Saturday, August 30, 2014

2014 Hoodoo 500





A short prelude:

The Hoodoo 500 is one of the toughest Ultra-Marathon bike races on the planet. This year it was lengthened slightly due to some construction on the course to 521.6 miles from the traditional 519 miles. The elevation gain on the event is about 30,000 feet.

Elevation profile

I was again riding with no sponsorship to bring awareness to The House Clinic in Los Angeles and Neural Tumor Research. I want to thank everyone who believed in me and who supported me in my quest to do this amazing race both financially and with moral support.

Like I mentioned many times in my past stories, these long ones scared me, not because of the distance, but due to the hydration and nutrition issues required to keep the human machine running for 48 hours straight.

I think, in my 62nd year of life, I finally got it dialed in so it works for me. Now maybe I can push the envelope a little more on the next race.

My daughter Nicole, Crew chief Victor Cooper and I drove up to Saint George, Utah on the Thursday before the event. My oldest daughter Cherisse had to work on Friday so she worked a 12 hour day, flew to Vegas, rented a car then drove to Saint George. It’s about a 1.5 hour drive. She got in the morning of the race at 2am!!

What many don't know is that Cherisse and Nicole, have a plethora of crewing experience. As young kids and early on in the Triple Crown Double Century Series they worked and did sag support many times with my sister in law and my wife Ginny in Death Valley, Eastern Sierra, Tour of Two Forests, Grand Tour and others. They worked in Death Valley together with Chuck Bramwells kids and wife a few times. 
Cherisse and Nicole crewed for Vince and I on our tandem LA Wheelmen Quad in 93 and another quad attempt I did solo in 2007. Cherisse crewed for Vince and I again on my 60th birthday Quad in 2012. They were really on top of their game on this one and I was so impressed with my whole crew.
Nicole, Vic and I ready to head to Utah
We stopped on the way for lunch at one of my favorite stops on the way to Death Valley, in Baker, Ca. “The Mad Greek”. They have one of the best date shakes in the world and I indulged in one.
Eating lunch in Baker

We went through an amazing thunder and lightning storm on Hwy 15 just after leaving Baker and I was thinking.......”boy, I may be in for it on the race if these monsoon storms stick around”.

We arrived in St. George in the late afternoon, got our rooms, had dinner, did a little tooling around then retired for the night.

On Friday, Vic and I got up at 5am to do some pre-ride/drive of the course. Vic drove the first part of the support vehicle course to make sure he had it down. After we were done with that, he dropped me off at sunrise at the top of Snow Canyon so I could pre-ride the final 14 miles of the race. I did this at the race directors suggestion. I did not want to get lost on the final stretch of the race after over 500 miles.
It was beautiful. This canyon was an amazing sight at sunrise! I am so glad I did this little pre-ride.

Snow Canyon pre-ride. Photo by Victor Cooper


We went shopping for last minute supplies and food then it was off to have the support vehicle and bikes inspected. That went very well.
Crew van ready and getting the bikes down for inspection

At 7pm in the evening we had check-in and the pre-race meeting. I could not believe how many friends were involved in the race, either riding or supporting in a number of the different solo and team categories.

The 521 mile, solo entrants: I knew 6 of the solo racers very well. I ride with them all the time.
Two woman team T-N-T: My friends Teresa and Terry (center) with their crew Roland and Lilly

It was then time to retire before this epic event.

Vic and I arose at 5am and went to Starbucks to get the wake-up brew for everyone. We came back to the hotel and rousted the girls, loaded the van and were off to pick up the ice and water on the way.



My primary bike getting prepped and pumped.                                       Photo by Tony Musorafite

Almost ready to go                                                                                           Photo by Cherisse Meichtry           


The race started at 7am so we had to rush but got everything set up on time with about 10 minutes to spare.

Race start:
Solo racers ready to go

Solos getting ready to depart

Reality check....cant believe its here and I'm actually doing this....yikes!!  Photos by Victor Cooper
My beautiful daughters Cherisse and Nicole with Vic, cheering us on at the start with friends Teresa and her man, Mark. Teresa is all ready to roll an hour behind us when the teams leave.

Hoo ya.....here we go. Be back in less that than 48 hours.........I hope!!                               Photo by Cherisse Meichtry

Part 1: Saint George, elevation 2,600 feet, to Time station #1.  Kanab, Utah.
             Elevation 5,000 feet. Mile marker 86.6

The first part of the race was an easy, controlled, and paced 7.7 mile roll out of town where we all rode together and followed a pace rider to take us out of town.

