Tuesday, February 28, 2006


New --- Blog Links and Levels of Pain

A few new links to some bloggers.

He might be 2DRUNK2SHIFT on the Sunday night fixed gear smoke bomb runs, but he's quite sober whenever I see him hangin' loose at the shop. Jimmy "Big Daddy" Miller needs a touch of sobriety when he's out flyin' his newest IF creation at Riverside. (photo credit to Rob)

This IF 29er complements his sweeeeet IF fixey - "ol blacky". Not sure if that's what he calls it, but it seems like a good name. Just like EC's guitar. Check 2DRUNK2SHIFT out for good reading about da' local boy-eeeees, as well as various libation reviews and pics of some of his nice ink. Doesn't JW have to get one of those with his new ride?
Sweet bike.....and he takes it off nice jumps for, like, 3 feet of air. Gives new meaning to the phrase "Earth to Jimmy."

This is one of the best bike photos I've seen in a while, WTG Jimmy.

SO........ 2 people have already, for whatever reason, chosen to sacrifice their Trans-Iowa spots. One was snapped right up by Gary Fisher rider Jesse LaLonde. If you follow ANYthing about SS's you already know who he is. He stomped a bevy of SS luminaries at the SSWC05 on his purple Gary Fisher Rig. I have a fondness for purple RIGs. His blog is linked up under the Trans-Iowa BlogRoll. A BlogRoll is sorta like a JellyRoll, but less fattening.

Jesse's blog CREEPYFRIENDLY has been a regular read for awhile. Good stuff. Jesse rides anything, and rides it fast. He rides with the power of the Diamond Wizard.

Had a nice Tuesday morning ride. My legs are coming back! Yee-Hawwww. Art the Dart was there, power meter and all, after an impressive showing in the mens B at the Snowball Crit.

I'm proud to say that I reached a new level of indoor pain on the trainer on Sunday. Left me yearning for more.

Now go out and get your



Sunday, February 26, 2006


Back in the Saddle

Easy spin Friday

Back with the team getting thrashed by the usual suspects at the Saturday group rides.

Temperature dropped 35 degrees between Saturday night and Sunday AM. Brave soles went out for the "not so" infamous Ft Story hill repeat workout. Even braver ones went out to start the local road season off at the "Freeze Your (__!__) Off Crit" in Chesapeake.

Me, I stayed indoors with Coach C. 30 minute warmup, then the tape, with an extra interval or two thrown in at the end. OUCH.

Whenever I think it's cold out I just check here, here or here. Makes me glad I live in the temperate south!

RideOn or RideIn,

as long as you RIDE!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Just Another Night on the Bike - Chasin' Blinkies


The track had blinkies,
So did we,
Stopped once or twice 'cause I had to take a pee,
Good music in my ears made night riding fun,
Lost 90 minutes on flat number 1,
387 miles was good news to hear,
but I know that I can,
do better next year.

If you'd like all the details, read on....................


One of the cool things about 24+ hour cycling events is that you reach a point that is somewhere else. Sort of removed from reality. Days after it's over your brain struggles to try and process all the info, sifting through facts, imagination, and delerium to put a full memory of the event together. You find yourself thinking "Did that really happen?", "Could that have really happened?" "Why did I do that?" etc etc. The line between perception and actuality gets more and more blurred the longer you ride.

On the Sebring racetrack at night, reality revolves mainly around one thing - blinking red lights. In a group of roadies "blinkies" are about as cool as a fart in church. Many would rather show up at a group ride in downhill pads than with a blinkie flashing off their back. But at Sebring they take on a higher level of existence. They become your badge, your signature, even a reflection of your personality. OK, maybe that last one is a stretch, but you see what I'm sayin'. So I went with the standard bright blinkie at the seat stays, and a larger straight line blinkie mounted vertically off the seat tube. With one more on my helmet I was set to go. I think it was James Kern (517 miles) on his bent that gets the award for most decorated night bike - At the end he was rollin' complete with glowing neon spoke covers.

