It's been awhile since I've updated this blog, but now that the 2011 edition of the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde is finished I thought I write a few words so I can remember next year just what happened.
Like in 2010, Dwight Hibdon and I teamed up for the Duo Geezer class. Our goals were to go faster than last year, and hopefully improve our 2nd place finish. We did go faster by about 60 minutes, but we slipped to 3rd place. The competition stepped it up a few notches and the class swelled from 6 teams to 12. It looks like we finished 62 overall out of 320+ teams. Overall, we were very satisfied with our effort and happy for a podium finish.
Other than Dwight zoning out and hitting a small bump he did not see which had the effect of lifting his rear wheel above his head and launching his body head first on to terra firma, we were mishap free. Dwight did badly gouge and dent his helmet and has shoulder, elbow, knee and nose rash, and a very stiff neck, but that makes for fun conversation and lasting memories. DH is one tough cookie and a great teammate.
I was pleased with my 4 laps and rode consistently. My gps riding times were 1:28:22, 1:32:07, 1:35:04 and 1:35:03. Offical times will be slower. I rode sans heart rate monitor so I have no data there. I felt like I pushed hard and left nothing on the course - I was maxed out. The 80+ degree temperature felt hotter than last year but that may be due to the fact the wx in SLC has been so cold and anything above 50 is tropical. Except lap 1 where is mistakenly used a water bottle (I should have listed to you Paul), I hydrated well with my flow gage mounted CamelBack providing good info on how much water I was consuming. I'm a bad water drinker so having a digital readout on h2o consumption is very helpful to me.
Interestingly, on all 4 laps it took me about 1 hour to feel comfortable. That's probably because most of the climbing is in the first 7-8 miles and the remainder is technical rocks and fast flowy, curvy single track. Climbing is still not my forte but my cornering and technical skills are improving. After the 9 mile mark I felt like a super star! At least until I'd get passed by the lighting fast male and female elite riders, many on single speeds, and solo!!! Like I said, the competition was tough.
DH and I had not been keeping tabs on our placing until someone told me we were in 3rd place. I went to the computer after our 6th lap and saw that we were indeed in 3rd place with about a 6 minute lead over the 4th place team with 5 teams within about 20 minutes of us. We were 20+ minutes behind 2nd place. I was hoping we were solidly in 3rd place and I could do a "beer" lap and celebrate on my 4th. That was not the case and I had to hammer the 4th to preserve our "rightful" place on the podium. Unbeknownst to me, DH's lap 7 opened the gap on the 4th place team and they failed to get in by the 6:00 pm cut off time. So, thinking I was being run down by 5 other teams, I rode a more energetic lap than was necessary. But, we did close to within 6 minutes of 2nd place and we held on to 3rd with 8 laps. I was quite pleased to see my 3rd and 4th laps equal in time. Afterwards, I was spent. I had a difficult time sleeping but woke up happy and feeling ready to go again - except for my ass! I can't imagine how the solo asses feel.
Back to the course. There's a reason the best riders complete only 8-9 laps, even the teams. This is a very technical, mentally demanding course that does not let up for more than 5 seconds, ever. You have to be on top of your game constantly, and at the end of 12 hours you are whooped! Eating and drinking safely, at speed, is limited to a very few "safe" areas. Do not undersetimate this course.
In only it's 5th year, this event has grown tremendously because of the fabulous course, spacious venue, fun people, tough competition and incredible vibe. But more importantly, the race organizers are top notch and have put together a very complete package that makes everyone from the casual rider to the serious pro feel welcome and leave satisfied. They truly know what racers are looking for, and they provide it. The only shortcoming is a lack of a beer sponsor and beer garden - hahaha. But, MTBer's are resourceful lot and fill that gap adequately on their own.
As for 2012, DH and I plan to give it another go. We both feel like a fine wine - we get better with age. Who knows, maybe the elusive top of the podium with be in our future.
9 months ago