few hours in a car is usually enough for me. They spent 31.5 hours in a car. I know at times they would have rather been on the bike then in the car. I'm truly blessed to have these people in my life.
There were a lot of views like this.
We had great weather the first day. Nice temps, and good cloud cover.
Bonnie and Eric sending me on my way down to Death Valley.
We caught the climb up Towns Pass just as the sun was setting, it was beautiful. This is were the crew started following right behind me. They would do this the rest of the race.

After Towns Pass it was dark and we were headed to Badwater. Strangely enough we hit our high temps of the race though this stretch, mid 90's. The night went well. I had a little stomach stuff going on but nothing serious. I had no idea but we were in the hunt for the podium as of sun up. After the Baker time station there is a long 21 mile climb. This come after we've put in 385 miles. It hurt but the sky was incredible, so it kind of took my mind off of it.

The rest of the race was a grind. A lot of climbing, and wind. It took us 8.5 hours to cover the last 120+miles. I got a treat just before Amboy. Gary showed up to cheer us on. It was good to see another friend out there. He too was positive and energetic, I picked up on some of that energy. After climbing out of Amboy I got another treat. Danial and Margret were there to cheer us on as well. It was great, just what we needed. We rolled over the finish line in about 31.5 hours. Both Bonnie and Brad thought we could do it in around 32 or so. I thought they were nuts, I was hoping for 36ish. Once again I need to trust my wife, when will I learn.

I was spent. My Knee was really bothering me. I think it set in during the climb out of Baker. I'm still limping around on it today.
We had a great race. These guys are the best. Notice Shannon is already sleeping. I think Eric is too but I can't tell with the glasses. Bonnie is the only one that looks alert. She got to do the rest of the driving that day.
Brad didn't have the race he was hoping for, but that just makes you want to come back and do it next year. We both learned a lot and accomplished our first and main goal of finishing.
We ended our weekend at our friends house in Joshua tree. They have a couple of dome homes that they rent out. It was the prefect place to recover. If you ever need a place to stay in J tree just do a search for 'Joshua tree dome home' you won't be disappointed.
Ride on!