This past weekend was the 24 Hours of Davis road race...
Friday afternoon I was headed out to do a short ride in the rain and in the elevator of the hotel some guys looked Artemous (all pretty with his Corimas on) and said to me "Sweet ride, how fast does it go." I replied "As fast as his rider"... well, this weekend that wasn't all that fast! But, I did learn alot...
Lesson 1: Remove the odometer when packing the bike in the bike box. I did not do this, and the piece that holds it on snapped and I couldn't get it to stay on the bars. A little super glue fixed that right up, but also locked it up in such a way I could not reset it or change the read-out. So, I could see my current speed but the display showed hours elapsed... including an hour and change from my ride on Friday. Cost me about 10 minutes at one point where I turned early on a wrong road... easily corrected but irritating!
Lesson 2: Its hard to do a race with lots of climbing the first weekend of April, when I haven't had a chance to do any climbing in training. The first 165 miles of the race goes out into some really gorgeous terrain, with lots of climbing. The early ones were long and gradual, so I just stayed light and eased up them. Not as fast as I'd like but in a its a long day, take it as it comes way. Then around mile 60 we hit the climb up tp the ski area. 5ish miles, 2400ish feet. Steep and it made me pay and pay. I was completely baked at the top, and starting to listen to the little devil on my shoulder saying I should stop at 12 hours instead of continuing on to 24. That little guy wouldn't shut up!
Lesson 3: Even when it gets easy, it can be scary! Around mile 80 theres a sweet 3 mile 7% downhill on a highway. I was chillin at 36mph when my front tire blew. Carbon rim on ground sounds BAD! I was able to react well, and slowed down safely. A few minutes to stop shaking from the adrenaline rush, 10+ minutes to change my tire (they are clinchers, but really tight) and I was back on my way.
Lesson 4: Molasses cookies rock! And so do the check point volunteers! 15 miles later was a checkpoint and they had these most delicious molassas cookies. I think I ate 4 of them! Actually, all of the check points were great and staffed by really awesome friendly folks. I also rediscovered a love of PB&J sandwiches. And, Lee Mitchell was tehre and pulled a tube and a new CO2 cartridge from his well stocked van so I had a new spare.
Lesson 5: Make sure the cell phones are charged. Drew planned to go ride during the day and then crew for me at night, which was a great plan (see Lesson 4) until my celll phone died and I guess his did too. A volunteer at CP4 texted him for me that I was moving slower than expected and wouldn't get back before dark so I needed him to bring me some lights. From 6-7pm I watched the cars coming towards me carefully looking for our little rental car but nothing. I was getting really stressed, wondering how long I could keep going, and then finally I saw him coming toward me.
Lesson 6: Just keep going and things will turn around. It seems the hours from 7pm to 1am are my witching hours. The climbing was over, other riders were around, and I got my mojo on. This was the best riding I did all day. Had some Lada Gaga playing in my right ear, and was singing and pushing the pedals and just having a blast. I'm glad I didn't listen to the little devil telling me to stop!
Lesson 7: California is cold in the spring! I wore tights, booties, 2 shirts and a jacket all day and stayed fairly comfortable. About 4am though it got COLD! I came in off an 18.5 mile loop and I was frozen solid. Everything hurt from clenching against the cold. Drew, Patty Jo, and Lee sprung to action and we put Drew's booties over my booties, added a second heavy rain coat, put a buff around my neck, and a shower cap under my helmet (cool trick!) and I was warm the rest of the ride.
Lesson 8: The race will eventually end. Came in at 6:15 off my last full lap and had only 18 minutes to go. Went out to pick up a few more miles... Ended up way short of my goal, 275.9 miles, and I got spanked by my competition, but all in all I got what I needed from this race. I got my butt spanked by the climbs, I learned some new tricks and oopses, and after a few days to recover I'm jazzed to get on with the season. I did get 20 points towards the UltraCup. Next up is Lewis and Clark 24 Hours on May 29th near Portland. It will also have lots of climbing, but I'm going to be working that hard the next 7 weeks and I'll be ready to rock!
Thanks for reading, and keep on riding!