Leadville Trail 100 Video featuring Team ALCHEMIST!

11 09 2013

Lucy Stylianou came all the way from England to shoot this awesome video of the Leadville trail 100 mtb race.  The video was sponsored by Saint-Gobain/Norglide Bearings, and featured cycling legends like Rebecca Rush and our very own,  Jenn Dice (#22 on the Outside Magazine Power List).  Team Alchemist Racers, Jenn D., Dan R., Disco Stu, Drew, and myself were asked to be interviewed and filmed for the video.  My interview was in the middle of a brewing storm, so the audio was unfortunately too crappy to use.  Had my Waltworks there to show off too.  Sorry Walt.

Tweet it, Facebook it, Share it with friends/family `cus we are famous! (in our own tiny little minds).

Dan B. rocks the Ironman Coeur d’Alene

28 06 2013

Finish Yoga.  Or as Buss described it "Vomit suppression pose"

Finish Yoga. Or as Buss described it “Vomit suppression pose”

Dan B. could barely swim when he decided to do an Ironman.  But then again, Busse is no stranger to bad decisions.  He’s done multiple Leadman’s (all the Leadville events in a season), RAAM rider, Breck Epic . . . The list goes on.

Last weekend, he went to Coeur d’Alene  to qualify for Ironman Kona, and try not to drown.   He came out of the water in 71st.  By the end of the bike, he was in 35th.  The man can ride.  He was picking off more folks until the wheels came off around mile 11 on the marathon.  He death marched it home, and still manage to fend off most other folks to keep his standing, finishing in the top 10%.   Congrats buss.  You da man.

Buss crushing the bike with his Alchemist kit and aero helmet.

Buss crushing the bike with his Alchemist kit and aero helmet.

Feeling rough, but looking strong at the finish

Feeling rough, but looking strong at the finish

Naked Women Show Appreciation for Alchemist Team Riders

11 06 2013

Sean's caption for this, "Naked Girl swoon over the Alchemist magnetism"

“Naked Girls show appreciation for the domestique work of the Alchemist Team.”

Sean B. sent this photo of him and Todd at the Ride the Rockies.  The caption under the photo is his, not mine.  Domestiques, for those who don’t know,  typically ride at the front, blocking the wind for the Team leaders behind them.  So Sean, what you are telling me is that you and Todd rode at the front, pulling the Naked ladies along in your wake.  So that means they were looking at your asses the whole day?

You guys are doing it all wrong.

NAKED WOMEN Mix It Up with Alchemist Team Rider

10 06 2013

Sean B. gets busy at the Ride the Rockies with the Naked Women Race Team. Kris in an Alchemist made 303Cycling Kit joins in the fun.

Alchemist Team rider, Sean B. gets busy at the Ride the Rockies with the Naked Women Race Team. Kris in an Alchemist made 303Cycling kit joins in the fun.  Todd, where were you?


303cycling video of day #1

Luke Wins Short Track, and Drew Crushing Euro’s at Trans Germany

8 06 2013

Luke crushed the field in last Wednesdays Short Track sporting the new Team jersey (junior edition).

Drew is over in Germany throwing down some serious climbing against the best that Europe has to offer.

Here is his account from days #1 and #2:  WARNING:  Bliss said the following account made his sphincter quiver.  If you have a fragile sphincter do NOT read further.

Tough day today. Dropped a few places – finished 16th & probably about the same in GC. Only riding about 5 min slower than yesterday though so I h=am hanging in there.

Stage one was a hard race. Rode over threshold for anything that was flat or uphill. I was pegged but was deep in a big group of riders. That was a great race for me. I have never raced that hard in the US. These guys & gals can climb! Climbs are uber steep. The start climb was 75% grade – though that was a joke. Everyone crawled up it bike on their back. Had a terrible start block assigned but just moved myself (like Thomas would) up to about 300. Then off the line about 20 of us sprinted on the parallel bike path right up to the top 50. 20k battle in a huge pack to hold your position.

Today was a bigger stage. 2500m climbing. 14% short first climb but of course everyone is going 100%. I set my personal record for VAM  (vertical meters ascent). I was positioned well but took a big face of mud on the descent – it is wet & muddy here. Had to stop & take out a contact so I lost a bit & my train. Did not have the fast helmet – could have used it for the wind.

