Thursday, September 25, 2008

official photos

notice all the riders david left in the dust behind him...

can you tell he's clipping along at 35mph?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

slim jim hottie pants and the tale of the 1 day, 3 state, 206 mile ride

here is our hero, slim jim hottie pants himself (you have my permission to whistle):
our hero is wearing spandex from head to toe because it's aerodynamic.  being aerodynamic is very important when one is cycling in a race.  especially lotoja.  lotoja is a bike race from logan, ut to jackson hole, wy.  it's sponsored by the huntsman cancer society, and all proceeds go to cancer research.  david was invited to join this race by our spinning instructor.  she and the night class spinning instructor had entered the race as a relay team, but our instructor found out she was expecting a baby.  that meant no go on lotoja.  recognizing david for the strong climber he is, she invited him to take her place on the relay team.  david thought it over very quickly and said yes, and asked me to be his support car.  i thought it over very quickly and also said yes.  we marked saturday, september 6th on our calendars as a very special day.   
we drove up to logan on friday night after david got home from work.  never had i packed so much for an overnight trip!  we had a food bag, a bike gear bag, a bike tool bag, the overnight bathroom bag, sleeping bags, pillows, and ruth rode with us, so we had all of that x3.  we stayed at one of my friend's (who fortuitously moved to logan earlier this year), while ruth and david hit the sacks early, i stayed up talking to cindy.  we were at the starting line by 615am (our start time was 634), with ruth taking the first leg from logan, ut to preston, id.  we would meet at the support team area, they would switch the timing chip, and david would be off to ride legs 2-4, first from preston, id to montpilier, id.  in montpilier we would meet him at the support area, trade bottles, fill his pockets with food, and then drive off and meet him in alpine, wy, where they would switch the chip again, and ruth would finish the last two legs from alpine, wy to jackson hole, wy.  they would each ride about 100 miles, ruth doing all the flats, and david doing all the climbs.  david's total was about 96 miles, with 50-ish being uphill climbing.  he estimated it would take him 6hrs to do his legs of the race.  that was the's what actually happened:    
we decided to have some fun...after ruth took off from logan, we stopped to get breakfast.  both of our pants were falling down, so we made hillbilly belts from bungie cords david had in the car.
isn't our support car cute?!  we made it to preston and waited for ruth to come in.  we found her, david was ready to take off, they switched the chip, and we were ready to go--next meeting place, monpilier, id.  david hit the road about 815 or so, and we hit the road around 830.
ok, so here's where it got interesting. the cars ride on different roads from the bikes for probably 50-65% of the race. the support cars are kind of blindly driving off to the meet points, hoping they get there for their riders in time.  from preston to montpilier, the cars wove through farmer's fields on a gravel country road.  there were a ton of cars mecca-ing to the next town, lots of dust, and it was slow-going.  the race is supposed to text the support team's cell phone when the rider passes a certain point entering the meet zone, but the text messages weren't working properly.  along the way we stopped to use the little girl's room and get some sandwiches.  we made it to montpilier by 11am.   
here's the crossing line in montpilier, where we thought we were waiting for david.  as soon as we got to montpilier we asked the officials if rider 9501 had crossed yet.  they said they had no record of this rider.  so we waited.  and waited.  and waited.  we asked the officials a total of 4-5 times to find our racer, and they had no record of him crossing the line.  around 1230 (4 1/2 hours after david left preston), we were extremely worried something had happened.  david is a strong rider, and there was no way he would have taken over 3 hours to make that trek.  then we heard there was an accident with lots of bikes down.  we more urgently asked the officials to find our rider.  they asked us if we had received a text.  at this point in the race i didn't know we were supposed to gets texts about our rider's location, i was told we would be called if something went wrong.  so...i didn't have my phone on i ran back to the car, found my phone, and found a text message.  david had actually crossed the montpilier line at 1021am, 40 minutes before we'd even reached the town!!  that means david did the first leg (including a 20 something mile climb) in just over 2 hours.  that is amazing!!  now here's my question: if we had received a text on time, wouldn't the officials have had a record of david when we asked them?  here's my other question: we were in the car at 1021, and my phone did not go off to let me know i'd gotten a text.  maybe it beeped when we were at subway buying sandwiches?  maybe it came through much later, when we'd already reached montpilier and i'd left it in the car.  either way, i felt incredibly guilty, and like i was the worst support crew in the world.  

anyway, we'd been sitting in montpilier for a total of 2 1/2 hours after david had crossed the line--and at this point we had no idea where he was.  he could have been on the road to afton, or in afton already, waiting to switch the chip with ruth, or he could see his awful support crew not meeting him again in afton and deciding to continue on to alpine.  there were "neutral" feed zones along the way where riders could fill up on water, gatorade, food, and energy packets, so we knew he'd be ok on that end of things.  but we weren't sure if we should drive to afton to find david, or drive straight to alpine to meet him there.  we decided to try afton first, since we hadn't gotten a text about that crossing line, yet.  the official told us it would take us about 45 minutes to drive to afton.  ruth knew it would take longer--along this leg of the race the car route and the bike route meet up and ride on the same road into afton.  we were stuck in traffic with all the other support cars trying to get to their riders while also trying to merge into car and bike traffic.  there was quite a car line.  

