I kinda slacked on getting this race report posted. When he says “last two Saturdays”, he’s talking about last month. It happens. Sue me.
But remember, half of nothing is still nothing.
From: Big Damage
How’s law school? We missed you these last two Saturdays. As I’m sure you recall, you were a big part of my first FC 508 and Cochise 252. This year I strove for a whole new level of stupidity by doing them on consecutive Saturdays.
The FC 508 went great. I really enjoy the 2-man format for that event. Riding 508 nonstop just does not seem to suit me well. Justin Peschka and I have talked in the past about doing something together, so I was glad that we were able to coordinate teaming up for the 508. We were really lucky to have two very seasoned veterans as our crew members. Greg Hemmerlin was a crew team member for RAAM in 2006 Emily’s Team, 4-person mixed), as well as crewing for a few of my 100-mile deals. He used to be a track rider as well, so he knows his way around a bike. Marv Atwood was a rider on the 2006 RAAM team and pretty much everyone in the endurance community know what an animal he can be on the bike. Mav was a 11th-hour addition to the crew and we were very fortunate that he could do it. A pair of riders could not ask for a better crew team – motivated, engaging, humorous, energetic, and logical. You know your support crew is good when you start to think that riding the bike is the easy job!
Kostman changed the relay format in 2004, so we each had to ride from one time station to another to exchange. This is a good format as it really tests the endurance ability of each rider, but that makes it a little bit slower than the old format. I led off and I could not believe how fast a few of the 2-man riders were going. I just kept reminding myself, as they rode ahead and out of sight, that the second pull for each of us would be a 99-miler with the 5000 foot Towne Pass climb. The wind was no stranger, as usual. Some stretches were killer fast and others were down-right scary as the cross-wind challenged us to keep our bikes vertical. I was bummed to find out that we were 5 minutes off the lead at the first time station, but I knew we would get stronger as the event progressed.
Justin rocked the second leg from California City to Trona. He crushed the climb up to Randsburg and put us in striking distance of the lead. He was going so fast, I didn’t have any real time to relax before I had to hop on in Trona. The time off the bike gave me a solid opportunity to obsess about all the little details that might (key word: might) save me 10 seconds on my next pull – sometimes the rider is just better off staying on the bike!! The wind just wasn’t letting up. The jaunt across Panamint Valley was marked by long stretches where the road surface was invisible from the blowing sand. The right turn at 200-miles marks the start of climb up Towne Pass, but also was the turning point into the wind. As if that climb isn’t hard enough, the wind made it a death march. When my cadence dropped to 40 (39/23), I stopped and put on a 26-12, which helped tremendously. We took the lead about half-way up the climb, hit the summit in time to look to the west to see an awesome sunset, and I had a nice descent into Death Valley for about ten miles, until the thunderstorm that rolled through ahead of us slowed the progress with an increase in wind.
The long stretch through the basement and the ascent of Salsbury and Jubilee Passes was Justin’s second pull. He kept picking off the solo riders and as we passed Secrest on the uphill there was a little dog fight until, it appeared, Secrest realized that Justin was a team rider. Those two climbs are nasty hard, but Justin worked them over solid and then froze his ass off on the downhill.
Very much to our surprise, the second place team rolled into the time station in Shoshone just as we were pulling out. Fortunately, the stage to Baker was well designed for a TT bike and we put some serious time into Team Ox by the control. Justin had to do the Kel-Baker hill (possibly by design as I have never much liked that climb) and then had to dodge the potholes on the descent. It continues to amaze me that the road to Kelso has been exactly the same beat-up road for over ten years – you would think that it either would have been re-paved or completely disintegrated by now. The last 2 pulls were rather uneventful as we just stayed on pace and wanted to get to the finish. After the descent from Sheephole Pass, that last stretch into 29 Palms was, as usual, into a headwind – always a tough way to finish 26 hours the bike, even as a team.
A great experience all the way around. A solid event. Kostman puts a lot of emphasis on safety and I think it really pays off. With that many people on the open roads for so many hours, it all seemed to run so smoothly. Riding with Justin was a blast – that dude knows how to suffer and I’m glad I was in the car rather than having to race against him.
You will have to join us next year if we can make it work again – it will be just like old times, only now I just pee all over myself!
Yes. You heard right. I’m just like Kim Kardashian – famous for getting peed on. It’s all about the company you keep.by