The monster climb is to the top of the Kitzbuel ski area up the famous Hannekam DH course. Only a 11k climb but it was 10-14% & relentless. Don’t have to worry about gear selection. Just put it in the smallest I have & grind. Climbed into the snow at the top. We descended on the “new” world championship course built for the UCI World Marathon here in 2 weeks. By new of course they mean – build last week. Brand new very rough terrain. 3000 feet drop in 7k.  Their site describes the top a “selective” and the bottom as “flowey”.  There must be a German translation problem. What “selective” really means is terri-fucking-fying. It is major world cup technical with roots, drops, vertical off camber turn/drops.  What “flowey” means is dense wet roots with 12 inches of mud flowing over them. I have never raced nor ridden any course in the US that difficult. I am actually a better descender than the group & am riding with so I am generally moving up in the group on the DH.

Tomorrow – another monster climb of course right out of the start. Does not look quite as steep which is good for me. I am happier at less than 8%. Still in race mode – have not yeet stooped to survival mode but it is coming.

Good beer. Good sausages.

Here is Luke cruising to the win.

Indian Creek

5 06 2013

Stuart crossing Indian Creek

Stuart crossing Indian Creek

Indian Peaks — RME Series Race #3

Team Alchemist had a nice showing at the third installment of the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series at Indian Peaks. This was the inaugural year of the race, and it didn’t disappoint.

Alex C. considers these trails his backyard stomping grounds.  He rides the single track around Sedalia regularly. His beta: really fun course, and really hard.  I threw on a 20 tooth cog for the climbs that were advertised as soul suckers.

Mike W. volunteered to load up Mabel with the Boulder crowd for the ride down.  One aging minivan, six guys, six bikes, and XM radio tuned to Brittany Spears. Don’t tell our wives.

The start of the race was pushed back because the registration line was as long as the race course. In Thane’s words, “We didn’t know it was going to be so popular.”  Nice to see such a good turnout and show of support for the race, which supports the local Search & Rescue service.  As the day unfolded, the rescue crews utilized every bit of every resource they had available.

Alex, Stuart, and I were on single speed, and we went off just after the pros.  Stuart and I trailed the pack in second to last, and last place, respectively.  The first lap was supposed to be a “half lap”, but as we pulled into Aid #1, it seemed like we had done nearly a full lap.  Turns out we did most of the full lap but skipped the best part of the course, Ringtail.  On lap two, we turned it loose on the windy, hard packed singletrack.  Ringtail is the signature piece of trail in the area, and is what keeps the locals grinning.  We descended about 3000′ along the buffed out, banked trail, hitting speeds over 30 mph in tight, treelined terrain.  We were eventually spit out onto an exposed trail that gave us views of some impressive red rock formations.  Ken later told me that we were riding next to the Arrowhead golf course, which is one of the coolest intergalactic golf courses in the universe.  I swear it was built by aliens.

What goes down, must come up. All that descending wasn’t free.  We had to climb back out to get back to the start.  I caught Stuart at the remote Aid on lap 2, and we rode together to finish the lap.  There were several sections of the climbs that were too steep and loose to ride.  They were even hard to walk.  This is the part of the course that broke many riders.  I think there were more DNF’s in this race than in all the other RME races combined.

The climb back out is broken up by one particularly fast, technical descent.  A number of “Slow” signs were scattered along the way to mark the 2′-3′ peaks that were placed in the trail.  You had to either commit to hit them at full speed and launch off of them, which could easily clear a 10′ gap, or slow down enough that you kept both wheels on the dirt and roll over them.  I’d like to say that I maintained my speed and gave my best shit-eating grin as I supermanned through the ether.  But after a couple close calls of landing front wheel first, I slowed way down and took the latter approach, dribbling one wheel after another, over each of the berms.  Anything in between fast and slow would buck your rear wheel upward and send you ass over apple bucket.

After crawling over the biggest of the bumps, I had to hit my brakes hard and veer off the trail.  A branch had been laid, apparently intentionally, across the trail, diverting traffic off to the right.  A racer asked if I had a cell phone, and I was sorry to say I didn’t.  Several yards down the trail, I could see why he asked.  A couple racers were off the trail to the left helping a third, who had obviously taken the last berm the wrong way.  The injured rider’s face had been split wide open from the upper lip through his nose and mid face.  It was gruesome, even for someone who has seen a lot of gruesome stuff.  He had a couple folks with him, but I felt like I should stop anyway.