This year the course was marked with small orange cones at the turn apices. On each cone was - - - you guessed it - - - a blinkie. So we had stationary AND moving blinkies. On the long straights you could see blinkies over 1/2 mile away. You couldn't tell if they were actually moving or not untill much closer.

So anyway I took about 30 minutes in transition setting up just like it was a restart of the same race. Moved the car, filled up both bladders, stocked with fuel enough for an 8-10 hour non-stop ride. Took out 2 of the 3 spare tubes that I was carrying all day, thinking it would be a little bit lighter. There was so many people entered in the 24hr that everyone had to park their vehicles in the grass behind the pit building. Crew could carry coolers, spares, chairs etc. up through the pit facilities and set up right on the track side. It was a bit inconvienient for self-supported folks as we had to ride off the track, through the pits and out to our car when we wanted something. I looked at it as a blessing - I'd be less tempted to stop than if I was setup track side. It sure didn't slow down 2006 solo RAAM entrant Bryce Walsh, who got in 433 miles and did it all self-supported. Great work.

I eased out onto the track and turned on the music. The next 6 hours went by quickly. I was feeling great. Can't really remember ever feeling that good on a bike. No lap counting, just checking the clock to make sure I Gu'ed up and drank when when I was supposed to. Foolishly started doing the numbers game in my head. I reckoned I'd made the transition with 220 miles in. Solo RAAM qualification is 425. Didn't think that'd be a problem. Heck I was feelin' so good I thought 430-440 would be within the realm. Then my right brain told my left brain to just shut up and ride. The mix disc was rockin' my world. A combination of diverse songs that fit together in a strange way and kept me rollin'. Sorry BJ, no LoveShack. Although I think it would've worked. One set I remember that really got it done :

No stops 'cept 1 or 2 nature breaks. Good to see the kidneys still workin'. Somewhere after midnight - THWAP.....THWAP......THWAP. A rear flat. Awww heck. A breif moment of denial, then pull off to assess the situation. First impulse was to ride the rim in. Happened between turn 9 sand 10 , pullled off around turn 11. Couldn't be farther away from the pits, but it was a short course. A kind soul pulled over to help. Got the tubes switched out quick, but struggled with the CO2 adaptor. Seems the seal was dried out. The contents of the first 2 cartridges were released mostly into the night air. Spitting into the thing worked and the entire contents of the last (large) cartridge filled the tube till the tire was solid as a rock. Tightened up the quick release and started to pick up the bike and


The darn thing blew up! The last cartridge was a large 16 gr MTB size and overinflated it. Now no choice but to walk it in. Once to the pits, I switched wheels, then fiddled around in the car to find more CO2's . Put the 2 tubes back in my Camelback. On the way back out to the track I made another mistake. I stopped at the scoring area to see where I stood. A complex spreadsheet showed an array of numbers that was way beyond my comprehension. The scoring guy did his best to explain everything, but I just stared blankly into space. I'd lost the ability for simple math hours ago. He could've just as well been explaining quantum physics. One thing I did render was that they only had me down for 9 short loops, not ten. Hmmmm. I tried to muster up an argument but knew it was futile, the computer couldn't be wrong, and my endorphin muddled brain could be. The air was fizzling out of my high flying balloon. The wind no longer filling my sails. Time to shut up and ride.

Back out on the track and up to speed. A bit over 4 hours to go. Didn't seem to be as many people out riding. I'd pass people and they'd get on my wheel and draft. Now during the day you might not even notice, but at night their light would cast a huge shadow in front of me. The rules clearly state that the no drafting RAAM division meant no drafting - others were not allowed to draft off you either. Having wheel suckers tag along at that point was messin' with my head and my pace. I shouldn't of let it bug me but I did. One guy was even "nice" enough to ask me if he could draft. I told him it was against the rules, but it wouldn't bother me. I lied. 4 laps later I pulled over faking a rest stop just to get him off my wheel. Guess I was just frustrated at the whole flat/scoring thing. Even more mad now that I let it get under my skin. Oh well. live and learn. Talking to others at breakfast that morning I learned that that part of the "no-drafting rule" was loosely enforced. OK then. I finished my last lap at 23:52 and change and asked if I could keep going. Maybe get partial credit for a lap. Nope. Only full laps count, so I was done. Total mileage at 387.1. I can (and will) do better.

