Tuesday, June 22, 2010

24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest: Race Review

The 24HITEF Race - The Summary:
What should I say? What do I need to say? 24HITEF was an amazing race! 
The race organization was perfect - thanks Lindsay, Claudia, Donna, Lisa... and everyone else
The course design was perfect - thanks Bill & others
The course preparation was perfect - thanks YCC
The staging area was perfect
The weather was perfect
The cows were friendly
The mosquitos & bugs only took what blood was required

I can look back at every race I've competed in and and can always come up with a 'should of', a 'didn't'  and / or  a 'that was stupid'. (Wait - do I really compete? Maybe, maybe not.) Anyway, I can honestly say that I wouldn't change a thing for 24HITEF. Awesome Race. Gallup is Awesome! And I grew up in Durango, so I know all the Gallup jokes. Anyway, next year will be a zoo. The race will be huge once the word gets out. But that's cool. Next year I'll be ready to roll and will fight my way through the zoo to the back of the front of the pack, not the front of the back of the pack. 

Brian Leddy authored an awesome review of the race for Mountain Flyer Magazine. Check it out - The 24HITEF Mountain Flyer Link, Dude!

Nathan Friedman / Handlebar Sandwich, 2nd Solo Single Speed, wrote this killer blog posting. 24HITEF - Lucky Number 7

The 24HITEF Volunteer Crew:
24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest had
THE BEST 24 hour volunteer group - ever. The support stations and transition area were staffed with incredible people, the enthusiasm was unbelievable. The cheering, bell ringing, support definitely lifted spirits during the late night psychosis.

The Back of the Pack Racers:
The Back of the Pack founding members. The Judd (The Philosofizer), Tedd (The Morale Chairman), The Lt Col (The Elder Statesman). Where is Prob-eee? At the back of the back of the racing pack. As usual.  A new friend of BPR's, Matt Pacheco, sent me this pic. Thanks Matt. See you at the Crazy 88 in Flagstaff. FYI #1: Notice that Judd is at the front of the back of the pack. As always, I'm preparing to make my break. I can only take Tedd and his B.S. for so long. FYI #2: Notice that we are all riding Black Sheep Bikes, fully rigid. Yep, that's why Prob-eee is Prob-eee. He doesn't have a Black Sheep, thus he can't hang at the front of the back of the pack.

BPR, The Race:
The race strategy was simple, complete 2 hour laps - includes both riding and transition time. Some laps faster, some slower. This strategy would allow me to come close to my 200 mile goal. (unfortunately 12 laps was just shy of 200 miles, like 0.8 miles short, if you assume a 16.7 miles loop and ~ a 15.5 mile 1st lap.) Well, a few things went wrong and I was done after lap 11. I finished around 10:40AM, not the minimum time of 1 hr 45 min I needed to finish a brutal 12th lap, my personal cutoff time was 10:15AM.

Check out the following link for the race data and some cool pics:
the data and pics, dude!

Physical status / race preparation: No problems. The body held up great. This was amazing since I was off the bike for 2 weeks. Why would I take two weeks off? Wasn't my idea, sometimes I'm sent out of town to do crazy stuff in crazy places.

Mental status: I fought off a few demons during the race, not much of a problem. My sports psychologist helped me develop a bullet proof game plan. Sports Psychologist? Yeah, that's me. There are many things I can't do / won't do - like cook. But I excel at many things - like philosofizing and psychologizing (misspelling intentional, dude!)

Results / Awards:
Avery - BPR Hero of the Day Award 
4th place kids race

Judd - BPR ' I hurt but these cranks are still turning' award 
3rd place, ~ 182.5 miles.

The Lt Col - BPR ' I may be slow, but I'm fueled by pepperoni pizza and I'll finish' award 
4th place ~ 182.5 miles.

Tedd, The Morale Chairman. BPR ' I'm done, no I'm not, yes I am, no I'm not' award
5th place, ~ 132.4 miles.

Prob-eee, BPR ' My stomach hurts, I'm tired, I can't find the porta nester' award
8th place ~82.3 miles.

Ricky Bobby - BPR Crew of the Month Award
Thanks a million Bobby we owe you.

Solo Single Speed Podium: Fran Bach / Bach Builders, Nathan Friedman / Handlebar Sandwich, Judd / Back of the Pack Racing
Lessons Learned:
1. Spokes - do a complete prerace bike inspection @ home, it’s not smart to show up with broken spokes on the race wheels. Broken stuff takes the 'backup' out of the backup.

