12 Hours of Mesa Verde 2017 Race Recap: The Race Within the Race

Warm temperatures, clear skies and seven miles of new trail greeted the 850 riders participating at the 2017 version of 12 Hours of Mesa Verde hosted at Phil’s World in Cortez, Colorado.

Weather conditions for this year’s race were a far-cry better than those experienced in 2015 and 2016.  The 2015 race was cancelled by 10 a.m. after an early morning snow storm made the course an unrideable quagmire.  The 2016 race was punctuated by cold temperatures and intermittent rain showers.

Gusty afternoon winds proved a mixed blessing.  The dust laden swirls that tore at camper’s sunshades and tents provided some cooling for riders while on course.

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Organizers introduced a new 18-mile course, approximately 2-miles longer than previous years.  The new kinder and gentler course was welcomed by soloists like HDB’s Matt Hoyt.  Matt, competing in his first 12-hour solo event, completed a total of five laps.

I raced the Geezers 3/4 race – average age 50 years older or more – with teammates Rose Haack of Sports Systems/505 Racing and privateer Chris Ziomek.

Course pre-ride times indicated our team, Rose and the Old New Mexicans, should complete eight laps.  This meant two riders would race three laps and the third only two.  Chris, our Number One rider, was guaranteed three laps.  Because Rose and I are closely matched in ability we needed a method to determine who between us would ride the remaining third lap.  Being competitive types we decided to settle the dispute on the trail.  The rider with the fastest second lap would win a third lap.

As expected, Rose and I rode competitive first laps with me nudging her for fastest lap by 1 minute 30 seconds.  Rose is known for her uncanny consistency; literally riding lap times within seconds of each other.  I can’t claim consistency as a strong point.  And, my second lap is usually my worst.  If she rode a consistent second lap I was likely out the third lap.

At the start of my second lap my legs were noodles.  I expected them to recover by mile four.  By mile nine, still nothing but noodles.  At mile 10 I downed a gel pack.  Within five minutes my legs began making power in response to the little 1.1-ounce caffeine and sugar shot.  I crossed the finish line at 1:39, three-minutes slower than lap one, and handed the baton to Rose.  Because I had waited too long to refuel I could only hope Rose didn’t have one of her patented laps.

Back at camp I began recovery operations as if I were going to ride a third lap and talked last-lap strategy with Chris.  He had taken a hard hit on his rear wheel during his second lap, breaking a spoke.  Since he didn’t have a backup wheel he planned to ride a sedate 1 hour 30 minute lap to insure he didn’t further damage the wheel or himself if it did fail.  At that pace the lap would also be fast enough to preserve our fifth place podium.  Assuming Rose completed her second lap as expected, returning about 4:25 p.m., Chris would also be able to just beat the six o’clock cutoff for last lap.

At 4:28 p.m. Rose completed her second lap and handed the baton to Chris.  Blustery afternoon winds had pushed Rose four minutes behind my second lap time.  I had won the third and final lap.  However, Chris’ margin to make last-lap cutoff had been shortened from five to two-minutes.  Any miscalculation or mechanical and I would lose the lap.

I returned to the exchange area at 5:45 p.m. found a seat, downed my last gel pack and began my worriesome wait for Chris.  I reckoned with a clear course he might abandon caution and rip off a fast lap.  Better to arrive early and insure I didn’t miss the hand off.

At 5:55 p.m. the announcer began his countdown to last-lap cutoff.  5:55, 5:56, 5:57 no Chris.  At 5:58 p.m., as punctual as a Japanese bullet train, Chris entered the exchange area.  I received the baton, stuffed it in my jersey pocket and was off.

I’ve been lucky enough to ride the final lap at a few 12 and 24 hour races; 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, Pemberton Dawn to Dusk and 12 Hours of Mesa Verde.  Thinking about it, I don’t understand the almost euphoric state I enter when I ride the final lap.  Maybe it’s having a clear trail ahead or knowing I’ll be one of the last competitors to cross the finish line.  Maybe I’m just happy to be done.  Or maybe I overthink the question and the answer provided by my inner five-year old is most appropriate.  Cause it’s just the best.

By 7:36 p.m. I was back at the exchange tent.  Chris and Rose met me with smiles and fist bumps; we had preserved our fifth place spot.  Even better, Matt greeted me with 12 ounces of Ska True Blonde; perfect choice.  Another race completed it was time to celebrate.  A good time was had by all.

For Ken

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Where Is the HDB Kit Today?

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Where am I?

