Note: Counting down to the National 24-hour Challenge. Iím been participating for 12 years now, with various bike problems along the way. This year, my friend and pit crew, Lily went down on her bike and did a "Lance Armstrong." I saw her last week and felt so bad for her.
I hope she has a speedy recovery and gets back to normal! Jules is going to help crew for me. Thanks Jules!
The event begins at 8:00 am on Saturday. One of the traditions of the event is having a bagpipe band at the start! Participants leave on loop of 126.7 rolling to hilly miles, scenic route through Barry County which has three Checkpoints. After the riders depart, the crews leave on an alternate route to meet their riders at the various Checkpoints. Then, the only sounds at Thornapple- Kellogg High School are from the Amateur Radio Communications Group, using a computer global positioning program and base radio to keep contact with the lead car.
After returning in the afternoon, the bicyclists cycle a 23.7 mile rolling loop that goes through the Gun Lake Recreation area. From evening to 8:00 am Sunday morning, they will ride an 7.5 mile fairly flat night loop beginning and ending at Thornapple-Kellogg High School.
1996 Number #159
439 miles - 2nd place in age group - 6th place over all.
This was my first year at this Michigan event. I did do one other 24hr ride before which was at the RBC picnic back in 1995 (see pictures below).
I was happy to ride 315miles on my first event at RBC with my first and second road bikes that I owned at that time. Little did I know that I would own 22 bikes 13 years later. The following year I picked up a used Merlin bike and a new set of Zip 440 wheels for that year at the Michigan Challenge. I can't remember how the weather was, but I do remember the afternoon loop wasn't that much fun with all the rough roads. The event race site changed location two more time to where it's now. I enjoyed riding this night loop better than the future ones that came.
The most exciting part of the event was at the last hour when I was looking forward to getting off my bike. Grace, my pit crew, for that year was keeping track of my time and knew how many night loops I could get done before 8:00am. Looking at her ride log, I see the second last loop I did in 19mins and I remembered I wasn't thinking of doing anymore after that one. But upon coming in, Grace had everyone rallying me to continue for one more loop. I was the only one remaining out here and I had only 18min to complete it. I remember riding to the finish and she had about 50 people going nuts cheering me on. Hearing the crowd and not really knowing if I was going to make it in time, I rode as hard as I could and made it with only seconds left on the clock!!! After that excitement, I was hooked on 24hr racing!
Photographer at a wedding
1998 Number #108
441 miles - 1st place in age group - 1st place over all with Dennis.
I think this was my best year out of the 11 years. I was feeling great the whole race, other than my feet felt like they were on fire being it was the hottest day ever for the challenge. Dennis wasn't feeling too good this year. We were working together and he told me to go ahead because he wasn't doing well. As a friend, I decided ride with him the rest of the race. I asked Dennis what happens if there is a tie, he said the overall miles were going to be higher than what we would be coming in with. But I told him the heat was so severe that I felt the expected high miles wasn't going to happen. I said if by chance we came in as the overall males, I would give him the silver bowl and I would take the gold medal. There was never a tie before, and we didn't know until they call the age group above ours, and then we realized we won! We both each received a silver bowl and gold medal. Click here for the D & C Outdoor write-up.
1999 Number #2
385.1 miles - 4th place in age group - 12th place over all.
This year the ride moved from Byron Center, MI to Kent City, MI, for one year only,
then moved to Middieville from 2000 to present.
At the start I felt pretty good. But on the first loop my leg was cramping
around the 100 mile mark. I had a hard time turning out my normal power, so I had
to slow down and make my stops in the pit to get my legs rubbed. I took Motrin for my painful knee. All I could do was keep riding and hope for the best. Take a look
at the photo of how Dennis and I look after a long grueling 24hr event!
2000 Number #115
413.5 miles - 3rd place in age group - 7th place over all.
Year 2000 opened the new location at Middleville. The hardest thing for me in this event, this year and to the present, is to have the same person crew each year without changing personnel every couple years. It's a lot of work training and getting everything set up before the race for me and the crew. This year I didn't have anyone to help me until a month before the event. Dennis' wife, Sheri, told me about Mary and Diane that help one of the riders the year before and was free to help me out. They did a nice job and we had fun together.