2. To break 200 miles, lap transitions MUST be optimized, pit operations must be efficient. If you save 5 to 10 mins a lap, you could save enough time for that extra lap at the end.

3. Check tire pressure, sometime. I was running below 20 psi after lap 10. Didn't even think about it, until then. Yeah, I start with 40 psi. I like 40 psi, end of story.

4. Food preparation - no more passing the buck. I caved in on lap 6; I was out of gas. This led to a 90 minute disaster - see next lesson learned. 

5. Stay warm between laps. You're sweating, you stop, it’s cold at night, you get major chills, you can't ride. Stay warm.

6. Figure out the right chain lube and application cycle. My chain is always gunked up, Lt Col’s is always dry. What's the correct product and procedure?

7. Intermediate results don't matter. Just keep the cranks turning until the race is over. Why would I say this? Because, I rely on the Lt Col to watch the standings and give me the required input. Well, I can't wait around all day for the Lt Col, I need to keep the cranks turning.

8. Have a post race plan for food. Food doesn't fall out of the sky. Solo racers have no energy to fix dinner. Solo Judd NEVER fixes dinner. 

9. It's OK to participate in late night shenanigans, you can still make the front 
of the Back of the Pack if you don't treat your body nice the night before.

10. It's OK to race in jeans. If you're cold, you're cold. What other options are there? I had the chills prior to my midnight lap, jeans were my only option to beat the chills and keep riding. (Long story, refer to #4 and #5 above.) I was roasting at the 5 mile mark, but cooled off on the downhill. I broke the hot / cold cycle via jeans. Try it. It may work for you.

11. It's OK to show up to the race a) bloated, b) obese, c) tired. It's all about the positive attitude. 

12. The nights leading up to the race, don't leave a full keg under BPR supervision.

13. BPR will always trade race support for a supersized primo spot, free beer, and great company.

14. Don't fly one of the military's most advanced aircraft (with the tightest cockpit) after riding 182 miles in 24 hours. Right Lt Col? Brilliant.

15. Mosquito Control? How about hiring Fat Bastard to Carpet Bomb the 24HITEF Staging Area. I think it would work.

General Questions to Answer:
1. How do we, BPR, secure a beer sponsorship? All we need is a 1/4 barrel keg per race and digital artwork. We will fund the patches, the banners, the shirts, the marketing, the fame. Any killer brewers out there willing to take us up on the offer?  

2. Why can I race for 24 hours, ~ 182 miles, but I still get tired walking up the steps at work? That’s bizarre. Would I get tired walking through Walmart - if I went to Walmart?

Final Thoughts:
Back of the Pack had a very successful 24HITEF race. Serious miles were logged by the team. But I, Judd, failed in my goal. I 'dusted' The Lt Col by about one hour. My goal was to smoke the Lt Col by 2 laps. I didn't give the Lt Col enough credit prior to the race. Well, I don't accept failure. I need a new strategy. Maybe keeping my mouth shut is a good strategy. But would that be any fun?

This community is full of awesome people. Back of the Pack Racing made many new friends we look forward to seeing again soon. 

And... The Back of the Pack Racing membership application will be posted soon. Probationary memberships are available to all racers, rigid single speed - of course. Full membership? Well, that is a little more difficult. (Not really, unless your name is Prob-eee.)

And Just Remember:
The Back of the Pack Store will be open soon. Why? Because. We are a small team. Minimum orders are huge, my house is full of 'stuff'. Well it was. I need to work on the inventory.

The Videos & The Pics:
Check these out. Not as long as usual. I know, you wanted the killer tunes. Well, check out my course videos posted in May - Click Here Dude!

The Ride to the Start. Funny Stuff! Well, funny to me.
24HITEF - The Ride to the Start from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest, cruising to the starting line

The Race - 1st Lap, just a subset of the video. Why? Because.

24HITEF - The Race from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest- 1st Lap of the Race

The Back of the Pack Crew: 3 Founding Members and Prob-eee
Which one is Prob-eee? Guess.

Avery - 4th Place
Rockin' the single speed for Back of the Pack at the 24HITEF Kids Race

Ricky Bobby - The Ultimate Back of the Pack Pit Crew Leader

The Brothers Rohwer Don't Talk. So my beautiful niece Avery stayed Sunday night to supervise. Well, Avery has the look down and she was the go-between for the brothers. Thanks Avery. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

24 Hours in the Canyon - Race Review

Palo Duro Canyon is one cool place, or should I say one HOT place. The Back of the Pack crew (racers, family / crew members) headed out Friday AM for the 24 Hours in the Canyon. The plan was simple: drive to Palo Duro Canyon, preride, rest, race for 24 hours, recover, drive back to New Mexico. Well, all went as planned, you could say. Not much to these 24 hour races, right? Yeah, right.