As soon as we reached that point the racing began and everyone took off at their own pace.

On this type of race it is very important to just go at your own pace. A pace that you know you can maintain. If you try and chase or keep up with someone who goes out too fast you could just blow yourself up and ruin the whole thing for yourself.
My goal as a rookie of this race was just to pace myself and finish. I had no expectations of winning my division. It is an amazing accomplishment just to finish the Hoodoo 500 or any ultra race for that matter.


We started the first climb as we circled around the Washington Dam just east of St. George.
It seemed like we started climbing right out of the official start. Somewhere near Washington Utah.   Photo by Victor Cooper
 

There were three riders in my age category. Dave Elsberry, a legend and finisher of multiple Race Across Americas. I had a real reality check when I saw him take off and disappear. The other rider in my category is the only rider to ever attempt the Hoodoo 500 on a fixed gear bike. This is just amazing. I can’t even imagine doing a ride with this much climbing and descending on a fixie. His name is Luis Bernhardt.

The terrain was mostly rolling climbs on this first stretch with not many good descents. The scenery just kept getting more beautiful, especially to our north as we rolled through Northern Arizona. We had a cross-wind out of the south.


Rolling through Northern Arizona
Nicky getting read to make a hand-off

Nicole doing a classically perfect bottle hand-off. Nicole handled all my nutrition most of the race.

 Nicole does a perfect hand-off


We rolled into the town of Fredonia before we re-entered Utah. We were very close to the North rim of the Grand Canyon at this point in the race when we reached Hwy 89.
Everything to our south looked pretty flat but I knew that there was a big giant, deep, drop-off out there.

About 4 miles and I was back in Utah and time station one. I felt really good and was keeping about a 6 hour century pace. I was starting to get some “hot foot” in my left foot which concerned me. I got to time station one at 12:13 pm.


Part 2:   Kanab Utah, elevation 5,000 feet, to time station # 2, Red Canyon on Hwy 12.
               Elevation 7,740 feet. Mile marker 157.9
Leaving Kanab it really started getting spectacular. The thought kept going through my head and I kept telling my crew, “I can’t believe I’m doing this”. We also start to gain altitude.

More climbs than descents at the start of this ride.
We rolled up Hwy 89 until we reached scenic Utah Hwy 12. This is one of the most scenic highways in the world.

The team racers started an hour behind us and some of them passed us just before Kanab. Right now there was more starting show up. To my surprise, one of the first to catch the solo riders was the 70+ Team Griz. Amazing......a 70+ age group team doing a ride like this. All seasoned ultra cyclists, they were crushing the course.

We turned on Hwy 12 and started a long climb up into Red Canyon.

 

My awesome crew waiting for me in Red Canyon


Once reaching the canyon the cyclists are required to leave their crew and enter the bike path for about 7 miles to the time station check point.
I was really starting to experience hot foot at this point so I stopped and had the crew spray my feet with a special liquid designed to help the pain. It helped some. A bunch of my friends who were on teams started showing up at this point.

Cherisse doing what she does best. Taking care of athletes injuries so they can still do what they love.

I got my shoes back on and pushed on to the bike path. Riding on this path through Red Canyon was beautiful. I noticed some movement to my left and there it was......a badger.....running along side of me.....Wow!!
Looked just like this one

I exited at the time station for a quick bathroom break and some food. I rolled into time station 2 at 5pm.

Part 3:  Red Canyon, elevation 7,740 feet, to time station #3, Escalante, Utah.
                Elevation 5,872 feet. Mile marker 207.4

When I left the Red Canyon area I had an absolutely amazing descent before riding through some absolutely spectacular scenery in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area.

The next group of 6 spectacular pictures is along the route to Escalante, Utah.
Photo by Victor Cooper
Photo by Victor Cooper

Photo by Victor Cooper

Photo by Victor Cooper
Photo by Victor Cooper

Photo by Victor Cooper
Then it was climb, climb, climb and a really tough 14% grade just before Escalante. I don’t know exactly what they call it but it was one of those that you have to just hunker down and grunt through it. There were many of those to come I was thinking. The summit of this particular climb at mile 189 was around 7,600 feet.


Little Jon Shellenbarger of team Big John-Little Jon

Voyager racer Rick Jacobson

Ouch!
Pretty much all downhill from there, I rolled into time station #3, finishing 207 miles within daylight. This really surprised me!