Crew: Mary and Diane
2001 Number #189
425.7 miles - 2nd place in age group - 4th place over all.
Year 2001 and I had to go though and explain everything to Sheryl my new crew for the next two years. Everything was good up to the afternoon, until I got a flat because I had a broken spoke half way on the Second 25 mile loop. I fixed the flat and the tire was so out of round, that the 2nd flat happened not too far down the road. I was out of tubes! I was waiting for help, when a cyclist stop and asked me what happened and I told him. He asked me what type of wheel I had and it was the same as his. He then kindly gave me his rear wheel to get back to the pit. I saw his number on his helmet and it's was number one! He was the over all winner from last year but wasn't doing too good. When I got back to the pit, I put on my backup wheel and the rear brake back on then headed back out and tried to make up for lost time. I did make up a lot of time and was only 10mins behind Dennis and doing very well when I blew out my knee around 12 midnight and had to slow down. But 2nd place isn't that bad for all that happen to me.
2002 Number #335
399.2 miles - 2nd place in age group - 8th place over all.
The years 2001, 2002 and 2003, I had only one bike to race with! (my Merlin)
The two bikes and all pit gear wouldn't fit in my new 4x4.
I can't find the pit log for this year, but I do remember some of the events what happened. As you can see from the photo at the start, ďIt was very cold!Ē When you start a day on the cool side, the afternoon weather is very nice to ride, which is normally the hottest part of the event!
However, that evening, it was the coldest night ever! So frigid, riders were dropping out, getting sick, and most of the pit crew people were having a hard time keeping warm. Late that night, Sheryl moved my 4x4 up close to the pit area and had it running to keep her and two other ladies warm. All the riders' miles were down that year!
2003 Number #346
428.0 miles - 4th place in age group - 7th place over all. Pit Crew - Mike
Can't remember much from this year. From the crew log sheet, its looks like I didn't eat that much for the 24hrs. Not sure why. Looks like I was with the main group coming in and did get five afternoon loops in. Most likely some of loops must of been done alone. At 10:48pm they stopped the race. I was feeling sleepy around 3:00am and had stomach pain. At 3:43, I took some Tums and must of been pretty tired to the end. My pit crew was right, I didn't eat that much -- it was all water, coke, V8 Splash, two bars and a couple of oranges. Not something I normally do!
I couldn't find a pit crew for 2004. I knew without one, it would prove difficult to get good miles by myself. Instead, I took a trip to Canada on my touring bike with a trailer on the fast ferry, then rode to Wonderland. I couldn't find a campground, so I camped in an open field. The next morning was Father's Day. I rode to Niagara-on-the-Lake for my second night, then rode home the next morning.
2005 Number #296
401.5 miles - 6th place in age group - 10th place over all.
This was my eighth year at the Challenge. With a very slow Spring at work, my training was the best ever! So I dropped more money into this race than the previous years.
The weather was great. I started with my Merlin 1st and was planning to change to my
new Trek E-11 at the 2nd loop (23.7 miles) and the 3rd loop (7.5miles)
Now the fun starts: 14miles into the 1st loop (126.7miles) on the 2nd hill, my left crank arm came off the bottom bracket! As fast a possible, I tried to put it back on and get back into the group. But, it came off again! I tried two more times, it wouldn't say on! Now, I'm standing there thinking Jeff is at the 1st pit with my 2nd bike, 30miles away. I had to get to the 1st pit! Remounting the crank arm, I had to ride 30miles with just my right leg ONLY! (So if you see my right leg is bigger than my left you know why!). I was 45min behind the main group at the 1st pit. Now I was full speed ahead trying my best to get back into this race. I had to do the whole 1st loop by myself. I passed everyone one, but the main group.
