The course at this race is just an absolute blast. It is a little longer than your typical 24 Hour (or 12 Hour) race course at 16 miles, but the miles fly by, and the typical laps tends to be about 1:30 or so. The first five miles are the only ones that seem to drag on. After about 1 mile of fun swoopy contouring singletrack, you get about four miles of climbing at a pitch that doesn't really make you feel like you are climbing, but just makes you hurt, push too hard a gear, and make you wonder why you are going so slow. But from mile 5 to 11 you get a whole lot of flowy, middle ring, generally fast singletrack with just a few short punchy climbs thrown in to keep you honest.
The downhill starts after mile 11, and it is a big ring descent with numerous gigantic waterbars thrown in. The waterbars will send you airborne in a big way if you are not careful, and for the most part, it's the type of front wheel first landing, onto flat, jump that is best to avoid.
At mile marker 15 the climbing returns. For the second year in a row, I'm pretty convinced that the mile marker 15 was misplaced, because it sure feels like a lot more than one mile of climbing from there back to the exchange tent. Again, it's not a steep climb, just a grind that is steep enough to keep you from feeling fast.
I (Lucero) raced on the "Bikeworks Father Son Team" which included myself, my dad Lee, Alex and Elliot Leonard (brothers), and their dad Andy. Despite our insistence that we were there just to goof off leading up to the race, Alex lined up front row at the start of the race....
He then proceeded to pedal away from everybody, and set what would remain the fastest lap of the race, at one hour and two minutes. The award for fastest lap turned out to be a 64oz stainless steel flask, laser etched with the 24 HITEF logo, and filled with some delicious tequila. Definitely one of the coolest prizes I've seen given away at a bike race.
Despite Alex's best attempts at turning our team competitive, I couldn't help but stop at the Bikeworks Bacon Station on each of my three laps during the race. I had decided pre race that since we were the sponsor of the Bacon Station, stopping would be mandatory for myself. It also provided a great excuse on my first lap, when I was trying and failing to keep up with Danny. At the end of the lap when I was several minutes behind him... "well, I stopped for bacon and beer, so, you know...."
Aside from sponsoring the Bacon Station, Bikeworks also donated a Tomac Flint 29 frameset, an awesome bike with a $500 value. Event director extraordinaire Lindsay decided that the frame should be given to the racer with the most impressive act of kindness during the race. Any good deeds could be reported by other racers to the organizers, and at awards there was a "round of applause" vote to decide who should win.
Bikeworks teams were actually nominated for several good deeds, which I am very proud of. A couple instances of lost timing chips/batons being found on the trail and turned back in. Then Charlie came across a gal during the night who was having a terrible time with just a tiny head lamp which wasn't bright enough to ride with. Charlie stopped, traded helmets with the gal, since his helmet had a significantly brighter light attached to it, and finished the lap with her helmet on. I also got recognized for helping a nice gentleman for Amarillo out, at about 1am, with a flat repair. Fortunately I came upon him just feet before the bacon station, so we fixed his flat there, with cold beer and hot bacon and a few of our buddys from the UNM Cycling Team who were running the station to keep us company.
In the end, it was decided that Bikeworks affiliates were ineligible to win the frame, and it was given to Zach Stanford (solo SS winner), who was the most deserving by a long shot anyway. Zach came across a friend middle of the course who had some sort of a complete stomach failure, and was unable to ride his bike. Despite the fact that Zach was currently winning the race, he spent a significant amount of time helping his friend to get back in from his lap, a pretty generous deed considering he was there to win. Fortunately, he still did win, which is awesome, because Zach is a rad dude.
(Alex, Danny, and Zach, being very serious just moments before the start)
I went last for our team, meaning my first lap was at about 5pm, and my second lap started at midnight. Just before my second lap, Papa Lucero came in from his lap, and was doing the mental calculations and figuring out that he was going out again about 4am. Having just drank a 10pm Monster drink, and feeling very generous, I offered to swap 3rd laps with him, so that he could go to bed and basically have a normal night of sleep. Then, in a moment of inspiration, I remembered that it was Fathers day, and I declared that to be my Fathers day present to him. This all sounded great to Dad, and got me off the hook for not getting him an actual Fathers day present.
Unfortunately, my generosity meant that I only had 3 hours between laps, and I was not going to get more than an hour of sleep the entire night. It all worked out though, as our night laps took longer than expected, and I went out for my third lap at about 5am, which gave me the sunrise lap, which is always awesome.
After bouncing around in the top 3 for the first half of the race, our Father Son team lost a spot during the night and ended up finishing 4th. This was perfectly fine for all of us, as we had each put some good miles in, and generally had a blast and, avoided getting hurt, and avoided breaking our bikes (a big accomplishment for Alex).
(Father Son team, post race, exhausted and grinning like maniacs)
I brought my whole family to the race, and my boys spent the entire 3 days of camping trying to find out just how dirty they could possibly get...
(Julian, being filthy and silly. I couldn't keep shoes on him for more than 2 minutes at a time.)
Apparently it's exhausting to play in the dirt and be that filthy, because my boy Oliver couldn't make it halfway through awards before passing out on me...
( I think falling asleep in my arms was Oliver's Fathers Day present to me, I love it when he does that.)
Well, I have more pics to share, but it is going to have to wait until another day. My antique of a laptop is protesting quite a bit about uploading pics right now, and I'm getting tired of re-booting it after it freezes up. So, until next time, thanks for reading!