Dang...it's been awhile since I've been here. Part of my blog periodization plan is a transition period ;) So...since the Nova national, I've moved back home to Durango. It always takes me a couple of weeks to get adjusted to life at altitude again...it baffles me how some riders can come and go with no adverse affects. The altitude is a biggie for me. After an easy week, I did a couple of 3-5 hour passes rides, taking in some fine San Juan scenery and ultra thin air. Power at elevation was about 30-40 watts off the mark on the first ride, but a day later improved by 20 watts. Dang!
I'd been thinking about doing the Dusk til Dawn 12 hour race down in Gallup, but didn't really want to go solo. The important races are awhile out yet, and I am unable to race without drilling it ya know...then Fergy asked if I was interested in going duo - sweet! Duo 12 or 24 hour races are awesome training - some of the best I ever do. It is both lots of volume, and lots of intensity. So we packed up the pop-up and drove on down to Gallup.
The course is a lot like riding in the lower elevations around Durango, and definitely like riding in the Aztec/Farmington area. All singletrack, twisty, fast turns, dry, slickrock in spots, short climbs, generally slow, super fun at race pace, with the added twist of some off-camber turns that if you stack (like I did once) you've got a good chance of serious air time over a cliff's edge. The folks putting on the race were awesome - friendly, and put on a helluva good show. T-shirt, watter bottle, post ride dinner and band, (did I mention 12 hours of racing?) all for $40 solo, $70 duo (I think?). If you missed it this year, get on down there next year...Good stuff!
I thought the course was a bit tough for solos as it wasn't that smooth and had some short punchy climbs that take it out of ya. There were some great solo rides: Brian Lugers took the solo men, while his wife Jenna Woodbury took solo women. I rode with them both a bit on their 7th/8th lap and they were still looking strong! Brian went out unbelievably hard; Fergy and I didn't move in front of him for good until the end of the 3rd lap. Crap he was flying. Rick "foaming" Callies did his first 12 hour solo and brought it in for 2nd. Super strong ride by the infamous Durango old timer. Glen Golrad was right on his heels for a super solid 3rd place finish.
Here's Rick in the final minute. He's a fierce competitor, despite his self-depricating manner!
New guy on the solo scene, Glen Golrad. Solid ride!
In the duo's, Fergy and I more than had our hands full. There were 3 male duo teams from Durango: myself and Fergy, teamates Greg Lewis and Ralph Winebarger, and Zach Shriver and Sean Raley. We started up a dirt road short climb, and none other but Kip Biese sprints off the line (he was solo) and puts the hurt on immediately. It was short lived though - he tore a sidewall and dropped out in the first lap. After suffering out the first lap (my slowest on the day, can you believe it?), the pecking order had been established. Zach put down a blistering first lap, then Greg, then myself. The first lap was coooold, 30ish F. Fergy was riding his Salsa Dos Niner since he hasn't yet received his Fuel, and he seemed happy with it. There were a lot of big wheels at the race, actually. Anyway, that's sorta how it went the rest of the day, at least until about 4pm. Fergy and I just kept a steady pace - all my lap times after the first were within a 2 minute spread, and it felt good, lots of fun. We never were within striking distance of the first two duo teams, but had a big gap on 4th - a sort of comfortable no mans land.
The big news, though - was the Greg/Ralph duo. They just kept on hammering, chipping away at the first place team's lead. Sean broke a seatpost or somesuch on his 4th lap and Ralph was right there to make the kill and came in some 5 minutes before Sean - they had taken the lead! Just in case you don't know...Ralph is the owner of Cottonwood cycles, Brent's pop, and a busy guy. At age 55, he is literally riding circles around guys half his age. We're trying to twist his arm to get him to mammoth this year...
And that's how it played out to the end. Greg and Ralph kept their advantage, finishing with the win with 11 laps. Zach and Sean also finished with 11 laps. Fergy and I were about 15 minutes off the mark for going out for the 11th, and finished with 10 laps. Team HealthFX rocked it with a 1st and 3rd place finishes, just like Moab.
Ralph showing his preferred recovery beverage.
Zach charging out for his final lap in hot pursuit of Greg.
Greg rocking the final descent.
A job well done!