Half way on the 2nd loop the main group of 5 riders came along. I was 23miles down at that point -- they all didn't have to ride the 1st loop alone like I did. That's life in 24hr racing! So I jumped in with the group and we all worked together on the pull for 4 loops for me 5 for them. Three of the five riders weren't riding as hard as the other two. Get this -- I didn't know until the end of the race, that the three riders were all in my age group! It's too bad I had so much trouble with 1st loop; I could have stayed with the main two guys all night!
One of the best parts of the race was around 5:00am. My legs were killing me! I was at around 350miles and Jeff said I should stop because I wasn't looking too good. I just asked him for some pills and said: I never stopped like this before and wasn't going to now! I got back on and looked at my time, figuring I could get in maybe five more loops from the times logged in before. I rode as hard as my legs could put out. The sun started to come up and I was riding a little faster. Around 6:45, I helped this one rider and told him to jump on my wheel. He stayed with me. Coming in, Jeff said two more loops. I said no, one more. But I did know two more loops would be 401miles. I waited for the rider to come out of the gate and he jump on my wheel again. The rider said he was going to do only one more, but said you go for two. Then he came up and gave me all he could and was spent. I then went off going as fast as possible! I came into the gates and asked how much time left. They said 23 min. I took one more drink from my bottle and was off in a TT manner. I was the last rider out! I gave it all I could and made it back with 1min to spare!
Jeff commented next year we can do this and that! So, I'll be back!
2006 Number #255
362.8 miles - 6th place in age group - 15th place over all.
On the first loop about 80miles in with the main group, I got a flat and rode alone again. It was the 2nd hottest day on record and many people were not doing too well. I had bad luck on the 1st loop again, but did my best on the afternoon loop. When the sun went down, almost everyone wasn't doing too good! I had maybe one other year like this, and I was having fun and riding like animal on the night loop. I knew my miles were out of the medal round at that point. Dennis was doing pretty good during the day part but that night he wasn't. So I pulled him around most of the night, then Mark Frank and one other guy jump on the train. Sadly Dennis only needed one more loop to get over 400miles, but he didn't want to go anymore. I told him we can go slower because we had over 30mins before 8:00am end. I said If you go one more loop, I think you'll be in the medal round. He thanked me for helping all night long and told me he owes me one. I was right, one more night loop and he would have tied for 3rd place in his age group.
It was bitter sweet, I had problems once again, but was able to ride strong all night long and help out some riders which was a good feeling. It's my hope in the future to have a whole day of strong riding without any problems.
2007 Number #7
418.9 miles- 3rd place in age group - 6th place over all.
Now I am training my fourth crew person in four years, which is a lot of work for me.
I had to get everything ready for Lily and myself.
Yes, once again I had problems in the first loop. This time my seat post kept sliding down,
I didn't stop because most likely I would be alone. It's very important to stay with the main group. I wasn't too far from the 2nd check point, and I knew everyone would slow down to eat . This would have been a great time to fix it, but I did not have an 8mm wrench with me. I forgot to give my pit crew the tool they have had in the past! The main group of riders roded in the distant. I asked Lily to get out the other bike at the next check point which was over 35miles away. I had to ride my bike with the seat super low! I was out of the saddle as much as possible and lost a great deal of time again.
I only had time for four afternoon loops and rode the night loop without any problem. I was happy to make the medal round for my crew Lily, who worked very hard for her first year. I'm looking forward having her back next year, when she'll know what to expect and I won't need to train a new person again.
2008 Number #3
353.2 miles - 6th place in age group - 18th place over all.
This year I rode all my bikes and tested them to make sure they were ready to go. They were. Everything was going to plan and I wanted to get over 445 miles this year. I rode though the 1st loop without any problem!
When I stopped in the pit to start the afternoon loops, I asked for Sustained Energy. I was in a rush to head out and was actually thinking of Perpetuem!!! I didn't bring Sustained Energy with me and poor Lily was looking baffled. The bikes were going by, I didn't have time and took whatever she had on the table. I think it was a coke and Gatorade. I had wanted to stay on my Hammer drinks as long as possible. As time went on after my 5th afternoon loop, it hit me. I had gastro-intestinal problems and was having a hard time riding. This has never happened to me before. I tried everything but nothing was working. I had the miles needed up to the night loop for the 450 miles, but my night loop died! So now, I need two more years to get my 5000 mile jacket. It will be in 2010, if I go the next two years!
