Calvin’s Challenge Race Report
Here is my preliminary race report on my first ever 12-hour bike race.
To start off, I was roped into this race by two of my very close friends, Zack and Laurie, who also raced this year. I was going to sign up for the 6-hour race, which I had won the previous 2 years, but my friends Laurie and Zack told me to just try the 12-hour.
Fine I would do it, I was certain that I would have to take several breaks and I would not even come close to placing, let alone winning first.
The Thursday before, the day before we left, I received my new bike frame from Quintana Roo, and Zack and I began putting it together. I know it was kinda last minute, but this wasn’t a new thing. I have raced on brand new, never ridden, bikes in the past. After final assembly I jumped on the trainer for a 5 minute bike fit with the help of Eric.
Finally a new tri bike 🙂 It looked phenomenal, I was itching to try it out. I hadn’t raced on a tri bike since Ironman Muskoka in 2015.
Friday morning Zack picked me up and we headed to pick up our friend Laurie. Much different from last year, we were actually going to arrive with enough time to demo ride the course the day before. This was good news, especially since I never had my bike out on the road. 14 miles completed and the bike felt smooth and stiff. I had a good feeling about achieving my goal of over 200 miles for the race.
Saturday morning came, my aero bars were adjusted and wrapped the night before, I was finally ready. Nutrition plan was to swap out my food bottles after every 50 mile loop and to keep water in my front hydration system. We set up the coolers and equipped our winter gear. It had to be mid 40’s that morning and the forecast called for rain. I wore bib shorts, a light jacket, wool socks, shoe covers, balaclava, and gloves. I quickly shed the gloves, because they were sopping wet. For the rest of the race my hands didn’t fully function, leaving only my GU’s, liquid nutrition, and Uncrustables (at the school), available for consumption.
I lined up with the front group, as I normally do when racing. I figured I probably wouldn’t win, but I sure as heck was going to try. The first 3 loops I worked with a group that slowly dropped more and more people, leaving only 4 of us headed into the 4th and final big loop. My newly acquired friend, Wes, and I quickly dropped the other two at mile 3 or 4 and rode the rest of the big loop by ourselves. After much inspirational talk and polite banter, I dropped Wes at the aid station and took off on the 7 mile loops on my own.
At that point, I had no clue where first place was, so I just put my head down and pedaled as hard as I could. I knew that I only had about 2.5 hours left and I felt great. Finally with about 20 minutes or so left in the race I caught and passed Larry, who was in first. I looked over and said, “good job.” Little did I know, he would catch my wheel and continue to draft me until the last 1.5 miles where he passed me and left me to try and catch up with him. My legs were gassed and I could not catch up, but fortunately for me, Calvin’s Challenge is a millage race, giving us both “First Place” trophies.
Larry, a great recumbent cyclist, went on to win the UMCA 12-Hour Championship Jersey, by beating me to the final milage marker. Overall, I exceeded my goal by reaching 250 miles and taking home the first place trophy. What a great day to race, even if it was freezing and raining all day, I wouldn’t have asked for a different experience. It is in the worst of conditions, that we find out who we truly are.
Thank you to everyone who helped me have a great race that day! Special shout out to my sponsor Profile Design, and my friends Zack and Laurie who let me crash with them and for all the help they provided!
P.s. I will post more pictures as soon as I can find some 🙂