Flashes of the Laramie Enduro went through my head.  Last year, I stopped for a racer who crashed and dislocated his shoulder.  I put it back in, but lost a handful of minutes and several places.  This time, there was an EMT there holding C-spine, and except for his face, everything else appeared to be okay.  I let them know I was an ER doc, but the two guys assured me there was nothing more that could be done at the moment.  I asked for the injured rider’s name and figured the best way I could help at that point was to ride my ass off and find help.  As it turned out, we were in the most remote part of the course, and I didn’t come across help for over half an hour.

Stuart and I pulled into the main aid after lap two and stuffed our faces.  To my surprise, he asked me if I was going to do another lap.  Uh, yes?  I didn’t know he was that deep in the hurt locker.  But we saddled up for lap three, if reluctantly.  I took two bottles with me for lap 3, but misplaced one of them in the cage on the climb out, and somehow ran it over with my rear wheel.  Ah, the humanity.  I backtracked to retrieve what was left of my crushed bottle.  I poured the rest of the contents out and stuffed the raisined thing into my bottle cage.  By that time, I lost contact with Stuart, who was feeling good again.  I finally saw him again after Ringtail as I was approaching the remote Aid station.  He had just pulled out.  Another rider was refilling his Camelback, and I wanted to catch Stuart, so I paused for half a second, and then skipped the Aid.  Big mistake. I was about half full (or empty depending on your outlook) in the remaining bottle, but not nearly enough to make it back home.

We stayed together for a while when we were stopped by a course official.  We weren’t the only ones.  There was a long line of riders stopped on the trail, some waiting for 15-20 minutes.  The injured rider was finally being evacuated out.  It had been over 2 hours from the time I had passed him the first time.  That’s a long time to be lying there bleeding with your face turned inside out.  I drank most of the rest of my bottle as we waited, and saved one last sip for that If-I-don’t-have-something-wet-in-my-mouth-right-now-I’m-going-to-shrivel-up-and-die moment.  After 10 minutes or so, we applauded the efforts of the search and rescue crew as they took Keith out on a stretcher, and then mounted our bikes for the rest of the climb out.  Ken caught us on that final climb.  He passed me and asked why I never acknowledged his calls.  That was when I realized he had been ever so close most of the race yelling ahead, “Wooooohooooooo!!!”  That whole time, I thought it was just some fella who was having a really wonderful time riding his bike.  Ken was on fire, he blew my me and took Stuart with him.  Damn.  Alone again.

I had cracked.  Dehydrated and spent, I just limped home from there.  I hurt about as much I’ve ever hurt on a bike.  Came in 8th SS, which I’ll take, all things considered.

We had a very nice Team turnout for the race.  Dice and Alex C. picked up big points for the Team competition with 4th place finishes in the Women’s Open and SS cats.  Stuart took 6th in SS., coming off the couch to crush me.  Ken finished 9th in a large 40-50 men’s field.   The way he was riding, he would have won the Clydesdale Cat, but this year he decided to stop eating ice cream.  WTF?  Mike S. brought home some much needed points in the Men’s 30-40 Half Marathon.  John A. and Noel rode like warriors, knocking out the Marathon in 7 hours-ish.  Sean and Kevin also rode well, grabbing points in the Men 40-50 Half.  I think Rich was riding well in the Marathon and was right on my tail at one point before snapping his derailleur off.  Rich, I think it’s time to put that new derailleur on now.  Mike W. hammered out the Half and figured that was fun enough.  He is wise beyond his years.  That was a tough course.  Nice work out there Team.  We are just 60 points out of fourth place.

Some race pics.  Missed a couple of the Team. The Yann site had copyright issues:

Dice rockin the Old School Team Jersey to 4th place

Dice rockin the Old School Team Jersey to 4th place

2013 Indian Creek Loc 2 (1365)-M

Alex C. out of the saddle and leading the Alchemist SS pack.

2013 Indian Creek Loc 2 (1491)-M

Wu making it look hard

Wu gettin wet

Wu gettin wet

Mike W. always smiling

Mike W. always smiling. He’s thinking about Cheeseburgers and listening to Britney Spears

Friend of Alchemist, Michele, on her way to winning the SS cat

Friend of Alchemist, Michele, on her way to winning the SS cat

Mike S. focused and riding hard

Mike S. focused and riding hard

Sean exiting the water and busting a move

Sean exiting the water and busting a move

John A. plunging in full speed

John A. plunging in full speed

Ken riding strong and airing it out

Ken riding strong and airing it out

Noel hammering up the climb

Noel hammering up the climb

Battle the Bear

5 05 2013

max on podium at Battle the Bear

max on podium at Battle the Bear

With another heavy snow fall last week, the Battle the Bear was moved to Sunday.  Of course, I was scheduled to work today.  I sold my soul to trade it.  I’ve been itching to get on the race course. Mainly because I generally race my way into shape, and I already missed the Ridgeline Rampage because of another snow storm.