It's the night before I leave for my 24hr event. My car is 90% packed with two bikes and most of my gear. I can't believe everything fits! The weather isn't looking that good for the drive down and most of Friday. Saturday morning there is a 40% of rain. Saturday night is looking pretty good with 10%. I'll be starting the race with my number 3 bike ďLitespeed." When the skies look clear and the roads aren't wet anymore. I'll pull out my number 1 bike ďBIG REDĒ and see what we can do at that point. I'm hope the better weather moves in fast! Time for bed!
2009 Number #4
388.9 miles - 3rd place in age group - 9th place over all. Crew: Jules
This year commenced my 12th year at this event. To my chagrin I had, what has become my typical, upís and downís waiting for me! It started with Wednesday night the truck engine light came on -- Iím leaving Rochester Thursday morning and didnít have any time to have it checked at this point. I'll just have to drive it nice and easy.
The drive out started wet and gray. I was happy to fit both bikes inside the vehicle with all the camping gear. After loading Jules' stuff and three sets of wheels in the truck., there wasnít an inch of space left! We made great time to Motel 6, and it was nice to leave almost everything inside the truck, instead of bringing it into the motel.
Luckily the weather was nice Friday morning while we set up our pit/crew area. Our initial plan was to sleep in the tent, but between the warning of severe storms coming in that night and not much room inside the tent, rather than having to get up if it was raining outside and rearranging everything, we decided to move our sleeping bags, bikes and gear inside the gym for the night. Now it was time to go over the first loop with Jules and try to set the car GPS for him. He asked if he could drive to the first check point before going to dinner and food shopping. We started to drive out, but with the truck not running right and fear that Jules might get lost, I decided it would be better to find someone he could ride with. After shopping and storing the food, I ran across a rider I knew from two years ago who came with his family and set up next to us. After talking to them for a bit, I told them about my truck and asked them if they had any room for Jules for the first loop -- they said sure. I stressed to them to firstly take care of Mark and just make sure Jules got back to the main pit area.
Now it was time to eat, and then try to get as much rest as possible. It looked like everyone was settled for the night, but around 9:30 people were pouring in from outside. The school gym and hallways filled with people on the floors. I spoked to Kathy, who runs the event, and she told me the police informed her that a very bad storm with winds as high as 60mph with rain and lightning was coming and would last most of the night. They got on the loud speaker and told everyone who was sleeping outside they must come inside! Moving everything inside earlier was a great idea. The storm did pass, however, walking outside around 5:30am, most of the tents were down! There were only a couple still up, and yes we were one of the lucky ones that was still standing! Now, it was time to focus on getting ready..
At 6:45am just about everything was ready to go. I just had to set up Jules to go. There was a 20% chance of rain. At this point, I was undecided if BIG RED was going out for the start. With all my training, I had to ride my best bike and hope for the best! After the opening ceremony, my 12th 24hr bike event started.
I canít ever remember such a fast start! Many of the riders were dropped not far into the first miles. Fortunately, the rain was holding out for the day, but the roads were filled with washouts, trees, sand and rocks! One big rock ricocheted out from a bike to my right, hit my bike and struck me right on my shin. I was in some pain, but wasnít sure where it hit my bike!
Our group of 15 riders was riding pretty hard, however, going up the hills proved to be easy for me this year. I was moving smoothly and wasnít working as hard as other riders. I was feeling great! At the 3rd check point, I didnít see Jules and knew they were waiting for Mark at the last check point. I was low on drinks and thought I should be okay to the main pit area, but knew Jules wasnít going to be there and I would have to get off the bike and get my own drinks. After leaving the last check point, it was down to five riders and we were moving pretty fast. After flying in, I jump off the bike, opened the tent and before I knew it, most of the riders were gone! So, I was on my own -- I mixed a Heed and water and was gone. I rode one loop and Jules was back. I discontinued drinking the Hammer drinks and tried to drink water before going onto another type of drink. In hindsight, I probably should have waited longer. Around 3:30pm, to my disbelief, the same thing hit me as last year. I had the GI problem again! But this time, I was riding with upper belly pain and was slower than normal. After four afternoon loops and getting ready for the evening night loops, I attempted to seek some relief by lying down in the tent with a cold wet towel.