As always,  a well crafted race strategy is pretty much worthless once the race starts. This race was no different. The initial strategy was basic - get on the bike, ride, ride, ride. The strategy quickly changed to survival. Why? Well, it was hot, so hot the national weather service issued a severe weather warning. Who knows how hot it was, I don't. The thermometers were pegged past 120 deg. Yeah, the thermometers were in the sun, so... who knows.

Overall, the race was well organized, great people, great job. The course was great - nice single track, technical in spots, not much climbing, not as fast as I would expect, a ton of fun. Check out the Google Earth image, the gps data and the video. The 8 mile loop helped with our survival strategy, sub 60 minute laps allowed us to recover from the heat. Plus once the heat induced demons took over the brain (usually at mile 4.5) we only had about 20 minutes of riding until we hit the camp. So it all worked out.

Ok, enough words.

The results:

Tim - The Lt Col: Crashing, Burning & Surviving Award - 2nd Place, ~ 137.8 miles.

Judd: Just Riding, Chillin' & Sleeping Award - 4th Place, 121.54 miles.

Prob-eee: The Rookie of the Year Award - 8th Place, ~ 73.4 miles. (Yeah, he is the 1st BPR Rookie in 2010, so we aren't going out of the way by assigning this award.) Oh yeah, who's Prob-eee? Well, we don't use real names when we refer to probationary members of Back of the Pack Racing. We have a formal process - we must follow the process. Probationary members are always referred to as Prob-eee in social circles. That way us founding members can pull off the ultimate "Who, that guy? We don't know him. We don't even know his name. He had a bunch of cold beer so we invited him over." (Sorry Scott, but the hazing will continue.)

Tedd: Forget this Heat, Forget this Ride, I'm Hanging Award - 10th Place, ~ 41.4 miles.

The Lessons Learned:
1) If it is soooo hot that you think your face is melting - take a look in the mirror when you return to camp. Your face is probably not melting, but check just to be sure.
2) Horse flies would rather bite through socks and mesh on shoes - skin is too easy a target
3) Perpetuem, caffe latte flavor, turns into brownies in 120 deg heat. That would be caffe Latte flavored brownies. Just ask Scott, I mean Prob-eee
4) Plan to use all available sets of race gear. For x sets change evey 24 / (x + 1) hours
5) Don't ride like a possessed gorilla, just because - right Lt Col?
6) Wicked wounds on the 'backside' often produce an 'ooze'. The ooze definitely turns into a topical anesthetic after a couple of hours. Just block out the pain, block out the blood running down the legs, it will get better. The ooze is your friend.
7) Every race seems to be 'The World Championships' for someone out there. Yeah, some dude was trying to break the Palo Duro Canyon speed record. He almost sent us both to the ER. Well, I'm sure my 210 pound frame would survive the impact. His 140 pound frame? Who cares, he was racing in the 'Palo Duro World Championships'. He had something to prove to someone. Ok, maybe not. 
8) P.S. We've got DLJ

Quote of the Trip:
'... there is a Moral Flexibility'

Follow the link for Data and Pics
Data and Pics - all the Data & all the pics

The Video, Lap 1:
The video is long. I only cut out about 1 minute of action, pavement action. I like music, I like heavy music. I like data and video, I don't like filtering data or truncating video. So, watch it or don't. (I'm sure the Back of the Pack Fan Club will be all over the rare footage of the Lt Col, the B.P.R Elder Statesman - and Tedd, the eponymous Back of the Pack racer)  

24 Hours in the Canyon - The Race from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
24 Hours in the Canyon, Lap 1

The Google Earth Stuff:

A view, west is 'up'

Looking South - (Yeah, 'looking' is a good word for Google Earth, maybe not)

The GPS Stuff: One Loop

The GPS Stuff: Judd's Race (Only 15 Laps Completed, Trigger Finger on Lap 6, Dude!)
The Back of the Pack Racers, The Hardware. (Prob-eee is on the left)

The Judd, The Sheep, The IPA

The Monday Morning Pale Ale, B.P.R. Celebration of...Something