In all I'm very pleased. I finally found the fueling regimen that would keep me going for 24+ hours. Looking back I'm mad at myself for letting the little things bug me at the end. I know I could've, and should've ridden the last 2 hours harder. I was pedaling like a whipped dog, with his tail tucked between his legs. Especially after seeing Julie G from team Sorella out of Atlanta really kick it in on her last 3-4 laps. That's the way I should've finished. I needed someone to give me a good kick in the junk and say - "Ride Like You Mean It, You Lazy A$$" . Bringin' it home (-->) after 23 hours.

Thanks for reading,



Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Just Another Day on the Bike

The UMCA's John Marino Competition starts out every year in the US with the Sebring 12/24 race in south central Florida. The Sebring 12/24 offers a good place to start the season, a respite from the cold and a fair weather place to ride. Entering the hotel parking lot I saw many a familiar face. Cyclists and crew were gathering from as far away as California, Missouri, New Hampshire, and yes, even Decorah Iowa. More details on the logistics of the event here.

After packet pick up and a nice dinner I went back to the hotel to prepare. I mixed all my fuel, checked and rechecked my bike, lights, and all the clothes and gear. The alarm clock was set for 4:45 AM and I crawled into bed. Should give me plenty of time to find a good spot to park on pit row. As I drifted off to sleep I'm going through my gameplan and mental check list. WAIT! Where's my timing chip transponder? I know I got it in my race packet. F!!!! Jump out of bed and start going through the car, the luggage, my camelback, my pockets, look under the bed, look under the car seats..............WTF. I shake my head knowing only I can pull a stunt like this. A little after midnight I give up. I'll buy another if I have to. But now I'll to get there earlier to be sure I can get this sorted out in time. Call front desk for a 4AM wake-up call.

Up with 4 hours of sleep, off to the Raceway. I'm one of the first few on pit row and pick what "was" a great spot to park. Close to the scoring, close to the road over to the track. Ideal for someone self-supported. As I walk into reg, the timing lady looks at me with a knowing grin as she reaches into the bin for my chip before I can even ask. NICE. I was so enthralled with our dinner company and conversation I'd left it at the table. Big thanks to whoever turned it in. Wish I could get those 3 hours of missed sleep back.......

The bike is ready. The Camelback Hawg loaded with 2 bladders full and strapped on my back. It's 15 minutes to the start and the crowd is accumulating. As I'm locking up the car I'm informed this would NOT be a good place leave my car parked. YIKES. Pit road is like 1/2 mile long, and looks filled up. Oh well. Take off the Camelback, hop in the car, find a new place to park, just as the pre race meeting (--->) gets going.

The air was heavy with moisture and fog. It was condensing on everything including the camera lens. It made glasses of any kind useless for the first 2 hours. By 8:30 the sun was out and in full force. About that time I realized my legs really hadn't shown up. Not a lot of power, just didn't feel fast. My time at the turnaround was barely 2 minutes faster than last year. Self doubt rears its ugly head. Only two minutes faster? What about the last 12 months of racing and training? What about TI in 2 months?

Nearing the turn-around I see the lead group of 30 "drafters" go by and they were flat out haulin'. They finished the first 100 miles as a group of about 20 in a time of 4:13.

On the return leg of the grand loop I encountered a heron that wanted to play chicken. It just stood there in the middle of the road like it owned it. My best "I pity da' foo'" Mr. T. impression made it run away. What do you think Chuck Norris would have done?

Then I catch up to the antique tractor parade. Yep. The town of Frostproof was having an antique tractor parade on the same road we're using. RD Mark Andrews had warned us about it. "They know you're coming" he said, "Just be careful." The parade was in a rolling Police envelope and everyone was really nice. Well, ALMOST everyone. The tractors went on for as far as the eye could see. Must've been 100 of 'em. They were all vintage and in pristine condition. Now that's definitely something you don't see every day.