After a brief rest, I had to keep moving and do the best I could do. It was time for a change of shirt and put on the softer Terry saddle on BIG RED for the first night loop and head out. I was about a mile out when the seatpost bolt broke and the saddle was sliding down. I had to turn around and head back to try to fix it. I asked Jules to see if the bike shop by the school could fix it. Then I went back out with my backup bike. When I came back, no one could help out. In other words, BIG RED was done.
After not much food and just water, I was hoping the GI problem would pass. Then, I tried to eat something light without sugar. I did rest from time to time in hopes the problem would pass, but no luck! I saw a pitcrew person walking by with a bake potatoe, so I asked Jules if he could get me one. I went back out for a loop. On return, I ate the potatoe. After a 10 hour ordeal, I was starting to feel better. The pain dissipating. After a couple more laps, I asked for something more to eat and tried a Coke. After that I was back to 100%. I looked at the clock and saw I had 5hrs left and knew I needed to go full bore all the way to the finish! Made one last stop to get my aero helmet and never stopped again! Everything was pickup and go!!! We both were fired up. I had my sights on that 400 miles mark. I wasnít sure how many miles I needed, but didnít care. I just kept on riding as fast as possible. I was riding alone most of the time, but did team up with one other rider to get in six more laps. I was so focus on the moment at hand that I did not even see the sunrise. I was in super hammer mode! At the end adding up the miles, I was short of the 400 miles, but I was happy that Jules could see what I could normally do on the night loop. I ended with 388.9 miles. I pulled in to talk to Larry, one of the best riders there, who dropped out after the first loop. He didnít like the way he rode the first loop and didnít ride anymore. He told me he may not come back anymore, but that was today; and most likely, he may change his mind next year. I did tell him I was going to ride this event one more year for my 5000 mile jacket and may not come back for sometime. I just need a break.
I handed in my number, took a shower and went in for the ceremony. Kathy came up to me and gave me a hug and told me she knew about what happened and that I did well. That was nice to hear that from her. Itís very family-like after 12years. It was fun talking to some of my riding friends I knew from many years. I was surprised when they called my age group -- I won 3rd place! Kathy put the medal around my neck and was smiling. I told her, I canít wait for you to put my jacket on me next time. We both smiled and hugged each other.
I love this event, even with all the upís and downís. Cuz thatís how life is! If and when I go back, Iíll be riding with a whole lot less gear. Go for a nice fun ride. Maybe the GI problem will not happen and I will still hit that 400 plus mark without trying that hard.
I only need about 160miles for that jacket. Maybe that year Iíll ride it a little different.... Now it's time to clean and wax BIG RED!
2010 Number #3
392.4 miles - 3rd place in age group
Over the years at 24 hr Michigan, Iíve tried many things to be a better cyclist in this great event.
I have had some very good years where I did well. And, there were many years where I just had plain bad luck! When my luck was down and it didn't look promising, I tried to aid cyclists from Rochester in anyway I could.
This year was my special year for the "5000-mile jacket." It only required 160 miles more -- but that was a lot considering my recent health problems and conditioning. I didn't know how I would fare or should I even attempt it. I had to make many changes -- to be safe was my primary concern! I didnít have my crew person on the first loop, because I wasnít planning to stay with the main group the entire time. I would attempt to stay with them to the 3rd check point. That check would be the time for refills on my drinks. But that never happen! The main field did reduce to 25 bikes before the first check point. In years past, I would pick up fresh bottles from the awaiting pitcrew, but not this year! I did not hammer to the check point and was last in the slow line to get punched. This was a bad positioning for me -- everyone bolted out before me! The road turned right into a head wind. I tried to get back with the group with another rider but he died out quickly. So, I decided not to kill myself in an all-out effort and turned back to goal number one -- "safety." Eventually I did find two other cyclists to ride with and we talked and worked together to the second check point, where a small group tucked in behind us and we all rode together for the rest of the first loop. We arrived at the main pit 40mins behind the main group which no longer mattered to me.
