Arizona trail preview and 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

Posted: May 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

I had this crazy idea many months ago that doing a 24 hour race in February would spark the fitness training Tony and I would need to be in shape for the AZT300 in April. With Tony’s SS and my fat bike and an Airstream we headed down south of Tucson the week before our duo 24 hour attempt to scope out a few segments of the AZT to see how bad it was.

We found our way to the Palmer lake trailhead before noon and headed out on what would be a day of riding and hike-a-biking that took longer than we were expecting. And instead of an out and back we settled for a road ride back to camp.

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It was an eye opener for sure.
Next day we tackled the Reddington road section and checked out our off course support options. Reddington and the 4wd rodeo section that followed was not fun in the heat of the day and I was pretty much out of water by the time we got back to the truck

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AZT mini view done we hauled the Airstream to the race venue where we were told it would open up to camping at noon on Thursday. What we found was that people had been parking trailers here since the previous weekend and it was looking pretty full by normal standards. We found a spot and discovered it would be a madhouse the next day when every inch of space would be a battleground for incoming RVs.

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I was content to ride one lap and say hello to a bunch of people. Tony wanted to see the course at night and while I hung out at the Back of the Pack Racing tent eating chips and drinking beer, he took in the night air and all the scary cacti that wanted a piece of his hide.
I had devised a loose game-plan on what it would take to put us on the podium. Logistics of everything available for each other’s downtime between laps to be most efficient with our time. Charging stations and food/gear hung from an over-the-door shoe organizer

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With our nutritional items at the ready.
We both got a good nights sleep on Friday waking up rested for the next +26 hours we would both be awake for.
Oh yeah, I drew the short straw and got the honor of being the rider to start off first. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t a half mile run to the bike with everyone else, choking down dust and tripping over each other in cycling shoes.
1200 noon, off running I go. I rode fairly quickly and had one of my fastest laps, that included my run time. Baton handed off I rolled back to camp to the start of what be my routine for the next 24 hours. Shoes off, Hydrate, eat, rest, shoes on, bike back to transition tent to await Tony. The first time he came in I never heard our rider number called out and got the stink eye from Tony when I heard him yelling my name, oops sorry.
We were clicking along nicely after that and had moved up to 8th place before midnight. By 3am we were in 6th hot on the heels of the next team when Tony told me one of the teams had lost a rider and would probably stop and sleep soon, bonus! Everything had been going well for us until my 4:30 lap when I lost all power. I had been clocking 1:10 – 1:15 lap times up till then. This one ended up 1:27. I had no idea what had happened and Tony was worried that I was done. Whatever happened, I bounced back the next lap, much to the relief of my teammate. We were in a virtual tie for 5th place at this point and every second counted. Tony continued to pile on fast laps and come in with an advantage and I’d try to hold it. I had calculated that it would take 19 laps to finish on the podium, and at the current pace I would have the honor of riding the last lap, the 19th. If we could keep the pressure on the other team we’d have our podium. Tony came in @10:49am meaning, unless I turned a lap faster than 1:11, he wouldn’t have to ride another lap. I rode a fast lap, spurred on by keeping up with KRefs as we flew through the first half of the course, 1:13 by my estimation, and arrived at the conga line to the finishing tent officially crossing in 1:17. Tony greeted me with a beer and I was all smiles.

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It was hard to describe how I felt. Jubilant joy. 19 laps, over 300 off-road miles ridden between the 2 of us, 5th place Male Duo team, riding a Fatbike and a Singlespeed just to make it interesting.

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