Reflections of my first 24 Hour race

Reflections of my first 24 Hour race

Back in November a teammate, Stew, and myself decided to sign up for 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, duo category. Weather is usually the biggest issue in mid February in the desert, mainly because you never know what you are going to get. Some years it’s been snowy, and others scorching hot. The 15th Annual 24 HOP was the latter, reaching 80 degrees on Saturday and only dipping down to the low 50s that night.

This is a very unique race in the fact that it is in the middle of winter, which is off-season for most people. Stew and I figured it would be a perfect way to start the 2014 season, with 80 degree weather, cacti, friends, and fun. It truly was a perfect weekend, below is what I learned…

Get their early: We arrived on Thursday, the day they said gates opened…Wrong, It was packed and it had been for a few days. Lucky for us we found a perfect spot on “solo row” for our solo cyclist Jari Kirkland.

Learn how to car camp in luxury: My camping background consists of an ultra light minimalist approach. I actually pride myself on that a bit, keeping things simple and impacts low. However, in recent years I have been taking more and more biking trips where chairs, tables, Colman stoves, lanterns, coolers, Ez-ups, Kitchen Sinks, shoot even where RVs are the way to go. Keeping things neat organized and functional truly helps making for a smooth race.

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

Stew and I on a ride a few days before the race.

Don’t worry about the race: Most people are there for fun whether racing or not, costumes, booze and drum circles are abundant. It’s a good excuse for a vacation first and a bike race second. Thursday night I drank plenty of beer and chatted with friends, new and old.

Ask Questions: Our group consisted of 7 people, 5 Racers and two awesome support friends, one of which is my girlfriend. 4 of us had previously raced the course and knew how the event was run. Like I said before I had never taken part in a race like this. I probably annoyed those 4 so much with my questions. But questions need to be asked, partially because curiosity, but mainly because I didn’t want to mess anything up. I’m glad I asked.

The whole shot is key: I’ve been apart of a Le Mans starts before, but not one a half of a mile long. I’m not a great runner but not bad either. I made sure to get up front preventing getting stuck in congested bottle neck.

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

me, out of focus, but mostly in focus.

Compete or not to compete: This is not a question for me at this point in my life. I always compete even when I’m not in cycling shape. Stew and I had a goal of getting on the podium, it may have been a stretch, but that’s what we set out to do. Because of this I pushed it pretty hard the first lap, not crazy hard but hard enough to not get passed by many.

Duo is very hard: I’m not taking anything away from solo riders or even 4 person teams. I realized that I was going to have to nearly give it may all every lap, with only roughly 50 minutes of rest per lap. Stew and I wanted to average an hour and 10 minute laps. The breaks were nice, the first few laps I was energetic and chatty, then night moved in, and I got tired during my breaks. I tried to sleep but overall got 20 minutes of actually sleep. About 1 hour and 20 minutes of shut eye.

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

Sunset on Saturday.

The course is fast, day or night: This was a very, very fast course. It was non- technical and relatively smooth. The problem I found was I was outrunning my lights. I was running Ay-Ups on my bars and helmet. After my first night lap I decided to go to the Night Rider booth for a rental… SOLD OUT. Then I when to the Light and Motion Booth, for $40 I rented a Seca 2000 for the remainder of the night. IT. WAS. AWESOME. 2,000 lumens of wide light did the trick; I felt confident and was very happy. If I had more lumens on my bars it would have been that much better.

Technology: Yep we did a lot of scoreboard watching, but for us I think it pushed us. I remember jumping back and forth from 5th to 3rd place for the first half of the race. From looking at the live results, I knew the numbers that we were closely competing with. This helped at one point when we reached 3rd place and 4th place was on our tails, I made sure team #281 would not pass us, after that lap that little motivation got us a little bit of breathing room.

Keep riding your race: Although it was the last lap when Stew said “race your race and be safe,” I did that through the duration of the race, making sure to slow down when needed, speed up when needed, pass with caution when needed, and pull off when needed. I raced my race, I had fun doing it, and it showed in the consistency of my lap times.

Goal – To finish, to podium, to have fun: We successfully reached our goal nearly to perfection. We finished at 12:20pm on Sunday in 3rd place in the duo men’s category. We were very happy with our results, and even cracked a top 20 finish with 19th overall. As I reflect on this race, I suffered a bit, dealt with heat, my ass hurt, my back hurt (I need a fitting), and my lungs were filled with dust, but holy hell did I have so much FUN!!!