My next goal was to persevere and do the whole ride without stopping and staying on my Hammer stuff as long as possible. I was doing well until my last afternoon loop around 8:00pm.
I wasn't feeling too good -- I discontinued the Heed and drank only water.
My feet were killing me for riding alone most of the windy afternoon, but I was happy to complete four loops and was hoping for a good night ride. At that point, I took a small break to revived myself and get my feet work on. I was feeling a bit better and knew I had to keep moving and hope for the best. I asked Lily to bring me a baked potato from the school food area, because I knew I needed to start eating or it was going to be a long night without fuel in the pump! After going through the motions of eating the potato and some other light foods, eating became more palatable and my speed improved and I perked up a bit.
My leg was a little sore; the pain pills were helpful. I packed my TT bike this year. I wanted to try the disk wheel for the first time, especially since the night loop was fairly flat this year. At 1:00 am, I asked Lily to bring out the wheel bag since the wind was dying down, and many of the riders were putting theirs on. I was surprised the wheel rode so well and the whirring wheel noise was cool to hear! It proved to be easier on me and my times were faster! My better judgment cautioned me to pace myself because it was going to be a long night and I didnít want to overdo it!
My third goal was to achieve that 350 miles for my PT (physical therapist). He warned me not to show up with the jacket without reaching 350 miles. After attaining 350, I got it in my head to go for 400 miles -- I knew it would be very tight. However, on one of my stops it cost me big time. It was getting cool and I wanted don something warmer. I took off my belt with my number on it and changed my shirt and headed out. I didnít realize it wasnít on until I was about 1/3 on the loop. I turned in reverse direction to retrieve it -- Lily picked it up and was nowhere to be found (she was advised to take it to the 4th check point to catch me coming through). After 5 mins I did find her with it and headed back out again.
I tried wholeheartedly to make the 400 miles. Perhaps I should have tried harder to find a group to work with and not do it all alone most of the night, but it seemed everyone wasn't feeling good in one way or the other. Most of the riders wanted to draft on your wheel and not help out much. When the sun came up at 6:00am, I knew we were almost done and I was still riding pretty good without stopping -- just pick up and go! I didnít know where I was mileage-wise, but knew how long it took for each loop and was trying to get in as many as I could. On my third loop my back wheel wasnít totally flat, but it was very low on air -- I wasnít certain whether it was going to make it back. I knew it would kill my last loop if I had to stop to change it. I came in to the stop and asked to switch to my other bike pronto. As I rushed off, everyone cheered me on for my last loop, but Lily urged me I had time to squeeze in two more loops instead of my stated one more. They called her, a "task master!" In my haste I forgot to put on my GPS and water bottle. I was lost without my time and speed, and I did miss my drinks! When I came in my legs were shot and I barely thought I could make one more, but I had to try!!! All the people rallied together loudly cheering us on! It was incredibly hard, pushing with every ounce I had -- not knowing my speed or timing, whether I could have slowed down, fearing I might blow it if I didn't push everything I had. I did have a few mins to spare at the 8:00 am sharp cutoff. Whew!
I was grateful to get off the bike and was looking forward to my jacket and happy my leg held up to the task. Iím not sure what my plans will be for next year. Right now Iím still trying to get 100% back physically, and go from there. Iím looking forward to enjoying the summer which I missed last year being housebound! A BIG thanks to -- Lily and Bob for all their help and support at this event!
5000 mile Jacket Crew-Lily Jacket turns into a vest
Thanks to the people that helped me!
