Tuesday, February 19, 2008

OP '08

Sufferfest 2008 is in the books. I know it is only February but the combination of weather, lack of fitness, and just doing a 24hr race will be hard to beat for the rest of the year.

Thursday. I head to Chicago with Amy to drop me off at the airport. My 4 pm flight was delayed. We board the flight and a mechanical sends us all off to wait some more. By now I will have missed my connecting flight in Dallas. I get with customer service and they get me on a different flight and I get into Tucson late.

Friday. I wake up to rain. Chris and I try to wait it out but weatherman says it is going to be a while. We head to the race site and if you don’t have 4 wheel drive, good luck getting in or out.

It is muck everywhere. We set up camp in a break and when it starts to rain again we sit huddled up in our tent trying to stay warm.

The rain turns to sleet and then snow.

We have no shelter until another teammate shows with a tarp that is rigged behind his truck.

We have a limited supply of firewood and burn the box it came in. It was cold.

Saturday. I wake to cold and snow left on the ground.

I wipe the snow that has accumulated on my bike and seat.

It will be time to ride soon. With a high of 58, I put on all the cold weather cloth I brought which I will wear for every lap. Lap 1 goes off. Legs don’t feel terrible. Lap time didn’t completely suck. I didn’t cramp or have a mechanical so I figure round one a success. Lap 2 is somewhere around 10:30pm, it is dark and cold. I actually get too warm and remove my stocking cap from under my helmet and take off my 2nd layer of gloves. Night laps are interesting. I couldn’t describe it but if you have ridden one you know. You feel like you are flying but being cautious at the same time. Lap ends positive as I dread the final climb less than taking my cloth off in the cold at camp. Lap 3, 3am. Oooooohhhh this sucks. I didn’t think it could get any colder. Famous last words. When I tried to get something out of the car it was covered in a solid sheet of ice. If water freezes at 32 degrees it was a lot colder than that. My thoughts were it didn’t get colder so I left without the extra gloves or a hat. I was wrong and really cold. Every part of my body was freezing. When I got back and took off my helmet I brushed ice from my hair. The thing was is there was no way to get warm. You just had to sufer through it. Lap 4 and the sun just came out. I can actually get away with a sweatshirt. Last lap is the victory lap. Reinvigorated with the sunshine, I enjoy the last lap like I had anticipated they all would be like before I left. Race over.

We did pretty well. 35th out of 140ish teams. That isn’t bad for a bunch of out of shape, snowed in, racing in February guys with 2 24hr rookies, up against guys with tan shaved legs. Everyone took their turn, rode the best they could, took care of their own business, and kept a positive attitude which wasn’t easy considering the weather. That is the best way to do a race and having great teammates like that makes it all worth it.

So my first race of '08 is in the books, and what a race it was.

Side note- My moment to remember from the race, I got a “on your left” request to pass, I moved and girl (Kona team rider) went by. Before she stood and rode away from me on her singlespeed, she turned and blew a huge snot rocket and then took off. I was speechless.


andyH. said...

nice work. welcome back to the frozen tundra!

Josh B said...

It didnt seem like I ever left.