I'm going to ask some of the other racers to chime in too, but here's my take:
I paired up with an NMORS racer from Albuquerque named Pat Caldwell. I met Pat a few years back when I managed to beat him by about 1 second at the Sandia Peak Challenge. After our close finish Pat asked me "What age group are you in?" Where I responded, "20-29." I then asked Pat the same when he responded "50+"! Needless-to-say Pat's a great rider, who happens to be in his 50's!
Pat approached me earlier this spring about pairing up for the Duo-Masters category for D2D. With all other Rez Dogs either accounted for or tied to other obligations I thought Pat and I would make for a fairly competitive team.
And that we did.
Despite the epic conditions, odd teamwork issues and one of kind mechanicals, Pat and I managed to pull out a 4th place finish. To elborate some:
-I rode the first lap only to arrive at the transition area with a rear wheel that would hardly spin. I sent Pat out for his 1st full lap then headed to the pit to try and remedy the situation. After working my butt off and trying to unstick a stuck rear piston and running what seemed like a quart of mineral oil through the system, the caliper was still not working right and I couldn't even get my rear wheel in. I then had to make a decision. Do I go out with no rear brake (actually removing the rear pads so my wheel would spin) or do I send Pat out on an unexpected double and call my wife to bring me another rear brake.
I chose the ladder.
Pat came through the transition a little later than expected. He had a rear tire that continually went soft and ended up putting a tube in. I had spent my time waiting for him trying to decide how best to tell him that he had to go out again. The look on his face tells me I didn't figure it out that well, but Pat took off nonetheless for his second lap in a row. Meanwhile I headed over to the the REI mechanics who were volunteering and immediately started working on removing my rear brake. My wife arrived about 15 minutes later and we quickly began remounting my other rear brake. Kudos to the REI mechanic that put up with my shenanigans and helped me complete the task. My wife and he pretty much saved my race day!
Pat came back in with a pretty respectable 2nd lap and I was ready. Having only ridden about 45 minutes at this point, I was chomping at the bit and took off. The west wind had now started to pick up and I used it to my advantage to try to make up some time on the way out...of course coming back around on 2nd Mesa and heading back west that same tailwind was now a demoralizing headwind. I survived and made it back to the transition with a solid 1st lap...happy that the only people to pass me were a pro-rider from ABQ. and another top rider. Not knowing Pat's situation and now being in a completely different race strategy that originally planned, I waited for Pat, unsure if I was suppose to go out again. After about a minute or two I figured Pat had planned on me riding two in a row and I headed out again. (little did I know Pat was actually on his way over to meet me, but running late!)
The wind had become epic at this point and as I made a tight 180 uphill turn on 3rd Mesa, the wind literally blew me off my bike! Living in Gallup and generally used to riding in high winds, this was a 1st for me. Lap three was strong but not quite as fast as lap two for me and the snow was beginning to fall as Pat went out.
Our laps after this were all generally quite good for the conditions and despite the low temps, high winds and snow, the HDT was in good shape and quite fast.
In the end, Lindsay and the crew ended up cutting the race about 2 hours short, so Pat and I each had one more lap for a total of 8 laps in 9 1/2 hours.
All in all it was one heck of a day. Spring in New Mexico is so unpredictable that an endurance race can easily take on a whole new meaning.
Stay tuned for a little ride report from some of the other racers and pics to arrive soon!
thanks for reading,
Here are some pics of some cold racers! Andy and Chuck tore it up to take control of the Gallup Cup for 2011! (they also managed a more the respectable 4th place in the open duo category against Pro riders and the like!)