Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dauset 12 Hour

A few years back, my Dad and I did the Dauset 12 hour and had a ton of fun doing it. Last year we couldn't make it work out, but this year we were back. He drove in from Dallas Thursday night and slept all day Friday. Friday night, I packed up the truck and met him at Johnny's Pizza out by his place. My brother John was there too, dropping off a set of lights for me. We all rolled back to my Dad's house and hung out for a few hours. John's little daughter Lauren was with him, and I chased her around the house for a while. She's running around and half-talking now.


His son Austin and Austin's friend Dane were there too. Dane believed he could eat an entire bag of marshmallows and was trying to get my brother to bet him 10 dollars that he couldn't do it. John was willing to take the bet, with the stipulation that Dane had to hold them down, at which point Dane withdrew the bet. Ha ha ha.

I spent the night there, as it's like an hour closer to Dauset. We left before dawn and about halfway there, I got a call from Namrita. She, Eddie and Marc Hirsch were on a team, and they'd woken up to an email from their fourth guy, saying he couldn't make it. "Is John coming to the race?" I called him, but he had errands to run and kid duty all day. No luck there. They ended up riding a man short and still pulled down 2nd, but I'm getting ahead of myself...

We arrived at about 7:30, registered and got our tent set up.

 Our Tent

Eddie and Nam had gone up the day before, set theirs out and set one up next to it for us. Thanks guys!

My dad and I were joking about the disparity between prepping for a 6 hour solo vs a 12 hour team race. When I do 6 hour solos, I bring a chair, food, drink, a pump and toolbox and consume a 2x2 foot square of space. But, for a 12 hour team event, there's downtime, you need shelter from the sun and rain, more food, more water and facilities for sitting, lying down, and in our case, cooking. It's like ten times as much stuff for only twice the distance and the same amount of work per rider.

South Georgia Cycling was set up two tents down.

 SGC Tents

Bill, Steve, Vonnie, Josh, Clark, Willard and each of their wives were all either riding 6 hour solo's or volunteering. Woohoo! SGC! The only downside was that most of them had camped at Indian Springs Park and my Dad and I would still be riding later when Clark would be over there grilling.

Here's a classic scene. Everybody else is rushing around, getting ready to go, but pan over to Ed and Nam's tent and listen to the crickets chirp.

 Ed, Nam and Hirsch's Tent

Hirsch showed up not long after us, but he only had his stuff with him. We had a 10:00 start. At like 9:00, Ed and Nam arrived, exploded out of their car like the birth of Athena and were fully set up and ready to go in 15 minutes.

 Ed and Nam

They'd brought Shaun O'Dea with them, who was either Eddie's brother or cousin. I think brother, but unfortunately I don't remember which. He's in the Army, currently at Fort Jackson, and in town for the weekend. Man, he was a cool guy and it was cool having him around all day.

The race started with a short run. My dad did it last time, so it was my turn, and having run a bit this past year, it was no problem.

Lap 1 was just follow-the-leader. I had to resist the urge to just sit on. It wasn't a 6 hour solo race, I needed to bury myself for the next two laps. At the top of the particularly brutal Pine Mountain climb, I saw Johnny and Norma among the volunteers hanging out with gatorade and water, cheering us on. I passed a bunch of riders on that lap, but I had to make a detour into the pits to refuel and some of them got back past me.

Lap 2 started out with a nearly empty trail and I was moving much faster than lap 1. Wild Bill Lanzilotta (not to be confused with Wild Bill Riddle, though they both rock equally triumphant beards) passed me early in the lap. People accuse me of having good technical skills, but those people clearly haven't ridden behind Bill Lanzilotta. I was struggling to hold his wheel for maybe a quarter mile and then, coming around a corner, leaning forward, I drove my shoulder directly into a little tree. It was that classic break-your-collarbone crash. If I'd hit any closer to my neck, I would have been broken it, but as it was, it feelt like busted ribs. Maybe fractured, but not broken. The impact drove my scapula around toward the center of my back and whatever that did hurt way more than my shoulder. I could still ride though, and when the shock wore off, I was back on the gas. Eventually I started catching those riders I'd let by in the pits. On this lap, I started keeping track of long climbs, hills, weird turns, and whatever else seemed important. You can really fly at Dauset. When you're on your own, it's great, but it's gets uncomfortable if you get stuck behind somebody you don't know. I got behind a guy that was too strong to pass, but who almost crashed 6 or 7 times in that lap alone. He saved it every time, a few times remarkably, and never went down, but I was glad to be done with that lap.

While my dad was out, I visited with the GSC guys and gals. Clark had cut a sidewall, which had spewed out Stans like a firehose and never sealed. He could have thrown a tube in, but he had recently topped off his Stans, wasn't too happy about how much he'd already sprayed out, and wasn't willing to leave an entire lake of it on the trail. Poor guy, but also, good man.

I ate bananas and oranges, slept a little and described my crash to Nam, Hirsch and whoever else would listen. Shaun joked: "You going to complain about that all day?" Ha ha, yeah, what's up with my whining? It became a running joke all day. "How's your shoulder Dave?" "I'm not talking about my shoulder."

