Calvins Challenge Recap

Its been a few days since I arrived back home from the 12 hour Calvin's Challenge in Ohio and I have been desperately trying to come up with a way to summarize 12 hours of riding. I could go extremely in depth with it but who would really read all of it? So I am going to try and keep it as short as possible without leaving out any juicy details.

We arrived at the school in which we would be starting from about an hour early. Then we had to make the 2.1 mile drive back to the hotel because I didn't pick up my race packet which had my timing chip and number in it. It was alright though because at that time the skies had opened up and it was pouring rain. Big drops of rain with lightning off in the distance type pouring rain. Kyle made the comment that all I needed to complete the human lightening rod costume was a kite and he thought they sold them at local convenience stores. We did not stop to find out.

Waiting for the start

Once back at the start the storm was starting to move off to the west of us so I got out of the car, started to prep my bike, and get dressed. Dad, Kyle and I reviewed the nutrition plan for the day and I was ready to go. Once the race got on its way, it started to rain once again. It would continue to do so for the first 4 hours of the race. The rain combined with all the spray from other riders made it a little bit difficult to eat while in the pack but I was able to get it down once I moved to the front of the groups in which I was riding with. In a race like this one you had to work together with the other riders or you would never make it. The wind was howling at a steady 15-25 mph ALL day long and the course was laid in a circle so you spent a lot of time fighting the wind and the rest flying along with it.

The first 51 miles flew by as I was working with one gentleman who could hold my pace. There were very few people there who were willing to do any work and they were content on just sitting on a wheel in a big pack doing whatever speed the group decided. This was not the case for us, we both had a goal of at least 200 miles and we weren't going to waste any good tailwinds sitting in a group. So we would use groups we came across on the road to shield us from the wind and then pick up the pace with the wind. If they held on fine, if not oh well for them. I think we finished the first 51 miles in something like 2 hours 4 minutes. Then it was back to fighting the wind until the checkpoint where we would pickup the tailwind once again.

I need bigger arms or smaller arm warmers

He had to stop to refuel before heading out for the second long loop and I just kept rolling. I was out there fighting the wind by myself. I just settled into a pace which I thought I would be able to sustain without taxing myself too much, in hopes I would ride onto a group or be caught by one. I did find a group at a most inopportune time. There was a quick zig and zag on the long loop and I caught them just as they were getting to it. I wasn't paying attention to markings and I just followed them. Thank god that road ended just a mile down with no other options or we would have been riding for a while off course. As it turns out it was only 2 miles total and back on course we went.

Rolling through the time check about to drop a bottle

By the time I finished the 2nd 51 mile loop my knees were really starting to bother me. I stopped at the rest station, relieved myself while Kyle and Dad were looking for the bottle of Advil I purchased the night prior. Can you guess what else I forgot in the hotel room? Back onto the bike I went while Dad and Kyle made the drive back to the room, got the Advil, found me on course and passed off the two little pieces of kneesavers. The third lap went by pretty uneventfully except by this time it had stopped raining and the wind was helping the roads and my clothes dry out very quickly.

Its my hurts so good look

Once done with lap 3, the short loop which was 7 miles long opened up. Rumor had it, the short course was shielded a bit more from the wind and would make for some very fast laps. The first 3 miles of it were NOT shielded and I struggled on each lap to hang onto the wheel of another gentleman Leman who I met. He and I had the same pace and the best part was we were both willing to work. We were turning low 20 minute laps consistently and before I knew it, I was over the 200 mile goal I had set. Now with the time we had left, we just set our sights on getting in as many laps as possible.

We were finishing what would turn out to be our last full lap. The scoring system allows for partial laps to count. They have volunteers at each mile mark of the short course and whichever marker you get to at the 12 hour mark is how many additional miles get added to your total. We were both determined to get as many miles as possible in with the few minutes we had left.

Pullin, pullin pullin keep those puppies pullin...rawhiiiide! Leman is the wall of man in the red shorts

I pulled into the wind until we approached mile marker 1. Then another gentleman took a very short pull when Leman decided it was too slow and went to the front. I held his wheel until just after the 2 mile mark when we were notified there were 11 minutes left. Leman started to pull away from me and I thought it was going to be the last I saw of him for this lap. I told myself not to panic and I just kept my pace steady. Somehow I rode myself back up onto his wheel as he started to tire. I just rode right past him encouraging him to grab my wheel and I would pull the rest of the time. He was able to jump on and away we went. Mile marker 4 came up with just less than 6 minutes to go. Now I had the wind to my back and I wasn't stopping. We blew by marker 5 with about 2.5 minutes to go. At this time I was pulling at over 31 miles an hour and trying desperately to get past the 6th mile marker so we would get credit for all 7 miles. We ended up getting credit for only 6 miles. We missed passing the mark by about 30 yards.

A little saddened (not much though) by being so close, I was extremely excited to have that feeling of adreneline that only comes with racing back in my body again. I ended up finishing with 220.5 miles which was good enough to take top honors in my age group. Thank you to Powerbar for fueling me the entire way, now to decide what is next on the list ;-)

18th overall, 1st in division

Photos are up ...