I can’t thank my team and sponsors enough. Griggs Orthopedics – GO is one of the best teams in Colorado and it showed this past weekend. Beth Shaner and Sean Riley competed in the duo co-ed category and placed 4th  with 18 laps in a highly competitive category. Jari Kirkland, the queen of 24 hour races, crushed the women’s solo category finishing 1st overall with 16 laps. Big thanks to Jefe and Lindsay for pulling the support duties, this would not have been at all possible without you.

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

I love our team!

Balancing Act

The year of 2013 was one hell of a ride. I did a whole lot; worked, played, raced my bike-a lot, skied-a lot, and visited many new places. It was by far the my most fulfilling year of my life, yet, I wanted more. I wanted more work, I needed more money to pay for my expensive habits, but I really just wanted more life experience.

A little background of my family, my grandparents worked their butts off to support both my mother and father’s families. This lead to my parents working very hard to support me and my two sisters. They both grew up outside of Detroit, both working jobs during college to make ends meet. They both found jobs in the Chicago area and decided to give the Windy City a whirl, they never looked back. My dad found a job in real estate and development for McDonalds, Penera Bread, Starbucks, Chipotle, and now Starbucks again. He also was in the army reserves. My mother worked her way up in the school systems. Starting as a teacher and ending as a superintendent of a k-12 school system. With various board member seats in between all of that. What I’m getting at is you need to work to be happy, pay the bills, and have all of the luxuries in life you wish to have. I know most families work their tail ends off to make things work, but having a front row seat to my parents life has truly been a learning experience.

This summer I wanted more, I was presented with a job opportunity that would be too stupid to pass up. Its a job where I can work remotely from home, which is nice. It was a tough transition, working while the sun was up would be difficult as I am used to working evenings. The past two summers all I did was go for bike rides, hikes, and relax, then go to work at 5:00pm. It was nice, especially after college. But now, I am confined in my house, squeezing in hour rides when I can. When I took the new job, I continued to work my night job, and the means working roughly 70 hours a week. There was not much free time to sit back, watch a movie, and drink a good IPA.

Things briefly slowed down for me, bike season came to a halt and the ski area had not opened yet. I was just working, and it was fine, It did make me a bit more aggravated. I then took on the task of organizing a fat bike race series here in Crested Butte. Although, its taken up a lot of time. I’m more passionate about it then my other two “paying” jobs. Even with the short time frame of organizing these races, we at least will be having 2 to 3 races in Gunnison Country this year. but thats for a different day, all of this has made me realize what is most important in life. What I want to do, and what I don’t want to do. Its all about balance, and right now, I’m a bit off kilter. I have a good idea what I need to do, and I should just do it.

Mcaskill sure knows how to balance it out.

Fall Fun (photos)

Since the leaves have started to change, my mindset has as well. No longer do I feel the need to squeeze rides in, or bust my ass on my bike. I was getting a bit worried towards the end of the summer. I really do like riding my bike with friends, and for fun, but my mind and body were telling me to train. Lucky for me, that mindset has shifted to riding with friends, drinking beer, and working. Check out a few photos of my fall adventure thus far.

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Teo and the Fatty

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Just the beginning of fall.

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I even brought the thing to work, The first week we were joined at the hip!

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Griggs Orthopedic Rider Brian Sullivan. Trail #403, Crested Butte, Colorado

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Elk Mountains, Colorado

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Bottom of Trail #403.

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Brian is riding a fully ridged, Honey Badger by Spot.

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Sunday Drive.

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Backyard view.

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First snow of the year.

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“Shakedown
You wanna sip a 40 with your old friends
But everybody chillin’ on the front porch
How am I supposed to live?” -UM

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The CB classic was canceled so, Matt Schiff, Stew Gross, and I went out for a ride at Hartman’s Rocks, Gunnison, Colorado.

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We ran in to this guy, but not Zach Guy.

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Matt Schiff and Bryan Dillion descending Aberdeen Loop.

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Matt Schiff, Mr. Enduro himself. Seriously, the dude can crush the downhill on a hardtail.

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It was great to have Stew back in the Valley for the extend weekend.

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The team chatting about how good they all are at keg stands.

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Zach Guy, Stew Gross, and Mt. Crested Butte.

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Team GO.

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STEW-MON!

Evolution Bike Park trails were in excellent shape.

Evolution Bike Park trails were in excellent shape.

Aspen action.

Aspen action.

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again

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Last day the Lifts were open, and we biked up. We are so BA!

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Team GO

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They Dyke

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Snow