Back through the rollers and I was happy to find my legs coming alive. I was UNHAPPY at the cramps I was getting. Dam, only 70 miles out and cramps already? WTF? I know I can pedal around and through most cramps, but this was just the start of the freakin' day. When my right leg cramped, I'd shift power to my left leg, then it would cramp. First a hamstring, then a quad. Over and over again. Yeeeesh. This had the makings of a loooong and unpleasant day. Toward 90 miles it got a bit ridiculous, but at least it was flat. I never thought of quitting, but I do remember repeatedly wondering how much my TI spot would bring at an online auction.

The initial plan was to ride for 8 -10 hours without a stop. With 160 ounces of Powerbar Recovery, 50 ounces of Perpetuum and many a Gu, I had the fuel I needed. I tried to ignore the cramps as I finished the first century and went out on the first short loop. The hilly section of the short loop would be the test. My legs failed it terribly. They just about locked up with cramps. I made it around the loop and stopped at the car for some E-Caps. I've never even used them before. Just had some free samples that've been in the car sinced I picked them up at Phil's Cross race in Richmond. Thank GOD I hadn't thrown them away. My jersey sleeve told the tale. With the temps up in the 80's and the humidity low the sweat was evaporating almost instantly leaving rings of salt everywhere. I slammed probably 4 bottles of water, dumped a few over my head, ate 6 E-Caps and took more water with me .

Cramps were gone by the end of the next 12 mile loop. SWEEET! Started feeling good, really good. Then I realized the sun was really cookin' and I was already getting a nice sunburn . Nope, didn't pack any sunscreen. Thanks to K-Dog for warning me. Next time I'll pay attention.

A few loops later my raging skin made me stop and grovel through the pits begging for sunscreen. Thank you greatly, whoever you were, and I hope your leg is healing from the fall over the railroad tracks. Now with white warpaint on I continued. A few more 12 mile loops and another stop for more E-Caps and H2O. . With (I thought) well over 200 miles in I stopped at about 6PM to move to the track. The heat of the day was over and I was excited for some night riding with jammin' tunes from a new mix disc I'd finished last night. Weird thing - I kept feeling better and better. Could that possibly continue......................?

Part 2 tomorrow


Sunday, February 19, 2006


Long Story Short

Many records fell at the Sebring 12/24 this year. Bacchetta recumbents are wicked fast in the hands of the Killer Bee race team, and very comfortable for the long haul. There was a wide variety of HPV's out there, some looking like they were from another planet. I saw this (--->) fairinged "bent" in middle of the pit road in the pre-dawn darkness. I thought it was the turnaround marker. When it started moving toward me I didn't know whether to stand and fight or run for cover. Incredible performances by many.

Last year 2006 solo RAAM entrant Mitchell Lesack set my age group record. This year I was able to best it by about 17 miles, but I believe someone else topped it by even more. They'll have results up this week sometime. More photos and details later.



this is an audio post - click to play

Saturday, February 18, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, February 17, 2006


NIghty Night

Finishing up final preps before turning in. Had a nice dinner at the Chateau with some very experienced ultra distance cyclists. Felt totally unworthy. There are 3 times as many entered in the 24 hour division (over 70) as last year. That's a bunch of blinkin' red lights to try and chase down at night. Weather looks to be great.

When you tell locals you're here for the race the last thing they think about is bicycles. With this nearby this weekend and this in town in a few weeks their minds are more focused on 4 wheels than 2.

Heard a song a few minutes ago that sums up my present thoughts :

"Tongue tied and twisted,
just an earthbound misfit,
..................................am I."

Haste la Vista

Thursday, February 16, 2006


From the Road

Started getting my stuff together to hit the road for Fla. I had to overcompensate after getting caught ill prepared and clothes-less last year in the cold at night. After packing for a few hours I realized I'd packed most of my closets and much of the bedroom. So I figured what the heck, don't hold back- may as well bring the whole house down

I checked the weather forecast and it looks like a high almost to 80 and an overnight low only in the mid 50's. Yeee Haaaw. Nice to see cold weather not repeat itself year to year. Wouldn't mind if that trend continued here. So with the expected heat I said "Why Not?" May as well bring the swimming pool too

Installation in the pit area is progressing nicely. You can't be too prepared.