Noel, Mark R., David, Ken and I rode the marathon (60 miles).  Mike S. and Sean H. rode the half.  Max and Luke rode the Junior race. Conditions were perfect.  It was the stickiest I’ve ever seen it.  Good riding all around with some much needed points picked up. Max took second and represented Alchemist on the podium.

Indian Creek in 2 weeks.  Looks like we’ll field a pretty good sized team for that.  If only I can get out of Pigfest. . .

Team Alchemist Kicks off the Racing Season

23 04 2013

Sean leading the Weld County Road Race

Sean leading the Weld County Road Race

With the Ridgeline Rampage mtb race snowed out, it was up to Sean to represent Team Alchemist this past weekend on the road.  He threw down at the Weld County Road Race.  Leading the pack for much of the race in his custom Alchemist Team attire.  The Pais-Mo kit got a lot of attention.  Nice work out there, Sean.

As bad as the weather has been for riding in Boulder, it’s still not as bad as the weather in Minnesota.  Steve has been holed up through a long Minnesota winter, but his little girl, Amelia, still finds a way to sport the Alchemist colors.  Good thing she gets her looks from her mother.

Amelia getting in some saddle time

Amelia getting in some saddle time, and looking mahvelous.

Paul’s Leadman Video

6 04 2013

“Make Friends with Pain, and you will never be alone.” –Ken Chlouber

Paul playing in his front yard

Check out Alchemist Athlete, Paul Hooge.  He rocked the Leadman last year, finishing in the top 10 in a stacked field.  Leadman, for those of you who don’t know, consists of a series of trail races in Leadville, Colorado.   Marathon, 50 mile run or bike, 100 mile bike, 10k run (the day after the 100 mile bike), and finishing with a 100 mile run (the week after the 100 mile bike).  It’s kind of a big deal.

Strong work out there, Paul!

Mike and his Yuba, and Pole Dancing

26 01 2013

This bike was made for haulin'

This bike was made for haulin’

Last night, Mike and Ken came over to divide up the Team loot.  We got a big gear order in, and rather than make me sift through it myself, those guys volunteered to help me get it all sorted out.  They were paid in beer and bike bells.   Turns out both guys biked over.  They also both ordered, among other things, huge bike racks for themselves.  Mike lives about 4 miles away, so it wasn’t a trivial distance to haul a 60 pound bike rack and an assortment of other swag.  He was even picking up Al’s stuff to boot.   He brought the Yuba, which is normally reserved for haulin’ his twin girls around. Why?  Why would he ride a bicycle knowing that he would have to somehow make it back home with an awkwardly massive load of crap, in the middle of the night, and the temperature hovering around freezing?

Because he can.

The Yuba is loaded up.  Mike's middle initial is "S", which, he tells me, stands for "Straps".  As in, Mike "I got me a sh*t ton of Straps with me for haulin' sh*t on my bike" Walsh.

The Yuba is loaded up. Mike’s middle initial is “S”, which, he tells me, stands for “Straps”. As in, Mike “I got a sh*t ton of Straps with me for haulin’ a sh*t ton of sh*t on my bike” Walsh.

As a side note, congrats to friend of Alchemist, Vivienne, of VerticalViv.com, who will be featured in a Daily Camera article for her prolific, and hilarious,  blog about Pole Dancing and clutter reduction.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Check it out: http://verticalviv.com/

Vivienne doing the Superman.  This is only slightly more interesting than her more recent photo of her cluttered junk drawer.

Vivienne doing the Superman. This is only slightly more interesting than her more recent photo of her cluttered junk drawer.

Mary Jane. It’s legal. Great.

14 11 2012

Dope. It’s what’s for breakfast.

4 am.  The department is mostly quite except for the high-pitched wailing coming from room 5.   It sounds like a tortured cat.  The crying and screaming is enough to compel me to vent a post, even at 4 am.   The 20-something sissy-boy making this embarrassing racket suffers from a condition known as Canniboid Hyperemesis Syndrome.  Chronic pot smoking, inexplicable cycles of vomiting and crampy belly pain, and strangely, the compulsion to take long, hot showers.  My kid in 5 took two tonight.

