Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saratoga 12 Hour.

Well, I'm sitting here at a picnic table the Schuyler Yacht Basin trying to recall exactly how the race went yesterday.

I prerode the Saratoga 12 or Hudson River Ramble course on Friday and knew that it was a fast 32.5 mile loop with 4 good hill climbs. Two of the climbs required dropping to the little chain ring after lap 4 and two rollers that you could get half way up with momentum. I also knew that the weather was supposed to be overcast with a high near 80 and light winds. The final piece of knowledge I had was that the record to beat was 251.1 miles. So, if I was going to set a course record, Saratoga was my best bet.

The morning started out rainy, but the rain stopped by 7:00 so we were just dealing with overcast skies for the start of the race at 8:00. Since this was a non-drafting event, I wanted to start off in the front so I wouldn't have to worry about getting caught behind other riders. John Schlitter, who has been resting his postierior, decided that he would come along for the ride. We rode to the base of the first hill climb at mile 2. Since John was on his recumbent, I was able to out climb him to the top of the hill. John, however, was feeling his wheaties and came around me at mile five and I used him to pace me around the course. He got caught by the light at mile 13 and I was able to get around him, but he sprinted to the 1st checkpoint to clock in first.

The next section was very bent friendly and John left me behind until mile 23 when he came riding backwards thinking he missed a turn. He got turned back around and led me back in to finish the first lap. Lap Time 1:28

My crew of Trisha, Rachel and Allen was setup right before the lap counter. I pulled in and was gone again in less than 10 seconds. The crew did an excellent job. I was off the bike for less than 6 minutes for the entire race. 2 of those minutes were at stop 6 when I had to pee and 2 at stop 7 when I got in before they were ready for me.

Lap 2 was alot like lap 3, but I was pretty much pushing John a little hard and passing him more often. I did get the aid of the stop light again to catch him. Lap Time was 1:28.

Lap 3 was another strong lap I caught John by the top of the big climb again and we traded places until mile 8 when John said it was time for me to ride on my own. He was idling it back a little. So I took off and finished the lap on my own. Lap Time was 1:28.

Lap 4 was ridden all by my lonesone and it was starting to get warm so my lap time dropped to 1:35 which was still better than 20 but not the 22 that I was turning on the the first 3 laps.

On Lap 5 was caught by Oyler at mile 12. He told me to shift up and spin more. With the heat and exertion, I had sort of fallen into a funk and was pedalling the sames gears I was using when I was hammering the first 3 laps. It seemed to help for awhile. I finished that lap with a 1:36.

Lap six is when my shot at the record went to hell. The sun came out and the temp got into the upper 80's so it was getting warm. I did a 1:47, which was down in the 18's. I came in and decided I needed to actually get off the bike for a minute. I got off the bike and went into the RV to take a leak, then came back out and got a starbucks coffee instead of a boost. Then I got back on the bike. Total time off the bike: 2 minutes.

Lap seven was much better. I turned another 1:36. The problem with that was that I had told my crew to expect another 1:45 so they weren't ready with everything like they had been all day. So I had another 2 minute break.

I was down to less than an hour to ride and wanted another 20 miles, so I took off pushing as hard as I could go. I caught up with a 12 hour night racer. We passed each other back and forth and chatted a little as we did. I was able to cross checkpoint 19 just before 8:00 so they give you credit to the next point. So I ended up with 7 laps plus 20 miles or 247.5 miles.

After putting myself over 4 miles down at lap 6 I worked my way back, but fell 3 miles short of both the win and the new couse record. It was a great ride with great support.

Now I'm on to my next adventure. Going to ride the Northern Tier Route section from Ticonderoga to Bar Harbor and the Eastern Route from Bar Harbour down to Connecticutt. Should be about 800 miles in 6 riding days with possibly a rest day in Bar Harbor .

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