On a side note - Stopped at Conte's the day before leaving and they hooked me up with some of Specialized's newest tricked out skinny skins to try :

They have a very tubular look when mounted. Got 'em all jacked up to 120, we'll see how that feels and how they roll.

Seems like their new MTB grips are looking more and more like this.

DON'T try to put on a new DOORAY ACHEY 10 speed chain without the chain tool made specifically for installing the master pin.

The light setup for Sebring. No HID, it's just not needed on a flat course with no cars/obstacles. Two Cateyes - HL-EL500 on the bottom for far away. HL-EL300 on the top aimed for close range. It will be MORE than enough for a closed road course. This gives a descent dispersion pattern.

Looking AT the bike --->

Over and out. Here's the schedule for live at the race on the bike audio posts :

6:30AM Saturday - From the starting line.

6:00-6:30 PM Saturday - During the transition to the night portion.

Throughout the night until Sunday at 6:30 AM- whenever I'm bored (it will be often) and feel the need to offer foggy pearls of delerious cycling wisdom. I won't get a chance to delete anything stupid I say until later on Sunday, so catch 'em while you can.

Thanks to Russ at TheBicyclePage.com for trying to work out a hot link to the audio posts.

Till then



Blog Problems

Been getting reports that opening the blog causes an error message and IE shutdown. Been trying to trouble shoot it be removing posts and checking HTML, but no luck (or no brains?!?). Seems to only happen when opened in a new window. This happened once before then stopped as mysteriously as it started. What can I say 'cept ---DOH.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006


The Weekend Nears

So what are you doing this weekend? Hopefully some saddle time awaits. It will be a busy weekend for many of us as endurance races are taking place all around North America.

Jill will be grinding it out in the cold white north of Alaska at the Sustina 100. 100 miles over snow on a mountain bike in the freezing cold. A little beyond my comprehension. How serious is it? At registration they take a credit card imprint and you agree to pay a $200 "evacuation fee" should you need to be dragged off the course. She's been training well and WILL get through it!

Adam, Heather, Dave and his Trans-Rockies partner Lynda will start their race season off with the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo in New Mexico. Hopefully with less rain than last year.

12 hours of Razorback is a classic early season race that sees proportionately more solo entrees than any other open race I know off. A tough course that will leave everyone who didn't know better realizing that Florida definitely isn't flat. Dave added a solo single speed division this year. "Ride Florida, We Don't Need No Stinkin' Mountains!"

I'm heading down to the 12/24 hours of Sebring to join the largest crowd they've ever had for this event. 138 entries as of last week, with almost 40 in the 24 hour RAAM division. Solo RAAM entrant Lou Lamoreaux will be there along with a northern Virginia contingent that includes the perennial UMCA Year-Rounder Mileage Challenge front runners Chuck Wood and Christa Borras on their tandem. 2 time JMC winner John Jurczynski will be down from New Hampshire starting his season in the 12 hour division.

There should be plenty of good race reports to read next week.

Star triathete Michellie Jones was going to join us on our group ride Saturday. I was bummed I'd be out of town and miss it. Turns out she canceled due to a cold she's been fighting off and rescheduled for April sometime. She needs to get well soon for the Arizona Ironman which is right around the corner.

Very best of luck to all in their endeavors this weekend. Get out there and get your



Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Crazy Crit Story

So da' boys are back in town from the SO pro Florida training camp. The Dogg has some photos up on his blog. They found a Crit up in Sanford to race in. But the real question is :

What in the world is Crazy doing jumping off the curb in this picture of the group sprint for second place in the Cat 3 Crit?

Possible answers -

a.) Someone "rubbed" him off the proper course
b.) He thought it was still cross season. Well it actually is still cross season in Florida. so..
c.) He thought it was a cross RACE.
d.) He was expecting a lead-out from the kid on the sidewalk with training wheels.......
e.) None of the above

The clues are in the photos. Look to the K-Blogg for the answer. It's pretty amazing.