It has become more common in the last couple years, and it is only going to get worse now that the medical MJ dispensaries are now becoming Hookah lounges.  Congratulations Colorado, Reefer is now legal.   But what the hell, at least we can tax the hell out of it.


On the cycling apparel front, Alchemist was busy all day yesterday preparing for the holiday season.   Sale items and special deals are going down.  We are also going to get more wool in.  Same classic style, but softer, plusher, cozier, betterer.  Won’t have it until the new year, but it will be da bomb.

Alchemist Old School Wool Jersey

Also, it’s final.  The reception for the 2013 Team kit was pretty good.  Not a lot of folks responded with hate mail, so Paisely-Camo (Pais-mo, as Drew would call it) is a go.  it will be from the HOMEGROWN line.  Top-shelf, Made in USA, recycled and Blue Sign approved.  Pre-order notifications will go out soon.  Pre-order/Team discount applies.  Some of you already told me you want in.  If the rest of you want to reserve one for yourself,  give us a shout.   Contact us.







24 Hours of Colorado Springs (24 Hr National Championships) Race Report

6 10 2012

24 hrs of COS at dusk

24 hrs of COS at dusk

Ah, it’s been almost a week, and I’m finally ready to write about the season finale.

I had shut it down after the Breck Epic in August, those 6 days of hard MTB racing being the annual culmination of a summer’s worth of  racing and training.  But Drew just wouldn’t let it go.  I couldn’t see him without some mention of the 24 hr Championship.  I was emphatically done for the season, so his words fell on deaf ears.  Last year, I swore that I would never, ever race this race again.  The course is twisty and technical, with dozens of 12-24″ drop offs and step ups.  Over 24 hours, the technical features take their toll, and I wasn’t about to submit myself to that kind of hurt again.  No f*cking way.

But somehow, just after dawn last Saturday, I found myself squinting into the early morning sun as I drove down 36 toward the Springs.  It barely registered what I was doing.  It just seemed like I didn’t really have a choice.  24 hour Nationals was practically in our backyard.  I couldn’t not go.  I threw some clothes into a bag and packed up the trusty Bontrager.  I brought some extra gears, but I knew I wouldn’t be changing anything.  The Bonty was geared as easy as she can go (34×22), and I had no intention of gearing it any harder.

24 hrs of COS

Last year, I did this race as a complete newb.   When I pulled up to solo alley, more than a few folks asked where my crew was.  I didn’t know I was supposed to have one.  I had planned to just feed out of the back of my truck.  I had a lawn chair, a jar of pickles, some leftover taco meat, and a man-size bag of chips.  I filled up my bottle at the unmanned water jug on the course each lap. I didn’t set up a tent since I didn’t think I could break it down afterward.

24 hrs of COS.  It's on. It's on like Donkey Kong.

24 hrs of COS. It’s on. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

At its purest, this seemed like the essence of endurance racing.  Just you and your bike.   Of course, it is also the script of absolute stupidity at its finest.  This year, by comparison, was luxurious.  Drew’s wife, Toni, who also expertly crewed us at the 12 hours of Snowmass, was supporting us for the race.  We had a canopy, tent, glorious amounts of food, and even heat!  Of course, no matter how good the support was, I still had to pedal my ass around the course, over and over again.

24 hrs of COS

24 hrs of COS. Spectacular setting.

The weather was fantastic as we toed the starting line at noon.  When the gun fired, I paused to let everyone else sprint by.  I was planning to walk the Le Mans start, but with all the folks cheering, I thought it would be disrespectful to not at least give the impression that I was in a race.  So I lightly jogged to my bike, and found myself exiting the infield in exactly last place.  I lost even more ground on the brief road section, as I watched the last of the geared racers further distance themselves from me.  I soft pedaled the first climb and managed to pass a 13 year old girl and a couple women, who, if not for their number plates, did not give me the impression that they were racing.  I did my best to not put forth any wasted effort.  Last year, all the drops and step-ups sent my neck, back, and arms into a smoldering ache by lap 4.  I think I was too tense last year, so this year, I tried to ride like a wet noodle, absorbing as much of the terrain as possible, instead of fighting it.