 

Guess where the new HDB kit appeared today.  First two guesses don’t count.  Courtesy of Jack Groves.

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Weekend Wrap-up: HDB Racers Get Busy Across State; More Kit Sightings

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Lauren Thompson -center – 1st Place Women’s Cat 3/4/5 Tour of the Gila

 

High Desert Bicycles team members raked in plenty of hardware this weekend riding to podiums in events held across the state.  

Tour of the Gila:  Lauren Thompson  rode to an overall first place victory in the Tour of the Gila’s women’s cat 3/4/5 held in Silver City.

 

 

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Scott Steffen Tour of Gila TT.

 

Scott Steffen – left – hit the third step in the Master B Race TT at the Tour of the Gila.

 

 

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Sue Alschuler.

 

 

12 Hours in the Wild West:  HDB racers made their presence known at the 12 Hours in the Wild West held at Grindstone Trail in Ruidoso, NM.  Sue Alschuler rode to the top step of the six hour master’s female race.

 

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Jason Reamy – center – Marco Quintana – right

 

 

Jason Reamy and Marco Quintana pedaled to first and second places in the solo male six hour open.

Andrew Black and Eli Torgeson of team Crash Section – no photo available – placed second in the men’s duo 12 hour event.

 

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Anita, Sue, Kelly

Kelly Hinkel and Anita Roe raced to 4th and 6th place finishes respectively in the solo six hour female open category.

David Roe – no photo – finished 11th in the six hour solo male open.

Thanks and congratulations to all HDB riders for their weekend efforts!

 

And, thanks to Sue Alschuler, Anita Roe and Scott Steffen for providing race results and  photos!  Send it and we will post it!

More Kit Sightings:  The new HDB kit is making the rounds all over New Mexico, from the podium at 12 Hours in the Wild West to the streets and trails around Albuquerque.  Check it out!

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Where In The World Is The New HDB Kit?

High Desert Bicycles Kit Sighted:  We hoped seeing the new High Desert Bicycles kit on local roads and trails wouldn’t be like trying to track down Saskwatch.  But we think we have valid photographic proof the new kit is making the rounds in the area.  Get out your digital forensic tools and prove the validity of these photos.  Send me your photos sporting the new kit; faked or not.  Podium shots from The Gila are required!

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Nathan Masek on the Crest.

Crockett Howard in Old Town.

Jack Groves at the tram.

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Broom Wagon Notes April 11, 2017: SYDC 2017 Results and Wednesday Night MTB Ride

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San Ysidro Dirty Century:  High Desert Bicycles presented a good contingent at the San Ysidro Dirty Century held Saturday April 8, 2017.

Andrew Black took top bragging rights for the 68 mile version completing the course on his CX bike in 3 hours and 53 minutes.  Crockett Howard rode his Specialized Crux (crass commercialism) to grab fourth place bragging rights on the 68 mile ride with a time of 4 hours 29 minutes.  Pat Caldwell, Crockett’s riding partner for the race, pulled away on the rough downhill section near the finish to snag third place bragging rights.

Marco Quintana and Jeff Flemming called braggin’ rights for 10th and 11th places respectively in the 83 mile ride.

For the ladies, Lauren Thompson owns second place bragging rights in the 83 mile ride.

Follow this link for full SYDC 2017 results.

Wednesday Night MTB Ride April 12, 6:00 pm:  The HDB Wednesday Night MTB ride will be hosted from the Placitas Trail Head.  Meet at 6:00 pm and be on the saddle at 6:10 pm.  Expect about one-hour of fun riding and some libations afterward.

GO RIDE!  NOW!

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HDB Wednesday Night MTB Ride for 4.5.2017 Hosted from Placitas Trail Head

z-5_5479_31869372605_oThe HDB Wednesday Night MTB ride for 4.5.2017 will be hosted from the Placitas Trail Head.  If you haven’t ridden these trails be sure to join us for tour.

The high temperature for Wednesday is forecast to be near 60 degrees, so bring some warm gear for the post-ride BS session.

You know the drill; bring yourself, friends and family cause the ride is open to all comers.

GET OUT AND RIDE!

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What You Missed: Wednesday Night MTB Ride From Placitas Trail Head March 29, 2017

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Didn’t ride with us on Wednesday?  Watch the slide show to see what you missed.  Great trails.  Camaraderie.  Beautiful New Mexico.  And libations afterward.

Tell friends and family about HDB’s non-denominational Wednesday Night MTB Ride.  All are welcome, no membership required!

Get out and ride with us Wednesdays!

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