January 26, 2009

12 Hours of Temecula - Take Two

Saturday was my second time joining the growing crowd at the 12 Hours of Temecula. I love this race! Last time was my first solo race experience and a pleasant surprise to walk away with a win. I learned a lot about how much teamwork it takes to make a solo successful and understand how much prep and recovery are required for such an effort. This time around I was teaming up with Wes Barton for a two person team attempt that would prove just as fun and demanding.

Keeping with my “focus” for the year I am going into some races with some lag in the body. I am still building my swim and run volume and have some bigger goals for the bike later in the year. I had just about 15 hours of training and racing in the week preceding the race including the Rio Bravo last weekend. All part of the "plan"

My goal for this race was just not to let down Wes with slow laps on one side and try my hand at the fastest lap on the other side of the spectrum. That set the high and low expectations for the race. Here we go!

We decided to switch up our strategy and go 2 laps in a row each to make sure we wouldn't go out too fast and that we would have a good warm up and break between our hard efforts. When we felt the timing was right we would switch to a single lap and go back and forth. These deep strategy ideas were exchanged just minutes before we started and changed a few times but it made us feel “ready” for the task at hand. Wes started us of (thank you!) and got to join in on the parade lap and the madness of the first lap crowds.

Wes making it look easy

Wes has quite a bit of experience on the bike. Not only did he just complete the BC Bike Race this year but has about 6 Ironman and 20 half Ironman races behind him. Needless to say he made a quick two laps and I was up.

Time to ease into it…

My first lap was way too fast. I saw Mike on the first climb and we started talking about how perfect the dirt was after the rain and how amazing the course was this time around. I was stoked and pushed on. I got caught up in the “race” and must admit I went out faster than I wanted to start out. A 40 minute lap and I was on to Lap 2 and I slowed a bit but felt much better. 42 minutes. I was warmed up and now Wes and I were already switching to every other lap.

About half way through my third lap I was chasing a quad to the ridge when I saw a girl in pink DOWN. I knew it had to be one of our girls and unfortunately it was. Melissa had went over the bars and flipped on her back. Agghh… I was talking to her and the guys helping her out but was urged to keep moving...

Melissa in good spirits -before and after the crash

She ended up getting an ambulance ride out of there but she is OK! …More on her status in the next few days but she didn’t break anything and she is in good spirits…just scraped and bruised. I pushed on and pulled in another 40 minute lap.

Wes and I started cranking through the laps at this point and my fourth lap was just amazing... Maybe it was the timing for the music in my IPod or the timing between being warmed up, not yet feeling the fatigue and flowing through the course like it was the back of my hand by now but I was “in the zone”. I remember railing a few turns and screaming “I love riding my bike”. Good times!

I also enjoyed the time between laps this time around. Solo is a strange experience and the 12 hours really goes by fast. . . It was nice to be able to chat with so may friends between laps and catch up. Pushing the 1x9 gearing was not as bad as I thought and when the fatigue started setting in later in the night Bernice was hooking me up with a high voltage massage. Thank you! That was the ticket!

Monique was taking things to new levels...again. How is my little girl getting so fast? On her second lap she pumped out a 55 minute lap and then followed it up with 57 minute lap. She is going to be ready for Vision Quest this year no doubt.

With about two or three hours left in the race we started doing the math and realized that Wes could get in one more lap to finish us off. Not only did he start the race two laps before me but he would end it an hour after me. Cant say how stoked I am to have Wes on my team and it was an awesome experience even if I only saw him for 10 seconds between laps ;-)

We held second place for the 2 person open category the entire race and got passed on the last lap by about a minute from a team out of Utah. These guys made up 6 minutes on the last two laps! We dropped to third and were still about 4 laps ahead of the next team.

Mike won the expert solo 40+ category again and we were all amazed at how the competition is really getting cranked up at these races. Awesome. The Downhill Darlings continued on while Melissa was in the hospital with Tiffany, Monique and Bernice still pulling the team to a 3rd place finish for the girls 4 person team.

The Downhill Darlings - Monique, Melissa, Bernice, Tiffany

Results are not yet posted but here is what I had for my watch

Pushing the 1x9 and riding a fully rigid for about 10 hours on those trails is going to need some rest but I am actually feeling pretty snappy today. It was just like a long day of intervals... No crashes, no major mechanical, no flats. I did come out of my pedals a few times and once was on a rocky decent on the ridge line. It was almost fatal...for my kids. I was standing when my front foot came out and I landed on my top tube and rode down the rest of the out bouncing on it. Thankfully I was bouncing on my inner leg... My cleats are well worn out so its time for a change. I also busted my bottom bracket bearing and almost lost a crank arm on one lap. I should have put locktight after switching my cranks the night before! Stoked someone let me use an allen wrench to tighten it up. Anyways...sorry for the long post. It was a long day but another good one!

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