Over and Out


Monday, February 13, 2006


On the Fringe

The nor-easter that's buffeting the New England shoreline skated right by us. We got minor flurries and cold (for us) weather. Oh well. 34 degrees, stiff 18-20 mph NW wind still made for nice ridin' weather. After a spin through SeaSnore (zzzzzzz) State Park I stopped back home to get the camera and check out the beach action.

No one wanted to play volleyball

So I tooled on down the beach burning up digital "film". Looking north at the butt end of the low pressure front that was pumping snow to regions far up the coast. Me in the unibomber riding hood.

But you'd better be careful! The tide was coming in and the beach getting narrow. The sand gets soft and even fat tires dig in. I didn't realize it till later but I guess in my diligence not to drop the camera I was squeezing the exposure button the whole way down.

At least it was a soft landing.

Looking southwest at the Lynnhaven River

from under the Lesner Bridge.



Sunday, February 12, 2006


Other Sports Randomness

OK, I'll admit it, I stayed up till 4 in the morning watching Olympic coverage. Some great stories out there. Prediction : USA vs CAN in womens hockey finals.

Yes real men can eat quiche, wear pink, and watch figure skating - at least once every 4 years. China's Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao came in second in the short program with an incredible skate to the tune of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir.

Hard to believe March Madness is barely a month away. It's incredible watching J.J. and Adam do their thing.

I'm actually hoping for snow (maybe 'cause I'm headed for Fla?). A nor-easter has arrived that has already given us a few flurries. Should be more to come. No I don't want this much, or this much. Just enough to get a taste of and get a few MTB rides in on. More photos of of Rob's Hut Trip here. You already know where Jill's site is.

The so-pro guys are in for a temperature shock when they get off the plane from Florida training camp today.

Out to spin the SS and get my



Saturday, February 11, 2006


Audio Flogger

OK, so I set up the audioblogger thing with thoughts of recording some live on the bike race reports, musings, and/or delerious ramblings during the Sebring 24 hour next weekend. The time around the track gets quite mundane, so it'll give me something to do. Hope I don't say anything TOO stupid.

this is an audio post - click to play
Over and Out


Week in Review

The last week was a week in taper. Rode everyday but Monday, at a low intensity. Everyday was outside too, which was nice. Part of the Sebring race prep was making sure the trusty ol' car would make the 14 hour drive to Florida with no problems, so I dropped it off to get some necessary maintainance done Thursday night and rode my bike home and then some. It was a nice night ride, almost 2 hours. getting back around 10PM.

Friday was bike commuter day. Be-bopped around Va Bch on 2 wheels running all sorts of errands on the bike. That was fun. First to the bank, then down to the City Municipal Center to take care of some stuff I could've done on line. Off to the office to take care of some paper work then back to pick of the car and home. Mad props to all bike commuters out there. Might be some more of that in my future.

Saturdays group rides were an exercise in anonimity. Tried to blend in the pack and wheel suck my way through with minimum effort. Wild Bill and a few others snuck out quick on the second loop, and there I was in lead position trying to resist the urge to chase. Just when we were reeling 'em in the group got red-lighted. Good thing too, there wasn't supposed to be chasing today. Then I was trying to invisably (thats quite impossible as I'm a big guy and had my ASSos in red today) drift toward the back and Art rolls by and tells me I'm going backwards. Which was my intent anyway. BTW - Art was throwin' down the wattage today. He had ol' dayglo up in front and powerin' the train everytime I looked up. Nice work. Coach would've been proud. NO - we won't change the 5 minute rule to 7, just 'cause you are chronically late.



Thursday, February 09, 2006


Blog Link Massage

Re-did some links and stuff on the left to include some of the T-I bloggers. They're good reads. We are all struggling to find the time and effort to prepare ourselves as best we can for this event that will no doubt punish us to no end. When it comes down to it - All You Can Do is All You Can DO!. Deep respect and applause for everyone trying to prepare for this thing. If I missed any TI'ers blog, leave me a note.