Dr. Gross Tim - PT at Strong Don PT at Bldg. D
2011 Number #3
388.9 miles - 2rd place in age group
After participating in this event for 13 years, this was the first time I went without a pit crew to assist me. I also lugged less than half the gear I usually took and brought only one bike. Possibly less can be more?Ē
On Wednesday to cut the drive time down, I went to Lockport for the night and headed out from there on Thursday morning at 9:00am. I made great time to the hotel and started preparing my dinner with an eye on the weather. The way it looked, we were going to get wet! I was thinking of how to ride in the event if it was raining. I had fenders but knew many others would not.
The most important thing for me was not to get in a crash so far away from home. I went to bed at 9:00pm. At midnight there was all kinds of walking upstairs that wasn't stopping! I called the front desk to see what could be done. Rest was the second most important thing, so I asked to be moved. After the move, the two nights there were great! I rode the entire 24hrs without feeling tired at all!
Friday morning after eating, I went out to the race site to set up my tent and say hello to Kathy and Pete. After setting up my little pit area and getting my number, I was on my way back to the hotel to rest and stay out of the heat. The weather prediction was still looking the same.
After dinner, I went back out to drop off the rest of my stuff I wouldn't need in the morning and talk to some of the riders. Then it was time to head back to the hotel, cook my rice, take a hot shower, then to bed.
At 4:45am Saturday, I was up feeling great and looking forward to cycling. After all the rainy prediction, we got lucky -- NO RAIN! Sweet! I was out the door at 6:00am. Pulling up to the tent area, I unloaded and got everything ready. At 7:40am did a little warm up spin and hit the bathroom one last time. In anticipation, I lined up and waited for the start to be announced over the speaker system. 325 cyclists pushed off and moved out of the school area onto the open roads where we rode back onto the north side one last time before we headed out for many hours. From past experience, I knew this road wasn't very good with this many bikes. A couple of years ago, I remembered seeing a pump fall off someoneís bike right into a following bike's front wheel. It wasní't a pretty site! Now, right about the same area... in the middle of the road, bikes and riders were going down everywhere!!! I was in the inside line and had to ride up onto the sidewalk, because the whole road was blocked with bodies and bikes. One rider was slowly rolling onto the sidewalk where I was riding -- I cautioned him not to move! I was going to stop to see if anyone needed help, but saw many bikes go by and there was a police car at the corner coming down to help. The whole group slowed down as we were going up the hill to see who was still in the group or not! I was hoping everyone was ok. Some of the involved riders did make it back -- you could tell from the blood on their arms and legs!
My plan was to ride with the group until the 3rd check point, then refill everything and hope to have a group to ride with in the last miles. I managed to fill up and stay with the main group of 12 cyclists to the school. I knew getting back to the main pit that I was going to be riding the hottest part of the day alone. I was feeling pretty good, but my feet were starting to feel very painful after the second afternoon loop. I stopped to change my shoes and that helped for a bit, but the pain wouldn't stop. Since I rode mostly alone from 1:30pm to 8:00am, my feet never got much of a break from the pressure pressing on them. My legs felt strong, however, I did have a bout of GI symptoms kicking up from riding hard in the heat. I finally had to stop for 30mins to eat and drink something. I was then feeling better, other than my feet pain which continued to kill me. I was riding as fast as the pain would allow me. Unfortunately, I just couldn't find many people to ride with. There was a crew that did give me a hand when I was trying to makeup for lost time.
I didn't find any dependable riders to hang with, so I had to just keep moving and hope for the best! Around 5:00am, I took some Tylenols to no avail -- nada! That's too bad, because otherwise, I was feeling good the whole night. I just needed a new set of feet! In the future, I'll need to work on this problem area. There was a wind most of the night, but I could still use my disk wheel just fine. I wasn't sure what I needed for 400 miles, but knew it would be difficult to get it with my down time. Overall, I would definitely say, "Less" is "More"! However, I need to work on NOT hammering most of the event by myself -- I need to do less of that!
Finally...I took second place in my age group with 389miles, missing the gold by 14 miles. I came in 8th place out of 325 riders.