ok...speeding, passing cars, giving the riders the road, stressing out over david...and not having cell phone reception.  somewhere between idaho and wyoming in the black hole of the american wild west we lost cell phone reception.  so there we were stressing out again--what if david makes it to afton and we don't know because the text doesn't come through, will he stay there, go on?  once we made it maybe 3-5 miles outside of afton, david's cell phone went off with a message, and then mine.  it was david calling and his message on both of our phones went like this, "hey, i'm in afton, i hope i see you soon."  no number came through on my cell phone, and no time when i'd missed the call.  great.  so when did david get to afton?  was he going to stay there?  would he keep going if he waits over a certain time?  is he now on his way to alpine?  was he already in alpine?  oh, man.  i think only female readers would understand the stress i was under as his failing support crew.  male brains just don't race like female brains do, stressing out over all the possibilities.  anyway, we finally made it to afton AND FOUND DAVID!  the first thing i said to david was, "david, i love you and i am so sorry!"  and started to cry from the stress and relief.  the first thing david said was, "michal, i know exactly what happened, don't worry about it, and don't feel bad--i was having the time of my life out there and i love you!"  so here he is, after his 96-mile-with-50-ish-uphill-miles leg.  doesn't he look awesome?!!  david gave ruth the timing chip, she took off, and david told me his side of the story along our drive. click here for the race map.
here are some random riders in star valley while david and i were driving from afton to alpine.  ok, so david took off around 815 or so from preston.  he began the first climb feeling amazing, riding the strongest he's ever ridden.  you start the race in waves so you'll theoretically stay with your group, but david was climbing with the cat3 guys (the official licensed professional riders).  he also began passing the recreational racers.  hundreds of them.  on the uphill climb.  he joined a group riding in a huge 100-person peleton, like in the tour de france, and he was clipping along very comfortably between 30-35 mph.  in a huge group like that it's easy to go fast without putting much effort into it.  a race official came along and broke up the peleton into their subgroups (cat 1, 2, 3, relay racers, etc), and david hooked on to a cat2 or 3 group.  they were riding along in a paceline, each one taking turns being the leader at the front of the line for a few minutes, then falling to the back, and rotating to the front again.  this was david's first time riding this strong, with such good riders, and in such a professional paceline.  he said he finally felt like he belonged somewhere in this sport!  by the third climb david said he was gritting his teeth and feeling the climb, but he made it to the top, and then spent about 10 or 15 minutes at the feed station refueling.  he did his whole 96 mile leg in 5 hours and 5 minutes--yes, i'll say that again--5 hours and 5 minutes!!!, and was waiting for us in afton for about 30-45 minutes, the timing chip ticking away all the while.  he knew he'd ridden well, and he was done with his leg, and he was going to wait for ruth to finish it out.    
david was nursing his crampy leg in the car in alpine when i met ruth at the feed station.  she's the one in the light blue jersey on the right.  from there we headed to jackson hole!
the finish line!  we waited about an hour for ruth to come in.  she hit her peak and energy crashed about 20 miles outside of jackson hole.  but the trooper brought it in to the finish line!
here they are--the two-person relay team wonders!  they finished in a total of 12 1/2 hours, finishing in one day, crossing three state lines, and completing 206 miles!!  yay team!!  as we were driving away through jackson trying to find a place to eat, there were still riders coming in, some stopped on the side of the road to install lights on their bikes so they could keep riding in the pitch black 8-9pm night!  crazy!!  (and very unsafe!!)  we also drove back to orem that night...ruth and i both crashed in the car after eating dinner, so david was left to drive home all by himself.  we arrived at 2am.  we had stake conference on sunday, and after the 2 hour session came home and slept the rest of the day!  

ok, so here's what we learned for next year:
1. david's anaerobic threshold is great, but he really needs to train his aerobic threshold.
2. david is going to register as a licensed rider, starting in category 5.
3. david is going to train all year to do the race solo.
4. michal is going to make david ride with his cell phone and tire tools and extra tubes (this year david took off his utility pouch because he wanted to weigh less...michal was very mad at david, especially when they saw all the other experienced riders with their utility pouches).
5. michal is going to drive straight from logan to montpilier.  david won't need a support crew after just 30-35 flat miles from logan to preston, and he'll be able to ride straight through.  after montpilier the next meeting point will be alpine, then the finish line.
6. we won't need a "food bag".  david said there was soooo much food at all the neutral feed stations that all we need to pack is extra bottles to switch out because it's faster than filling them up every time.
7. try to get the friday before the race off work so we can drive to logan earlier, and get more sleep the night before the race.  
8. stay the night in jackson hole.  it was way too much driving home the same day as the race.   

the plan was to leap frog david along the road to get some really good photos of him...that plan obviously didn't happen.  the race took professional photos along the route, so we'll get some of david and post them once they come in.