Read some great ride Reports :

Dave Simmons on the Arrowhead 135 - 135 miles through snow in (way) sub 0 degree temps? No thanks! Great job, and nice writeup.

7,ooo feet of climbing on a fixey! I might not be able to hang, but I could fathom it. Back down the same elevation on single track? Fagedaboutit. Unbelievable.
Endurosnob is also planning his own TI epic style of race. Read about it here.

I thought I was progressing some in the self-abuse world of ultracycling. When I read about this stuff I know I'm not worthy. I haven't even touched upon the adventures of Mike Curiak, another TI entrant. They're WAY off the charts.

It's going to be a super experience meeting with all these folks and riding with 'em. I'd say I can't wait till April 29th, but in reality I can. I need to. I need the time to train more.

On a side note, I recently took delivery of a Wingnut Adventure pack. I'll put up some photos later. It's LARGE. I got it mainly for overnight bike trips. Won't actually put it to the test till late February or early March. We'll see then how it performs.



Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Sebring Revisited

There's been a few questions on other forums about the Sebring 12/24 race so I'm going to put quick recap with a few photos up here. Last year Sebring was my first ever ultra event so this year it will be sort of like a 1 year anniversary. Before Sebring last year I hadn't ever ridden a bike over 110 miles.

Basically you can enter 12 or 24 hours, drafting or non-drafting. The RAAM qualifier is the non-drafting 24 hour event 425 miles are needed to qualify. Only 3 people qualified last year.

So here's some pictures :

Some start photos. Little did I know at the time that the guy just off to my right (in the Maxim/Colnago kit) would set the Sebring course record at 500 miles, then set the record at the HOS. Chris MacDonald would later go on to finish his first RAAM in second place, earning rookie of the year honors. The guy was a machine. He beat everyone in the first 12 hours, including a STRONG racing team from Georgia that was working a sweet pace line in the 12 hour drafting division, then he went on to ride 12 more hours! His time for the first century was around 4:15 (no-drafting remember) and we had a 15 mph wind that was quartering in our face on the way out. After the turnaround the wind shifted and was hitting us head on for a good section of return leg.

During the first 3 parade laps around the race track the sun rises

In the RAAM division you can not draft nor can anyone draft off you. Non-drafting entrants have the lowest rider numbers. That led to a whole lot of this (<---) during the first 50 miles of the grand loop. Sitting back 15 yards from a 15 person pace line. Sort of like exquisite torture. If you want to speed up and pass, you have to pass the whole line, but hey, its a long day so no need to rush things too early. I would actually cruise up along side the guys every now and then to say "how ya' doin'", then drift back to the lonely position of the detached caboose. After 50 miles I really didn't see any more pace lines. The fast ones were up ahead by then.

You meet some of the nicest folks at these events. Can't say I've ever seen a "bent" quite this low:

After the first century you loop around an 11 mile circuit that is basically a triangle with essentially 2 turns, and an in and out of the pit road. A few small rollers and a long straight section of road that was directly into the wind last year. See a map of the short loop here.

After 6:30 the 12 hours folks call it a day and the rest of us go on to the night pits, which, imagine that, are actually real (automobile) PITS! The rest of the night is spent riding around, and around, and around the 3.7 mile road course. You're required to have a front light and a rear blinky. I was quite surprised at the number, variety and placement of everyone's blinkies, and was a bit bummed out I only had one. My night riding cockpit was complete with cell phone and MP3 player to help while away the boredom. The toughest thing about the those laps (aside from the monotony) is going by the pit every 11-15 minutes and resisting the urge to stop. Eventually around 11-12 PM I stopped to refuel and the temps in the 40's with a brisk wind went right through me. I'd only brought 1 pair of arm warmers, and one pair of leg warmers. Once they got wet and sweaty I got hypothermic and sat in the car shivering like a bowl of jello in an earthquake, so I had to call it a night. Much was learned that day and since. I WILL be better prepared this year!

Pit locations - the day time "pits" are along each side of the entry road highlighted in yellow. The night pits are on the race track itself and highlighted in pink.

Best of luck to everyone at the race this year.



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