Last year (2014) I did my first 24-hour race, which was this same event, which is held in Southern California in November, about 90 minutes drive NE of San Diego. This, the World Time Trial Championships, is the last of the season in the Ultramarathon Cycling Association’s (UMCA) sanctioned events. Also offered are shorter durations including six and twelve hour divisions.
Last year, I placed second (in my age division , 60-65) to Valerio Zamboni, the legendary ultracyclist from Monaco. So this year, I really wanted to see if I improve my standing. Last year, I used a conventional carbon fiber road bike with clip-on aerobars, whereas he, and many others were using time trial bikes. I was kinda surprised howmany riders did use TT bikes. Last winter I picked up a second-hand TT bike and used it on several other evens this summer, with the intent of using it on this and other 24-hour races. I also had my conventional bike with clips-on aerobars as a back up. This year, Valerio, on the other hand, was using a conventional road bike with clip-ons. This was because, as he explained to me, he was recovering from a crash earlier in the season and was not not yet adjusted to the geometry of his TT bike.
I knew that the best way to be competitive would be to have a crew. I had networked with a fellow ultracyclist, Scott Anderson, from Texas and his sister, Barbara was going to help him and she could easily crew for both of us.
This race started at 6:00 p.m. which I prefer compared to early morning starts. At first I was only going to wear knee warmers but at the last minute added on my full-length leg warmers. What was a wise choice because the temperatures dropped quickly, unlike the Texas race I did the prior month, where it stayed reasonably warm thoughout the night. This course is pretty flat with about 330 feet of elevation per 18-mile lap. I was able to do about four or five laps before I needed additional clothing and stopped in to the pit. Because it was so cool, I didn’t need many fluids, so I didn’t awake Barbara, who was resting or sleeping in a vehicle nearby. The temperature dropped down to about 36F during the night (I found this out later after I uploaded my GPS data). I noticed that some cyclists didn’t even have on knee or toe warmers! Finally, around 7:00 a.m., dawn begin to break and the temperture slowly increased. The cold caused me to just keep moving quickly and not pause for fear I would chill.
After things warmed up a little, I made another stop into the pit and dumped off some of my clothing and lighting gear. At that point I was needing both fluids and nutrition. Barbara, who was tracking our progress online, indicated that I was in first place in m age division but about 1-1/2 to two laps! I was euphoric, having never won a race before!
The pit stop system with Barbara worked great. When I rolled into the pit, she would grab both of my water bottles and refill them, one with a sports drink and the other with ice water. While she was doing this, I would eat some solid nutrition and also ingest some supplements like IBProfen, Sportlegs or Hammer Anti-fatigue capsules. Excepting when I needed to remove my leg warmers, I never sat down — just a standing break or perhaps three to seven minutes. We repeated this routine every three to six laps, stopping more in the afternoon, when it was hotter.
My biggest infirmity during this event was mild case of Shermer’s Neck. Because of the rather flat course, I was always moving at least 15 MPH, necessitating staying low in my aerobars (excepting a short hill of approx. 1/2 mile). Later in the ride, during the last 12 to 14 hours, my neck starting bothering me. I could still hold up my head, but the pain was really bugging me. I moderated it with the usual — IBProfen. In the future, I would like to remedy this though, either by raising my bars more, doing preventative excercise like shrugs or by simply sitting up more often. Last year, on this same event, I was so far back in second place that I didn’t kill myself trying and sat up more and consequently my neck was not hurting.
At one point, in the afternoon, the Swiss rider in my division, passed me on the gradual uphill of the course. I misunderstood Barabara and thought he was riding second to me, so I began to panic. I tried to accerlate and match his pace, but could not do so. The only thing I could do was just keeping moving at my maximum pace. Later, upon stopping into the pit, I realized that I had a pretty decent lead, but I had to excercise caution, lest a rider do a “come from behind” victory. At 4:30 p.m. the course switched from the long course to the flat short 5-mile loop. I was able to do several (5 or 6?) laps on the short course before time ran out.
I was able to maintain my lead and ended up with a 20-mile lead over Valerio for a total of 384 miles. This race was not as “deep” as the National 24-hour Race (held in June in MI), which typically has 15-20 riders in the 24-hour 60-65-yr old division. Funny thing that this is called “Worlds” despite being a smaller event than the “national” race. After the race, there was an organized dinner and awards ceremony. One gentlemen received a standing ovation — ???? Who was riding a hand and hammered out some ??? Miles. I ended up 13th out of 42 cyclists in the upright 24-hour category.
My Stava Upload (GPS problems, as it only shows that I did 382 miles, not the actual 384).
My total moving time was 22 hours and 40 minutes minutes with 75 minutes off the bike taking breaks. Compared to the Texas race the prior month, where I had no support crew, having a crew person saved me about 90 minutes.
I had no flats and used DT Swiss 38mm-wide rims on a 61cm Cervelo P3C frame. I mounted an insulated water bottle pouch to the under side of my aerobars, along with an extension house so I could drink while in the aero position.