First event is done and out of the way for the year. The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is a good way to spread the racing wings and to test your fitness. The course, which is located about 20 miles north of Tucson, is fast! The roughly 15 mile loop has about 900 feet of climbing and offers a few challenges in the form of some rocky descents and of course, dodging the many sharp cactus along the entire loop. Rule #1 of Old Pueblo: Stay out of the cactus. You follow this rule, and you will have a fantastic weekend. Ryan Trebon of Kona found out the hard way on lap 1 when he over shot a corner and landed in some cholla. The medical guys on course had to cut his jersey off him so he could finish out the lap.
Just like last year, Ergon signed up to race the 5 Person Co-ed race. But for this year, we were a man down. Not a huge deal really, as we were just there to get some bike time in and ride hard. If we won...great. If not....it was not a super huge deal. I came into this race with some intensity in the legs. Yuki seemed about the same as me in terms of fitness. Wiens hadn't been on a bike in months, and Sonya was fighting a sinus cold that had her run down and weak.
Our race went very well considering all the other factors. Sonya did 3 laps early in the race then decided to rest and recover. So that left Yuki, Wiens, and myself to fend off all the other teams from about 10 PM until the race ended the next day at Noon. Laps times were consistent and you could set a watch to the times. The evening got a little cool...close to 36F degrees. The early AM hours tended to be effected by the head wind that developed. The wind wasn't that bad....but late in the race with fatigued bodies made it pretty hard to keep the big-ring ticking over. On my last lap, I saw a lot of folks pushing their bikes into the wind..on the flat trail.
On my first lap I wore the helmet cam and shot about a 50 minutes until my SD Card got filled up. So, I edited the lap into about 10 minutes to give you an idea of the course. There are some hiccups in the sound editing...but, oh well. Riding this course, you have a few things on your mind: Go as hard as you can. Stay out of the cactus. Get around the slower riders as fast and as safe as you can.
Most tricky spot on the course? Well, it happened to fall at the end of the laps. You have a choice: Go around the rocks....or down the rocks. Here are some folks who went down the rocks as the sun set on Saturday...
Our team ended up with 21 laps for the race....and the victory. I felt good for 95% of the race. The last 2 laps were tough as fatigue was creeping in from big-ringing all the earlier laps. Laps time for me were a little slower than last year....but I don't think it was lack of fitness. It was rather just the time spent waiting to pass slower riders safely.
Check out even more on Team Topeak-Ergon at the Old Pueblo at the Ergon blog.