I arrived at 7:48 pm. I put on my warm weather clothes, took a nice long break and then hit the road.
Getting cold....better be ready for it!

Part 4:  Escalante, elevation 5,872 feet to time station #4, Loa, Utah.
              Elevation 7,048 feet. Mile marker 288.6

Riding into the night on any ride is just amazing, especially when you are in a place like southern Utah! The silhouettes of the mountains and the smells in the air are just amazing.
I started to get a little cold after leaving Escalante, even though, I was dressed for it. Once I had that engine revved up again, I was OK.
This section begins the second toughest climbs on the event. The climb into Boulder and up Boulder Mountain which summits at 9,600 feet!

To make things worse, there is a nasty little climb leading up to Boulder which just seems endless and very steep. The locals call it the “bitch hole”. Perfect name for it because it was a real bitch of a climb in the dark.
 Then we reached Boulder and guess what.......we had to climb a whole freaking mountain in the pitch blackness and cold of the night.
Climbing Boulder Mountain

 It just seemed never ending. I reached the summit soaking wet with sweat but felt really good. The climb was hard and slow but it was just a matter of pacing yourself and not thinking about how long it was taking. Just an amazing and difficult climb. (Victor my crew chief told me that some of the most beautiful scenery in Utah is on this section of the course and we had to negotiate through it in pitch blackness with not even a moon.)

When we got close to the summit the Two Women Team, T-N-T, support vehicle passed us and I knew that one of the girls was not far behind. T-N-T stands for Teresa and Terri.


Teresa (tiger) growling as we passed the van.
Terri crushing Boulder Mountain

Nicole logging in my calorie intake



 I have known both of them for a very long time and they are both legends on the Triple Crown Double Century circuit. They are both Hall of Famer’s
Teresa, (tiger), was my tandem stoker on the double century circuit these last couple years and she is an amazing rider. Terri is a mountain goat type climber and just never stops on a climb. Amazing riders and friends. They ended up setting a course record!

When we reached the summit of Boulder Mountain we saw the crew vehicle of the 4-person, mixed team, Hoo Knew. This team was put together at the last minute and was comprised of friends Kevin Walsh, Keith Jensen, Lori Goldman and Margaret Benson.
Margaret was our navigator for our Race Across the West 4-person team this summer.
These poor guys had one of the support vehicles break down on the mountain and had to wait for many hours to get help. They still finished the race in the allotted time limit even after losing over 5 hours!!

As I started the descent, Teresa (tiger) came growling up behind me and passed me. Most people cannot stay with her on a descent. She has sick descending skills from her mountain bike racing background.

Here comes Tiger growling as she bombs down Boulder Mountain like the animal she is!! Grrrrr!!
I had to stop about 3 times on the descent because I was so wet and cold. The temp was about 42 but it was damp and I would start to shiver. I was breaking to stay slow on the way down just to stay warmer.
Starting down the mountain toward Torrey Utah

Heading down in the cold
After the descent we rolled through Torrey and had some rolling terrain before heading into the time station in Loa.
This is where I planned to take a sleep break and it didn’t come too soon.
I rolled into Loa at 3:50 am and I was tired.  I really wanted to go a little farther but then I started thinking how convenient it was to have the hotel and bathrooms right there. It made sense to make that the stop.
My crew had the van set up so I had a nice space to sleep and it did not take long for me sack out. It was really cold outside so we left the car running with the heater on, set the alarm for one hour and down we went.
Getting ready for La La land. Everyone looks so happy!!
I did not even think I had slept when the alarm went off one hour later but Nicole told me that I was snoring. That heater felt so good while sleeping after coming in from the cold!
I got out of the car, went to the bathroom and hit the road.

Part 5:  Loa, elevation 7,048 feet, to time station #5,  Panguitch, Utah.
              Elevation 6,548 feet. Mile marker 378.5

I rolled out of the hotel at 5:50am. My total down time was about 2 hours in Loa with one hour of sleep. It did not seem like that though. Time kind of gets lost on these things.

As soon as I rolled out of town in the twilight of the early morning, I started climbing again.

Climbing out of Loa,Utah. First light.

 I really did not feel too good and it took me a while to get the engine going again. After about 20 minutes, I was feeling really good.
Climb, climb, climb……it was all climbing out of Loa, Utah.

