Tuesday, October 13, 2009

24 Hours of Moab

Short Version:
I was hoping to end the season donning the stars and bars, but it wasn't to be. However, the overall experience in Moab was fantastic!
Today I am home with no voice and about 1/2 of my lung capacity looking out the window at SNOW????
Long Version with pics:
Last Wed I met my dad and uncle down in Des Moines where we boarded is 41 foot bus style RV=) From there we (and be we I mean my dad and uncle) drove straight through to Moab. I moved between a leather couch, a lazy boy, and a queen bed during that time. By far the easiest travel out to the mountains ever!
Upon arrival in Moab, we roughed through the 3 mile jeep road that lead back to the venue. This venue literally rises out of the desert about 10 miles South of Moab. So cool. We set up camp an I got out for my first lap Thursday evening. Ben Portilla and Ben my brother arrived a little later that evening with Max Taam following the next day.
We spent Friday getting bikes ready, relaxing, registering, setting up camp, and smashing one of our faces in.... yep, Max had a spill on one of the hundred or so rock drops during a pre-ride. He came back with a swollen face, but following a sneeze, his eye just closed up! Luckily Ben P's dad is a ENT Doc so he could diagnose it as air build up in the eye lid/sinus tissues..nothing serious. There was a CHANCE it would open up in the next day, and we had about 14 hours until the start. To add to this, I could barely swallow with a sore throat and chest cold, and Max was suffering from a similar disease (we both came down with it ~2 days before the race).
Oh, the course, the course was a 15 mile mix of slick rock (so sweet), rock gardens (awesome), sand (grrr), and jeep roads (aahhh, whatever). The altitude was 5500-6000 feet. Overall it was very challenging with probably 1/2 of the 1200 feet of climbing on slickrock or rock gardens.
At noon, with perfect weather Ben P lead us out and with Max's eye still shut we planned a 3 man rotation. He came in a couple minutes behind the leaders, and I started out hard like I normally would. I reeled in the leaders w/out too much trouble but found myself very short of breath on the first extended slick rock power climb. Between altitude and my chest cold, I knew IT wasn't there. I slowed down a little with my legs feeling fine but throat and lungs burning. I finished frustrated with a mediocre lap time. Ben followed with a strong lap, and we were with the top teams when Ben P went back out. We fully expected a lead when Ben P came back but instead found ourselves 10 minutes behind. He flatted, twice.
We continued the 123123 rotation until Max's eye was about 1/4 open. At that point, he went out and was able to ride the smooth sections quickly, but had to be careful (limited depth perception) on anything technical. Our plan was to try to avoid night laps for Max, so Ben and Ben did a little rotation giving them 3 night laps each; then I picked it up w/ Max giving me 3 night laps and only leaving him ~1 night lap.
For me, my first night lap was a blast! I took it easy as my cough was getting unmanageable, and I just rode like I was on vacation...SO FUN=) My last 2 night laps were rough. After a long break during the Ben rotation, I just felt horrible and bonked on both laps. Luckily Linda, Max's massage therapist showed up to see how we were doing, so I got massage between laps. That was heavenly.We finished the race with a Max heavy rotation as his eye was almost 1/2 open by morning.
The race finished reasonably close given the circumstances. We finished 3rd in the entire race with 20 laps. The 1st place team did 20 laps ~30 minutes faster and the 2nd place team was ~10 minutes faster.
Once again, we couldn't have done the race w/out our support staff. Thanks Tegan, Dad, Portillas, Lisa, Becca, Sydney, Linda, and my Wife (for supporting me in going).
Overall, given the adversity our team performed admirably. Given a healthy crew and 3 less flats...who knows, but as I always say, "That is part of the game."


Anonymous said...

I believe you mean the Stars and Stripes. You said you hoped to don the stars and bars which refers to the confederate flag.

Brendan said...

oh ok, I didn't know that...I have heard the National Champ jersey referred to as such because that is how they look. They were also calling them Captain America shirts at the awards.
Either way, I was referring to the blue, red, and white national champ jerseys.

Eric O. said...

Way to tough it out Brendan. Maybe your team should have been awarded the bad karma jersey. Nice to hear you had a good time regardless. See you next weekend.

Jenn said...


Link to another biker who calls it stars & bars... Obviously not talking about the confederate flag (which actually is the flag with the cross... the one with the "bars" was the flag of the confederate states of america).