5th time racing at Old Pueblo was as fun as ever. Friday night treated us with a sunset which was the calm before the storm. I spent Friday visiting folks. OP is like a big bike reunion after the winter. So fun to catch up and find out what everyone has planned out for the year.
I've raced at Old Pueblo solo geared twice, solo single speed and duo. This year I went for 5 person open co-ed and joined the infamous Jack Mormon Militia team. Matt Harding, Joshe Wolfe, Kenny Jones, Chucky Gibson and me.
I was a bit out of my element racing on a 5 person team - just a bit. More people to let down with a bad lap and more people to go do a slow lap themselves... More team members, less control. However the weather was mega challenging this year and made me say thanks I wasn't solo. We had wind/dust/wind/rain/wind and more wind.
Josh took the first lap and the running of the bulls - which was as crazy as ever
I went out on the 3rd lap and was blown off the trail a few times. It was WINDY. At one point I was blown into a huge barrel cacti and my foot, still in the pedal, got stapled to it! I yanked myself off it and pulled out a few spines back in the pit.
Our pit set up rocked. We had a huge tent with a 125,000 BTU/hour space heater. Luxury!
Overhead lights, a microwave which I used in anger and much banter. I don't know if having a lady in their midst mellowed out the JMM banter - probably a just a bit?
The weather got ugly for a while. My 1st lap was about 7 mins slower than I expected - ouch. The wind blew me all over the place and I was glad I had little wheels with me. I was the slowest team member. We were in second place after 5 laps but it was close - we had a race on our hands. The team in first place sent their fastest guy, Ben Sontag, out for 2 laps right away and we were chasing. We talked a little strategy. I offered to sit out a rotation. I didn't really want to sit out a rotation but the fact it was dark, pissing with rain and blowing a gale made it kinda attractive at the time!! That and I wanted to be a team player.
We agreed I would sit out a rotation to let the team catch up. Then Josh came in off his lap soaking wet and amped from killing it. We told him the strategy that I was going to sit out one rotation. He said - "I've never heard of that before" and called bullshit on the whole idea - so I was back in :-) :-)
Every one of us rode brilliantly with no mechanicals, mishaps or bad laps among us - we pulled into first place sometime in the morning and finished on the top of the podium. I got to take one of those cool OP bike trophy's home again - Thanks JMM's :-)
My duo partner from last year
Another awesome 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo in the books. I do like that race and will be back again next year. Team, duo, solo, gears, SS?? I just don't know yet...