I would like to say the week before 24 hour of Old Pueblo started like any other week….but I can’t. The Tuesday before the race several pictures surfaced on Facebook depicting a snow covered course. Yes, the race is in Arizona and the pictures weren’t just a “dusting”, there was a good inch or two covering the ground. Huh? My iPhone Weather app showed a sun and 60 degrees all week. Being the positive guy that I am, I could only imagine that this is the PERFECT situation–the snow would melt and provide a record setting course for all involved! As it turns out, I was right with Mike Melley breaking the course record in the Men’s Singlespeed Solo category with 18 blistering laps (~288 miles).
I prepped my gear and headed to the store to get some last minute endurance fuels- Paydays, Hot Tamales, Skittles, and Coke among other items to supplement my Gu and Gu Brew Recovery drinks. When stepped out of my car at the store I noticed that I happened to park next to a storm grate. I thought to myself that it would suck to fumble my key down that thing and I was sure some fool had done it at some point. When I finished shopping and returned to my car, I chuckled to myself as I again thought how much it would suck to drop my key down the iron guarded hole……..whoa…whaaa….F! Seriously!
As I looked down in astonishment, I could only laugh and look around to see if anyone saw what just happened. Needless to say, the city wants these things to stay put. It weighted like 50lbs and hadn’t been moved in years and it took some doing but I finally got it moved and jumped down into the cigarette butt, vomit smelling, dirty hole to get my key, and of course I had to take a picture.
So I feel like I shot the same gear picture last year. Funny how there’s a formula to racing 12 and 24 hour races…the right gear, the right nutrition, trust the training.
The team Single Minded- originally Yuri Hauswald, Keith Machando, Nat Ross and myself (2010) started as us all racing singlespeeds in the geared category at this race (6th out of 138 teams). This year we didn’t get it together with Nat (won 2 person co-ed with Rebecca Rush) but we did pick up Kaolin Cummens- local SS rockstar! ( 2nd SSAZ by 1:30) and crushing the local MBAA race series. The Nor Cal crew arrived in Phoenix and met me at the Cruise America location to pick up the RV where Jodi, my wife had dropped me and my gear several hours earlier. We loaded the RV and arrived at the venue effortlessly 3 hours later. That night Yuri and I slept in our bags in the back of the pick up truck under the Gu Ez up. It definatly got cold near dawn. In fact, when we woke up we noticed the truck had ice condensed on the hood.
When race time came, I was up for the challenge of the mass start. I had strategically placed my bike far past the other bikes as it is easier to run through bikes as opposed to pushing/ riding my bike through other bikes struggling to get going. Boom! We were off. The run was WAY longer then 1/4 mile, more like 1/2 mile and the scene at the bikes had DRAMATICALLY changed! As I was caught up in running hard I didn’t realize I had ran past my bike! What I thought was the end of the bikes, was actually dozens of spectators and as many additional bikes surrounding mine. Yuri shouted at me in excitement and then turned to shouts of panic as he saw me run by the bike. ”travis….TRavis…..TRAVis…..TRAVISSS!” TRAVISSSSSS!!!!!!!A quick adjustment back to the bike and I was off. I turned a 1:01 lap and we settled into 2nd place against a team that turned their first 2 laps in blistering place….whoa, who were these guys. Sufficed to say, the Red Bull wore off and they eventually faded to 6th place.
We held the lead the whole race from lap 3 on. First leading by 2 minutes, then 9 minutes, then 19 then 42, then 50 minutes. The way to win 12 and 24 hour races whether it’s a solo, duo or quad is steady racing, no mechanicals, eat to recover and no risky moves. There were several times when we all came on slower traffic on the course and need to keep a level head and not unnecessarily pass in high-risk areas. These are the times where you feel the pressure of racing but really don’t need a crash or flat tire set back.
Kaolin and Yuri pulled out their fastest laps on the last 2 of the race, securing our 1st place finish with 22 laps. We were 16 minutes off the record. Hindsight is always 20/20. That’s only 30 seconds per lap, shoot, we could have made that up…..or could we have? We had the 6th FASTEST time against several hundred teams and we had 1 gear. WERD.
PS. A friend of mine at the starting line put this sign on my back. I rode 2 laps not knowing it was there. This is what singlespeeding is all about.