All of a sudden I heard horses galloping!!  Was this one of those hallucinations you hear about all the time on these ultra-events when the mind starts playing tricks on you?
It was just starting to get light and then I heard a cowboy say giddy-up and a horse whinny! What the heck was going on. Then I heard a long cow mooing sound and trumpets sounding playing the William Tell Overture. It then dawned on me that my crew was playing a CD that we brought along called “Round-Up”. A compilation of songs from western movies along with sound effects. THAT WHOLE THING MADE MY MORNING…..and I really perked up!
Up until then I was kind of in a morning funk.

The climb out of Loa just seemed endless as I was trying to get the motor going again. The terrain looked very similar to desert plains with no trees, just scrub brush. I saw a sign up ahead that said “summit” and I felt relieved.
It was then that I looked down at my Garmin.
Here I was, in an area that looked like plains, not mountains, and I was at an altitude of about 8,400 feet with mountains around me on both sides. Crazy…..this is almost the same altitude as Onyx summit back in the San Bernardino Mountains and it’s a mountain summit, not a summit on some scrub brush plains. I found this very amusing.

Ten miles from Loa.....the summit....A "High Plains Drifter"
Summit.....Yay!!
 The descent off of this was glorious!!

About 6 miles with a drop of about 1,500 feet. Not technical, and fairly straight. I got in the aero bars and coasted the whole way to conserve energy. Vic said he clocked me at about 50mph on the drop and I was not even trying.

I now made a quick left turn and then another left on Utah Hwy SR-62 toward Panguitch.
Victor told me that this section which leads into the next time station, traditionally, has very bad head winds. I think I made it early enough that I did not have it too bad.
I was feeling really good now and started to strip the layers as the sun came up and warmed things up.
It was right about here that we started to encounter some of the other solo riders after my long break in Loa. Two riders. Bill Packard, a veteran of this race and a RAW solo finisher in 2013 and Luis Bernhardt, the rider on the fixed gear bike. We would be swapping places together for the entire balance of the race. Our crews really got to know each other and had a great time. (Another great thing about this type of event. You meet awesome people!)
Bill Packard and his crew. Really nice people and they cheered me on every time I passed their vehicle. I love the ultra community!

The closer we got to Panguitch, the worse the head winds came up. I started feeling fantastic when I noticed that I felt kind of sluggish all of a sudden. Then I noticed that the tire was going flat in the rear. I had the bike stripped down and so I was not carrying a pump or gear. The crew was leap frogging support so they had everything. They had just past me and went around the corner toward the town of Koosharem.

I was hoping that they saw me stop in the mirror but no such luck. I took the rear wheel off and checked for debris in the tire then just waited, hoping the crew would come back.

After about 5 minutes, Bill came rolling up and I asked him to tell my crew if he saw them up ahead. He said will-do and headed on. Not long after that, Luis came rolling up and offered me a pump but that is all he had. I told him that Bill went up ahead to tell them. What great sportsmen!
I waited for what seemed like about 20 minutes before my crew came driving back. Victor fixed the tire while I had some food and a coke, then I was on my way.

When I got into town I saw Luis taking a coffee break at a store and waved to him and his crew. I rolled through and started up a small canyon toward Panquitch. The wind was kicking up pretty good now and I got down in my aero bars.
I caught up to Bill and rode with him for about the allowed 15 minutes. A really nice guy.

The following section was continuous up and down rolling terrain with a head wind.

I rolled into time station #5 in Panquitch at 12:22pm. Standing there running the time station was my good buddy Tony. Tony was our crew chief when Victor, John and I did RAW (Race across the West).
He let me lay on the hotel bed so Cherisse could do some massage on my back with the roller. Boy that felt good.

Cherisse doing her thing again......wait.....something is tickling my leg. Somehow I had a feeling who/what it was......Tony???

Part 6:   Panguitch, elevation 6,548 feet and over Cedar Breaks at 10,600 feet, to time   
               station #6, Cedar City.
               Elevation 5,749 feet. Mile marker 437.4

We talked for a while at the time station and I got changed into different clothes.

I told George Thomas of “Over the Top Radio” that I would fly his cycling kit while summiting Cedar Breaks on this race. I had already signed up for Hoodoo when I won Over the Tops photo contest with my picture of Santa Monica Bay from the top of Saddle Peak Road in the Santa Monica Mountains. My prize was their cycling kit so I thought it would be a perfect summit to show respect for that logo……Over the Top!

Cedar Breaks is a beast!!!!!

Leaving Panguitch, I rolled out of town for less than a mile before I saw it. A road that seemed to go straight up. Victor, who had done the race a couple of time on 4-person teams, told me that the first section is the toughest as far as the percentage of grade is concerned.
Climbing out of Panguitch talking to my friend Kevin Walsh  (Wolverine) for a little bit.

