The day called for picture perfect weather. You know, like the post cards you see from states other than Michigan. With all the rain we have been having it was a miracle the trail was in such good shape. A couple spots of standing water on the back side two track but all of the single track was in great shape. The race course had a new layout from the previous year. The biggest changes were that they found every hill in the park and made us go up every single one of them. The course was around 11.3 miles long with an estimated 1080 feet of total climbing. I thought the course was great even tho it was a little to much climbing for my out of shape legs for this early in the season. But that's my fault.
So onto the race. Due to complications, baseball tournaments and just lack of team members nowadays, we ended up with only 3 riders. Couldn't do 2 man teams, none of us were in good enough shape for a 6 hour solo let alone 12 hour so we asked if we could enter the 4 Man category with only 3 people. Brent, the promoter, had no issue with it as long as well paid the full fee of course. We put Gerry on the roster just in case he was able to show up for a couple laps. Mike and I got there early to set everything up. Brian got there later because he lives further away and is older now so he moves slower in the morning. Actually Brian made it right at the start to see Mike go off with the crowd. When Mike came in it was my turn and then Brian took lap #3. We followed that routine for 9 laps. While Brian was out on lap 9 Mike told me that Brian said he would be done after his lap. That meant Mike and I had to decide who would do the 12th lap since there was a good chance we'd make the time cut. After a few minutes of discussion I was happy to hear that Mike had the legs for the extra lap. So Mike covered lap 10 and we made the tag for me to start lap 11 at 10 hours and 20 mins into the race. That gave me 70 minutes to cover the course and I was averaging every lap just under an hour. I put the hammer down and managed to make it back in just under an hour again. Mike was there waiting and went off into the woods for lap #12. His last lap was much slower than his previous 4 but Brian and I didn't complain because we didn't have the gas to even go out there.
All day we weren't really racing other teams. We just wanted to see if we could make 12 laps in 12 hours. Turns out we were the only 4 person team to make the time cut to start lap 12 so we won our class but also beat all the other 12 hour 4 Man categories as well. Not bad considering we raced a man short. So that's about it. There really was no drama during the whole 12 hours we were out there. Mostly joking around with each other and other teams. Endurance racing in this format is a fun way to spend a day riding and hanging out with other riders and friends. Of course they are more fun when you are in better shape and you win but we managed one of the two so that's a good start to the season.
Brian "The Wrench" McCabe - Not sure the last time he was on a bike. He was out a couple times early this season but his trainer didn't see much use this off season. But he managed himself well and knew his limits. This enabled him to give us 3 solid consistent laps. I think having his girlfriend, Becky, there helped him go a little faster than normal tho. In the end he was happy with his performance and so were we but his retro Signoutfitters.com jersey threw us for a loop but. Luckily no one got any pictures....oh wait some one did:
Aryn "Pivotless" Pongratz - The first lap was learning how to ride a bike all over again but as the laps went on I became more efficient. A new bike and new tires added some drama to my laps but I only had to stop once for about 10 seconds to adjust my seat post. All other adjustments I made between laps. My biggest weakness was climbing the hills and bringing the wrong gear ratio with me. My severe lack of training this off season really showed toward the end of the day. 4 laps total for me, no more, no less. Not sure I was ready for the 36t up front (still sporting the 1x9 setup) with all that climbing but instead of switching rings down to a 34t in-between laps I stuck it out and never walked a hill. However, that doesn't mean I was enjoying the hills:.
Mike "5 Laps" Keysaer - What's a race for Mike without going down or over the bars at least once. He actually faired really well and only went down once, washing out in a high speed corner on the two track gravel. All crashing aside Mike rode with more efficiency and speed than Brain and I on Saturday and carried the team on his shoulders. He was consistently turning faster laps than me and in the end he was the one who went out for the extra lap to make sure the team brought home the win. All his training has shown through as this being the first time Mike stood atop the team hierarchy and I am sure it won't be the last.
Great job Mike! Way to step up to the plate for the team and do a 5th lap. Wish some one had taken a picture of you.
(I wanted to post our team picture here but I have to get it from Becky first. I will post it soon. So we'll use this for now)
Next stop is the Tree Farm Relay on July 24th and then 8 Hour of Bloomer on July 31st. Hopefully I will be able to use this gap between races to do some more riding so I am better prepared come July. Gotta spend some time in the basement looking for my legs.
If anyone does any road, tri, foot racing send me a summary of the events of your day so I can copy and paste in onto here. Would really like to make this site more active like it used to be.
May the sky be blue and the ground be dry.....it's time to ride!