Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Pat's Peak 24 Race Report

I really enjoy bike commuting after a hard race the weekend before - passing hundreds of cars sitting in endless lines at stoplight after stoplight. It's just such a different type of riding after doing something as intense as racing... It happens everday, but this morning some guy was trying to bolt through traffic and I was going by at same time - and I could hear him over the wind in my ears screaming at me in frustration that he couldn't get out into traffic due to me - and my bike. He was kind enough to wave at me with one finger thrust in the air. What's funny is that there were no cars behind me - so he simply had to wait an extra 2-3 seconds for me to go by - and for that he got so riled-up. People in this town are just wound-up too damn tight. Which makes me think of my boy Nathan moving to Seattle. Right-on!

And talking about Nathan, it was a pleasure to race with him one last time as teammates at the Pat's Peak 24. We have a nice head-to-head in the upcoming Jay MTB (i.e., i'll see him at the start, then watch as his postierior gets smaller and smaller as he climbs up Jay Peak), but more about that in a later post. Back to PP24: the course was a short one, about 5miles long with 700' of climbing. Temps and humidity brought the heat index close to 100, but the short course made staying cool and hydrated easier. Early in the race, Nathan and Jason's legs built a small lead over the only other team capable of putting-up a fight - a 5-person NAV team - which is Nathan and Harry's sponsor team. Nice. I was pacing my laps at around 32mins with a goal to finish the race with the exact same splits that i began the race with. Jason Achlich was busting his splits on a geared bike as he left the fully rigid single-speed at home for this one (that dude likes to bring the pain!), while Harry Precourt held his own and rode smart, consistent laps from start to finish. For a guy fresh out of High School, he's one strong, mentally tough dude.

Then the mechanicals hit. I broke a chain, Harry flatted and Jason's fork separated. We lost the lead, but quickly made some time back-up with a 28min lap from Nathan - and then ground them down with consistent laps all night long. At 8p, i thought they'd grind us down since they had 5 and we 4 people, but they couldn't stay consistent enough - and that's the toughest part of a 24 - team or solo - staying consistent from start to finish. In the morning, we switched the rotation of riders back to our night-time rotation of 1-2-1-2-3-4-3-4 so that jason and nathan didn't have to warm-up/cool-down over and over, leaving Harry and i to finish-up the race from 10:15 till noon. I decided that instead of riding 1 lap, cooling down, then riding another, i'd just get them out of the way and do a double lap - in the now un-relenting heat. I managed to roll-in at 65mins for 2 laps and that consistency made me a lot happier than the total shit we received for winning the race. Worse than the set of tires shitty. So bad shitty that i can't even bring myself to type it. Come-on people!

BUT, that none of those things were the highlight of the race. Watching Andy destroy the 12 hour category was awesome. That brother had a great game plan of slow and steady riding, fuel intake and minimal rest. Brad started way fast, then settled into a rhythm in his 12hour effort - also impressive - but had to settle for 2nd to his close friend. The last climb found Brad walking without any shoes as he had ridden w/o socks and gotten some fierce blisters. Andy comes into the pits and we ask if he's seen Brad. Andy replies, "yeah, he's in the singletrack squishing mud between his blistered toes." Just wacky, but that's Brad, the strongest, wackiest rider i've met. If we could just reign him in... Impressive showing for both those dudes - and i look forward to riding with them and another real solid human, Darren Morneau, at the GG24 in 4 weeks. Team "Ride it Like You Stole It" returns! Hopefully the 6 3/4" of rain we endured 2 years ago doesn't return as well.


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