old pueblo write up
This past weekend was a first for me, a 24 hour duo. Here’s the low-down on how it all went down.
Race: 24 Hours of Old Pueblo. Quite arguably one of the biggest 24 hour events of the year, it pulls in a ton of riders mostly looking to get in some miles in great weather. This field this year pulled in the names like Harlan Price, Fuzzy John, DJ, Sully from IF, Yuri from Marin, Jeff Kerkove – just to name a few.
Course: Super tight and rolling, no big climbs like back home. Single track was fast, but miss a turn or get cut off by another rider and you’ll go straight into a cactus. And don’t even think about running a tube, you’ll get a flat in a heartbeat. A tad under 16 miles, fast laps will be around an hour, night laps will see another 10 minutes or so added on.
Location: Tucson, Arizona.
Weather: Clear and windy with the temps in the high 60’s to the low 40’s.
Duo Partner: Fellow backed Pivot rider Brian Bennett who is a very fast local that pulled off a solo 12 hour win a few weeks prior and also supplied the pit setup supplies and 3 friends to help crew for us. Brian would start the race off for us.
February 8th, 4pm
I am officially freaking out as my 2pm flight to Tucson is now cancelled for tomorrow due to the crazy snow that was hitting the Cleveland area. By 6pm, I have my flight rescheduled to leave at 6am.
February 9th, 11am
I am in Tucson, with bike and all my gear. Thanks goes out to Billy A from BikeFlights.com for getting my shipped out for me – there would have been no way I could of got my bike out there. All things considered, shipping the bike saves so much time and hassle at the airport. With baggage fees the way they are now, it’s not worth the risk of either getting hit with a massive fee to ship or the chance they will damage it.
My “misfortune” works out great as I get to the venue, get the bike together and sneak in a 3 hour ride before nightfall.
February 10th and 11th
Two 4 hour rides on the race course. Practice makes perfect.
Meet up with Brian, setup camp and get in about an hour and half before turning in.
February 13th, noon – the start
Brian starts the run and it is total mass chaos. Dust and riders everywhere, most are walking due to the congestion of riders. Brian rolls a 1:04 lap, I back that up with a 1:05.
We continue to roll out the fast laps and are trailing the Waltworks team – they are just minutes ahead. I crank out another 1:05 on my second lap and pass up their rider to go into the lead.
Lap 6, 5:27pm
In the lead and feeling awesome, I am pushing hard on the pedals and am flying around the course. It’s tight and congested and it is pretty clear that some riders are in way over their heads. When I came upon a rider about half way through the lap and asked to get by, I never thought he would attempt to come back onto the line that he just gave up. Instead of braking to allow me through, he tried to speed up and cut me off – we then locked bars and both went flying into a cactus, with me going head first.
Now covered in about 200 cactus needles and not noticing my bent up front wheel, I roll on. Still don’t know how I managed to not swear or take a punch at the rider in all that fiasco. In hindsight, I was probably taking too many risks and the other rider just panicked. I had a friend who once told me that if you don’t crash at least once in a race, you probably were not going fast enough – guess I just had it.
Med staff help me pull the needles out, and I got changed up and ready for my next lap – all the while, Josh from Pivot trued up my front wheel best he could to get me through to the finish.
Lap 9, 10:17pm
Still rolling it good, but feeling stiff, Brian flats but still comes in with a decent time. By this time we are roughly about 10 minutes up on Waltworks – little did we know, but they had some misfortunes at some point and lap times slowed for them and it looked like they took some time off during the night. Our lead grew.
Lap 14, 4:32am
My last night lap. I love the sight of the sun coming over the horizon during a 24 hour race as it seems to give you a little surge of energy to get you through the event. I wrapped up this lap, took off my lights and had my favorite morning food – eggs. Yummy.
Lap 19, 9:41am
Brian rolls out on his last lap, and we now have a lap and a half up on 2nd. Brian rolls out a super fast lap and sends me on my way.
Lap 20, 10:53am – last lap
Heading out on the last lap, I went hard where I could and didn’t take any major risks. Pulled off a fast lap and was greeted by Brian holding a cold Fat Tire brew.
Overall great event that was well worth the trip. Traffic on the course was a little heavy, but in the end it was something that everybody had to deal with and I think it also provided a little bit of a mental and physical break every once in awhile.
Racing duo was awesome too – one would think it would be easier, but in a way it was more difficult as you could go a lot harder as you had time to rest and fuel up.
And special thanks goes out to Brian, his pit crew buddies and the gang out at Pivot. Once again shows that it takes more than just pedaling to get across the finish line.