6-12-24 Hour World Time Trian Championships 2022

 



The 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championships put on by the Race Across America (RAAM) organization is one of the best-run events in the world. Great people, great venue location, and perfect course for a long-time trial.

Borrego Springs California is the location.

Borrego is an amazing place to visit any time but it’s especially nice in October/November when the event is held.

 This would be my 4th time doing the 24-hour race. My first time was a solo tandem bike, the second time was solo 60-69 division, and in 2019 I did the 24 in the 2-mixed standard bike division with my friend Teresa, who was my tandem partner in 2016. We were able to ride 406 miles together in the 2 person division. We had a lot of fun. 


The course is an 18-mile circuit with a pit area for support. The pit area is at the start/finish where the tracking device/lap counter is. 
For the 24-hour race, the idea is to get as many laps in as you can in 24 hours. At about 1.5 hours from the 5 pm finish, they put you on a short 4+ mile loop till finish time. That way racers will be able to be closer to the lap counter and get as many miles as possible and not be stranded out on the long loop, not making it to the finish in time. All racers must be done and through the Shute by 5pm.

This year I moved up into a different division. I turned 70 this year so I would now be in the 70-79 division.

The 60-69 division this year had a lot of riders. The 70+ only had me and 2 others. One was a very strong rider from France who is the current 70-79 record holder. He is also the oldest RAAM finisher. He did RAAM when he was 69 and finished. I had no expectations about beating him in this race though. I just wanted to go out and have fun, so I set the goal of doing 300 miles. 
I had not really trained for this race like I did in 2018. I did ride a lot of miles but really did not work on the speed at all.

I had a great crew for the race. My friend Ron came with me and did a great job taking the stress of all the preparation away. 

We came out to Borrego on the Thursday before the race and did a little riding. 

I did the yearly friendship ride with one loop of the course hosted by Ultra-cycling legend Marko Baloh.
Marko talked to us before our little pre-race ride the day before. 

With my friend and former Irish pro, Mick Walsh, and the head honcho himself Fred Boethling




It was a lot of fun.
 While I was doing that, Ron was out riding and exploring and taking pictures on his hybrid bike that he brought along. 


Race Day

Sunrise from our room





We woke up to a spectacular sunrise on Friday morning, race day.

It was calm outside with no wind like we had on Thursday. The forecast for the race was for minor winds which is great. 

We had a great breakfast at the resort where we were staying then headed back to the room to get ready and load up. 

We had to be in the pit area for staging at around 11am. 

We got there a little bit early and waited in the line of cars to be let into the pits. Then the staff would show us where to set up our pit area. 

Ron relaxing after setting up our pit area





My good friend and 508 crew chief, Ellen, was a race official.
 She stopped by for a chat and some munchies at our pit before the race on race-day.  
It was so much fun seeing her out on the course flagging us through the only stop sign on the course and doing a little dance every time!



It was nice and cool this year during preparation in the pits. What a Godsend!! 
The preparation process out in the desert sun can be outright draining before racing. 

My wave started at about 5:02 pm.

I checked in, got the bike ready, went to the pre-race meeting then I was off.

I started off a little overdressed but I was glad I did. The temperature dropped very quickly once the sun went down. 

A few laps into the race before it got really cold                Photo: RAAM media


The main issue I had during the night was the cold.

I am usually really good in the cold but with age, comes a loss of muscle mass and I think that contributed to my getting much colder. My leg muscles would not warm up, the quads were really hurting similar to riding after a tough ride when not recovered, and I was extremely cold all night this time.
The temperature got down to the low 40s which I ride in all the time with no problem at home. There is something about the desert cold though.  

Added to that was another contributing factor. I am now on a beta blocker heart medication that does not allow my heart rate to get too high. There were times during the cold night when I could not get my HR above 90 BPM even though I had the sensation I was pushing fairly hard. I just felt off!

I am not a doctor, but could it be that I was just not getting enough blood flow and oxygen to my legs? Who knows. It was weird. I really felt like I was not recovered from a big ride.

I was really comfortable on the bike and had no problem with my nutrition intake during the night. I was taking in over 350 calories per hour during this time and had no problem digesting it. 

About halfway through the night when I came in to warm up in the car because I was so cold, Ron noticed that my bike's headset was very loose. 

When I went back out, I switched to my Specialized Roubaix. This is the bike I used in 2018 with no problem. I just was not as comfortable on this bike this time and it slowed me down. (My primary bike is the one I have been fit on. Although I tried to match the measurement with the Roubaix, I don't think it was quite the same.)

I  was toast just before sunrise and I had lost a lot of time by stopping due to the cold. This time I had no problem with my back or my feet like in past years thanks to my bike fit. 

A little after sunrise, Ron got the headset adjusted and I got back on my primary bike. 


Sunrise in the pits


I couldn't believe it. Once the sun came up and it warmed up a bit, my heart rate went up a bit and I started to recover nicely. I was really comfortable and pushing much harder. Ron was watching the tracker and I was passing a lot of people that were ahead of me.
Rolling past the famous dragon.                            Photo: RAAM media

Is that an elephant on my back?                            Photo: RAAM media

Rolling down the backstretch and feeling great.                Photo: RAAM media


It never really got too hot during the day with a high temp around 79. My actual lap times got better with time and I ended up feeling really good the rest of the race.

Here I come................................... On the short loop rolling through the pits.


On the short loop rolling through the pits


I ended up with 321 miles for the race and was a little over a lap behind the second-place guy from France. 

After the fact, I wondered how many more miles I could have put in if I just could have pushed at my usual pace through the cold night. 
Plus...I was over 3 hours off the bike in the pits. 
I also stopped a little early and could have done one more short lap at the end. (my brain told me I didn't have time but I did since I started my race a little after 5pm.)

All in all, I had a lot of fun, got to see and catch up with many friends, and ended up surpassing my goal even with the problems. It was all good!

In my bike category which was a standard bike, solo men, I was 29th out of 52 racers.
Overall including the women, tandems, recumbents, and fixed gears, my rank was 47th out of 90 racers

Not bad for an old fart.



The next morning we had a great breakfast with friends which has become our tradition every year. 
Our breakfast group



Another one is in the books. I am already thinking about next year. Maybe the tandem again. We will see. 

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