Bill Packard climbing out of Panguitch way down below and only at the bottom of this monster 36 mile climb
Cedar breaks is at an elevation of 10,600 feet. Panquitch is in a valley at an elevation of about 6,500 feet. That’s an elevation gain of about 4,100 feet in about 36 miles, not to mention that it is all done at a high altitude. WOW!!

Some people told me that this was a 3 hour climb. That did not sound right because I had some of my very strong cycling friends tell me that it is about a 5-6 hour climb.
I was about to find out.

I just took it easy on the first steep section which turned out to be about 10% in some places then leveled to about 4-5%. As I was reaching the top of this first section I saw my friend Kevin Walsh coming up behind me. He was part of team Hoo Knew, the team whose car broke down before Loa. They had made the repairs to the car and were back on course. Kevin said hi for a second and then blasted up the road to try and make up the lost time.
Never having done this course, I decided to take the advice of some of my friends who have and just pace myself up this. This was an amazingly beautiful climb. Aspen and cedar trees all around and right in the middle of the climb was Panguitch Lake.

I really noticed something that had not happened to me before. On the first leg of the race before Loa and my sleep break, I had no problem maintaining a good heart rate without going over my limit and I felt really strong.
On this climb I was not having a problem at all with breathing in the thin air but my legs felt lifeless. I kept looking down at my Garmin and it would tell me I was on only a 5% grade. A 5% grade felt like a 12% grade. I chalked it up to the altitude and thin air. Must not be enough oxygen in the blood and tissues. Stands to reason right?
Luis and Bill were feeling the same thing. Luis had a power meter on his fixie and he said his watts did not match his perceived effort. It was crazy. His watts were really low.


Bill, Luis and I kept trading places the whole way up. At one point Luis stopped and I saw him taking a nap in the support car. Bill and I kept leap frogging each other as we took short stops to catch a break.
My “hot foot” was really killing me now and slowing me down drastically.
Cedar Breaks here I come


My girls giving me a 350 calorie Ensure.....I am in AARP you know!


When I got near the lake, Victor asked me if I could handle a milk shake from the restaurant there. I said yes and heading up the road.  Not long after that they came up and passed and I stopped at one of the flatter sections for a break. I drank about 2/3 of the shake while Cherisse sprayed some of that hot foot, Lidocaine spray, on my feet again.
Drinking a vanilla shake and getting the feet tended to.

While I was sitting there resting, Luis came flying up the hill on his fixed gear just looking very strong. I would not see him after this until the time station. He was obviously feeling much better!!

After getting back on the bike, I caught up to Bill again just as we hit the last few big kicker hills not far from the summit. His two girl crew were awesome. They kept rooting us all on with cow bells on the whole climb.
Bill and I heading toward the 10,600 foot summit of Cedar Breaks
Bill Packard





                                                  A grunt of a summit at 10,600 feet

I made the left turn toward Cedar Breaks and Vic said there was a little climbing left. That was an understatement at this point in a 500 mile race. We were at about 10,500 at the turn and then we had to drop down to go back up to the summit a couple of times.
Cherisse and Nicole at Cedar Breaks Overlook

After going over the summit we had an awesome descent which I just bombed down on to Hwy SR-14 at 9,700 feet. Then there was a grunt of a little climb of about 200 feet of gain before the next summit.

Now came a big reward!!

A 17.9 mile, 4,158 foot descent down to Cedar City.

It really got hot on the way down and I had to strip off my jacket and longer gloves. I thought it would be colder on the way down. I was flying down and made it to Cedar City and time station #6 at 6:56pm. 
After leaving Panguitch it took me about 5.5 hours to get to Cedar City. It took that long to go about 59 miles…….WOW!!  That was tough!





Flying down the canyon into Cedar City




Part 6:  Cedar City, elevation 5,749 feet to time station #7, top of Snow Canyon.
              Elevation 4,151 feet, mile marker 507.2


When we got to Cedar City, it was hot. I stopped for a little bit to take a few more things off. The crew went in to use the bathroom. As I was waiting, I saw Luis take off on his fixie.
I would always catch him on a descent because the hardest thing about riding a fixed gear bike is descents.
We rolled through town for a little bit and then started a gradual climb into a head wind. The sun was setting in our face. It seemed like an endless climb. It is the type I hate. A straight road without any switch-backs sucks to me. It just went on forever and ever.