I met my Dad at the end of his first lap with clif blocks, gatorade and enduralytes. He was doing great and took off again.

I was all alone on my 3rd and 4th laps, just passing people randomly. I filmed my 3rd lap with my helmet cam, but I've got to edit it down to 15 minutes to fit on You Tube and my video editing skills are still too lame for that. Those laps slammed my hands to death. Mark D and I were talking about it later. When you're going fast, you kind of float over the roots and you don't notice them when you're in traffic, but as you slow down, you start to feel them, and though you didn't notice them earlier, they did beat you up. Hand-slamming aside, those laps were still really fun.

Here I am coming through the transition area.


It seemed like I took a bunch of photos, but when I looked back at them later, I was surprised that I didn't have as many as I thought. I didn't get any of the SGC folks and only one of my Dad. Lame.

I did get these vids of Bill and Vonnie coming through. I dig my new iPhone.

My Dad was fine on his 3rd lap, but his 4th was really tough. While he was out, I talked to John Hightower, swapping TNGA stories. He was there with the Cycle Youth team, a bunch of teen-and-under riders. I'd seen them out there all day. Some of them were giving the adults a good run.

I had lights mounted for my 5th and 6th laps but didn't need them. Lap 5 was fun. It had cooled off, and it was just fun. I saw two long black rat snakes and some kind of weasel. I thought it was a squirrel until it stopped moving, then it looked like a ferret with a bushier tail. I got a really good look at it, but I have no idea what it was. I was enjoying the more scenic sections of trail too. There's this section where you ride along a creek through a big grassy area with a bunch of river cane growing way off to the left, and at the end of the day there, sun was pouring in from behind, making little bright spots on the trees. Beautiful. Then it turned. Lap 6 was just work. I was happy when it was over.

My dad had been cramping at the end of his last lap and wasn't sure if he'd be able to do more. But he slept, drank, cooked up some Beefaroni, ate that, and was good to go when I came in. Woohoo! He did one more.

While he was out, I cooked up some Ravioli, slept a little, felt like a new man and went over to wait for him to come in. Hirsch was sitting there waiting for Eddie. He and I were both managing a little bit of pain in the back of our right knees. I'd hurt my knee in the crash, wasn't pedalling well for a few laps afterward, and ultimately developed some pain from that. I'd had a similar thing happen at Rocky Hill years ago during a 24 and it was crippling for weeks. Luckily, this would be my last lap. Hirsch had also crashed in his first lap and could have had the same problem. Riders were coming in with their lights on and you couldn't tell who was who until they got really close. We saw a guy come in with a lone, bar mounted light that was as bright as the sun. "Hey, that could be my dad..." It was.

On my last lap, we forgot to swap the baton. Neither of us noticed. The course bends around and runs right back by the start a few miles later, and he met me there with it. My first thought was "I have to go back to the start." But even as I said it, I remembered that in this race, in particular, you can't cut the course. If you do, you don't get a time penalty, or a lap penalty, you just get DQ'ed outright. The only thing you can do ride out the lap. I'd taken the baton and started riding without even thinking. Not that my brain was working all that well 11 hours in anyway, that's part of why we forgot to swap it. I couldn't remember any of the rules surrounding transferring the baton but it baked my noodle for the whole lap. What would it cost us? Between that and the dark, I didn't notice the climbing until I was on Pine Mountain, and I was like "whoa, I'm here already?" I heard the volunteers ringing the cowbell, but not realizing where I was, I thought I was imagining it. My brother's light worked really well. More than I needed to go as fast as I could, even on the lower setting. I'll have to get something like that for myself. I haven't owned a light in years, ever since my rigged up double-battery system caught fire.

When I finished, I had a moral dilemma. I wasn't sure if our baton swap was legal, illegal or grey. If it was illegal, we could get a time penalty, get a lap penalty or get DQ'ed. We had a lot invested. Not just 12 hours of riding, but my dad had driven in from Dallas to do this race with me. The officials didn't know about our baton swap and we couldn't imagine anyone saying anything. It would be rough losing all of that over a mistake that was so easy to make and so easy to conceal. But after thinking about it for a lap... If we got penalized or DQ'ed, eh, we made an honest mistake. In the future, thinking back, it would be a bunch of good memories, and then "Oh, and we screwed it all up at the end! Ha ha ha!" It would make the story even better. If we hid it, there would just be guilt. I talked to my dad and he agreed. The ruling from the officials: "Don't worry about it." Best possible outcome.

We got 4th, and our award was we didn't have to wait around another two hours for the podium ceremony. We shook hands with everybody, bailed, and couldn't stop talking about everything, all the way home. My mom met us at Waffle House for some midnight dining and I showered and crashed at their place. This morning I was sore, but it was the best kind of sore; the kind that constantly reminds you of the good times you just had and then forces you lie around all day, relaxing and remembering.

1 comment:

  1. Great race, Dave!! Your dad is really was awesome to pit with you guys.