Wednesday, August 6, 2008

24-9 Nationals Race Report

Not too many changes were made to my bikes before this year's 24-9. However, of the few, was one huge change that changed my race. Just weeks before the start we received a shipment of some ERGON GR2 grips. Those grips kept me on the bike for 24 straight hours. All be it sometimes slow, I rode every climb to the end.

Nutrition on the cycling side was exclusively Clif Shots and Clif Shot Bloks. On the human side: Peter Balistreri. He is the head chef at my favorite Italian restaurant, Sala Da Pranzo, near the UWM campus in Milwaukee. He whipped up the most amazing Bolainez sause w/pasta that truly gave me the night energy I needed. So, now add in his natural pit man instincts and he becomes a man you will do anything for in order to keep pitting for you in the future. He helped run and organize the entire race. He met me at Red Bud every single lap and never showed defeat in his face. THANK YOU Pete! You rocked.

Polska did me the favor of holding my bike during the LeMans start.

Endurosnob snuck in for a little EXPO pre-race treatment. Gotta love the perks.

We were still 5 or so minutes from the start. My nerves still hadn't hit me.

The countdown was on. If finally was able to elbow Aris to tell him "It finally hit me".
The start went well...Aris got out front, and I didn't lose any bottle neck time on the first lap.
Aris and Carloski were 1-2 on the bikes.

John G heading out for lap one.
So after lap one I was running in 1st. Feeling great. Feeling fast.
Then lap two hits me. My seat post starts sliding down mm by mm. I didn't notice it until it was just too late. The heat, Watching the SS Nation pass me like I wasn't moving, The BMX style riding. It all played a roll in creating my poor mental state during the early hours. I hit Red Bud to tell Pete to measure the post on my second bike so I could just take the second bike without having to wait. (note for future: Write down all measurements prior to race).
My body just didn't want to go. I watched 7 singlespeeders over the next two laps. Sean Reeder, 2008 SS National 24hr Champ, was the first to pass me. He never looked back. Then it was Endurosnob. He was flying, so fast that he injected fear straight into my ass. Then it was Hal, friend of Paddy's, who rode with me just long enough to say that we were in it for the long haul.
And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse. Joe Partridge zooms by me so fast all he could do was reach out and touch my side. He added in a look of "What the...?". I tried so hard to get on his wheel in the Red Bud section. Of course, he knew I would try that too, he was GONE. I was DONE, mentally at least.
Lap four, Dallas Sigurdur caught me, then rode with me. We talked the good talk. Then he stopped for water at an aid station. I left him behind with a slight feeling of 'feel good'. Short lived it was cause he stormed by me as if he never stopped.
By the start of lap 5 I was sitting in 8th place. Not where you want to be. However, I was riding consistently slow, so why not stay on the bike. I was only a lap or so from the start (the race doesn't start till night)
Buckwheat knows where to hang.

Joe Horvath was another superstar wrench. He cleaned and prepped a EXPO junior bike every lap as well as my spare bike whenever needed. The favor will be returned this cross season. Thanks Joe!

Time for lights and time for Assos. Endura FS260-Pro Bibshorts carried me the distance. Extremely comfortable and consistent, they never broke down. They have passed the 24hr test. I love'em.

Aris double checked my light set-up one last time. The fastest junior still finds time to help out his bro. (note: Theo already did in the pic above) The bros were always on the lookout for me.
One last swig of water and I was off for a whole new ride.

The night seemed like a blur. I didn't want to know the time or my lap count. I was feeling too good to have times bring me down. I just started to feel faster and faster. I caught a SS here and a SS there. I would even catch Pete by surprise at Red Bud cause I would hit it early. Before I knew it, the crew told me I was in fifth.
I wanted to get even faster. My batteries would take me two laps so I would tell Pete at Red Bud to give me bottles and food at the transition tent instead of the pit. That way I would pit while I am already off the bike. That's how the night went. Quick pit, change batteries/eat, Quick pit, change batteries/eat. I reeled everyone but Sean back. The night provided me my 3rd and 4th fastest laps and a podium spot for a third year in a row.

It is races like these that have me just marvel at what the body can do. I have never felt such lows AND so many highs in the same race. Anything truly can happen in 24hours.

SPONSORS again gave me the tools. Thank you ERGON, Clif Bar, Trek, Oakley, Lazer, Endura, Expedition Supply, Light & Motion, WTB and last but not least, my crew!

Trixie, For weeks you deal with my ornery ass, only to forget it all and support me like no other.

Oh, yeah. Muddy Cup - even when they are closed, they make me three Strawberry smoothies for some post race goodies.

The crew - minus Kyle, Jeff, Deanna, John and Kathy.
Shelley, Phil, Pops, Me, The "O", Trixie, Aris, Pete, Brandon, Joe. Bottom - Griff and Jordan.
I think next year takes us to Zona...


SquidBuzz said...

Thanks for the photos.

I love the team photo. Those are the types that everyone should take after such an event.

Congrats to all of Team Expo.


BENDER said...

Mad Props, to you and the whole EXPO crew!

Carlos said...

Good job dude, you made it again.
Aris and Theo looked really strong and kept the cocky team worried all the time.
Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Awesome job coming from behind to get on the podium.

check it out