 

I pulled over to put the lights on the bike. My feet were hurting so bad now that it was really slowing me down big time. My legs felt fantastic at this point, I had plenty of energy from fueling properly, but I could not hardly push on the pedals because my feet hurt so much.
Cherisse decided to try some special tape on my feet and it worked pretty well on this one climb.

After a long slog, I reached the summit and started the descent into the town of Newcastle. Just before Newcastle I descended and caught up with Luis again.
 Reaching the summit out of Cedar City
I was feeling really good at this point and everything seemed to be recovering in the cool weather on the descent. I flew by Luis and his team and then made the turn toward Enterprise. The road started to climb again and my hot foot came back with a vengeance!!  The crew wanted to make a driver change and I was forced to slow way, way down due to my feet.
 It’s amazing how such a small thing can kill everything else. My legs were feeling good and strong, there was oxygen and I had lots of energy but the feet killed it all. (I have to get this addressed)
Not long after this, just before Enterprise, Bill passed me too. He looked really good!

I made the turn in Enterprise and started a gradual, 1,000 foot climb on Hwy SR-18 and mile marker 475. I could only push an easy gear up this climb. My feet were in bad shape.
It was beautiful doing this climb in the dark though. I saw numerous deer in my headlight by the side of the road. Must have seen 20 or 30 of them along the way.
Once I reached the summit, it was a e-ticket ride for a long while until I reached a little rise before Snow Canyon State Park.
I rolled into time station #7, Snow Canyon at 1am.
As I was rolling in, Luis’s crew was driving out.
Our crews are required to call race headquarters at this point to check us-in, then drive down the highway to the finish which is on Hwy 18 in Saint George. We are required to do the final 14 miles self-supported.

Part 7:  Time Station #7, elevation 4,151 feet to Finish in Saint George.
              Elevation 2,600 feet, Mile marker 421.6

My crew put my seat bag on my bike with spare tubes, pump and tools for the final descent through the park into town. I also took my cell phone just in case. I pre-rode the last 14 miles before the race so I could see all the turns. I had heard of people getting lost out on the last self-supported miles when very tired.

I cruised down the hill through the park and just took it easy. I did not want to hit a deer or desert tortoise at this point in the race in the dark. The brochure about the park was mainly talking about wildlife at night time in the park.

I just enjoyed the descent and used the brakes a lot. When I passed the guard gate, I rolled the final miles through town feeling really good about my effort.

I pulled into the finish line four minutes behind Luis and a little before 2am feeling tired but good with my crew cheering me on. What an amazing race.




Final stats:

Time limit:                      48:00:00 hrs
Ride time:                       37:19:02
Elapsed time:                  42:57:48
Sleep time:                      1 hr
Time off bike:                 5.7 hrs  (need to work on this)
Calories burned:             17,000
Calories consumed:        14,000 approx.

All the GPS data:  http://www.strava.com/activities/185411061

Click here to see all the pictures.
Here are the links to parts 1-4 of Ultra Race Report with very good broadcast video of the event.
They explain the event very well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig3k-L5vSzo&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Bq3_8CKSjc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-ldTVw-3kI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdn55CQqNbQ


Thank you to my awesome crew, Victor Cooper and my daughters Cherisse and Nicole. You guys have no idea how much this meant to me having you there for support on my first try at this grueling race. 
  
It was great having my two awesome daughters Cherisse and Nicole along for the event. Both of them very accomplished in their fields, they were incredible to have with me. Cherisse as a Certified Athletic Trainer with her masters in Exercise Science and Health Promotion and Nicole with her dual masters in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. I guess you can tell I am proud of my awesome girls!!
And Victor, you are truly part of the family now that you have bonded with my girls. All I could hear through the race was you guys laughing back there. 

 I would like to thank everyone who contributed to help me do this race and bring awareness to my cause, The House Clinic and Neural Tumor Research.

I would like to congratulate all my friends who finished this amazing race in all divisions. It was great seeing all of you before, during and after the race at the banquet. I only wish we had more time to talk.  You guys and gals all rock!!

Thanks to Deb and Brian Bowling of Planet Ultra. You guys put on an amazing event. Wow......what a beautiful course!!



Last but not least, I would like to thank my wonderful family for all the support you have given me. Thanks to my beautiful wife Ginny for putting up with my long hours in training and on events. Miss you on the tandem honey!!  Thanks go out to Vince, Mardjie and Ginny's Mom and Dad for the donation of my crew vehicle again for the event.

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