24 hrs of COS Early Lap

24 hrs of COS Early Lap

It seemed to work, sort of.  The trail seemed more ridable this year. The buffed sections seemed more buff.  The tricky, hard climbs seemed more climbable. After the first couple laps, I had less pain in my upper body, but I felt tired.  Not winded or tired in my legs.  Just tired.  It didn’t bode well.  I was just a few hours into the race, and I felt like taking a nap.  Coming through the start/finish going into lap 3, I could hear the distinctive baritone voice of Larry Grossman belting out the current standings.  “Cameron Chambers taking the early lead with Tinker right on his heels.”

I called out to him, “And Jeff Wu in last place.”  This was essentially my battle cry last year as well.  Larry would offer words of encouragement each lap, “Here’s Jeff Wu.  Slow and steady wins the race.”  Larry, slow and steady gets lapped.

I started feeling a little better on Lap 3 until I decided I should be on higher ground while zipping through a sandy descent.  My tires washed out on the off-camber dirt, and I skidded along on my helmet for long enough to think to myself, “I’m not having a lot of fun.”  When I finally came to a stop, my right arm and hip were bloodied, and my bibs were shredded.  But the helmet did it’s job.

24 hrs of COS Full Moon

24 hrs of COS Full Moon

Night descended while I was working on lap 5.   I was better prepared this year with three batteries for the Amoeba, and a car charger to rejuice them when needed.   Foregoing a headlamp, I used a single light on the handlebars, which was mostly sufficient except for the sharp turns and larger drops.  I walked a technical climb, laid down my bike, and pee’d into the beam of light from the headlamp.  Through the veil of steamy urine, I saw another light approach, stall at the top of the climb, and hike the rest.   As he approached, he noticed that I was another single speeder.

“What lap are you on?”

I resisted the urge to say twelve. “Five. You on six?


Seriously?  The guy was already lapping me for the second time? As if I needed to feel worse.  Trudging on, I felt like going to bed, and just waiting until it was light again before riding.  But each time I came into the tent, ready to pack it in, Toni would fuel me up with hot Ramen and coffee.   When she began to sense that I was getting too cozy in the tent, she would usher me back out into the cold and dark for another lap.  Drew and I met back at basecamp after my 8th lap, and his 10th.  We were both frozen and tired.  I couldn’t take it anymore, so I crawled into the sleeping bag, wet chamois and all, as he saddled back up for number 11.

24 hrs of COS night time

24 hrs of COS night time. as Drew said, I look as bad as I feel.

I was too tired to keep my eyes open, but I was unable to fall asleep.  Frustrated, I stared at the back of my eyelids for a while before finally dozing off.  I didn’t bother to set an alarm.  I’d planned to sleep until I woke up.  I had no idea what time it was when my eyes suddenly opened, but Drew hadn’t come back yet, so I figured it was less than an hour.  Or maybe he was already back out, so maybe it was way more than that.  I stayed in the sleeping bag, without any sense of urgency.  It was still dark, and there was no sign of dawn.  Toni was asleep, and everything was quite and motionless.  A cold breeze swept across the opening to the tent.  I tried to will myself out of the sleeping bag, and even though I was damp and cold, it still felt better than being on the bike.  At some point, I crawled out of the tent, wrestled my cold, gritty shoes back on, and got back on the bike for another lap.  My Garmin was dead, but judging by my lap times, I lost about and hour and a half.

My teeth were chattering on the climb out of the transition area, and flashbacks of stage 2 at the Breck Epic crept in.  But my legs and body felt surprisingly better.  Amazing what an hour of sleep can do for you.

24 hrs of COS at dawn

24 hrs of COS at dawn. Turns out, baggy white knee warmers don’t look as hot as I would have imagined.

Coming in from lap 9, basecamp was still quite, so I grabbed a pickle and headed back out.  When I came back in from lap 10, Drew was there.  He had evidently come in while I was out, and gone to bed.  We both sipped coffee in the tent as Toni heated up some Ramen.  The sun was newly out, and it felt nice.  We decided to ride the rest of the time together, which was the best idea we had of the whole event.

24 hrs of COS last lap

24 hrs of COS last lap. So close I can taste it.

Shortly into lap 12, a singlespeeder passed me and asked the obligatory question, “What lap are you on?”  Turned out we were both on lap 12. Bummer.  I was hoping he  would be well ahead or well behind because I didn’t feel like racing anymore.  Drew and I had settled into a relatively enjoyable pace, and I wasn’t in the mood to turn it up.  So I let him go.  But he never disappeared from view.   After a while, we were right back on him.  I could see that he was starting to crack.  My legs felt springy again, and we took it up a couple notches.  I led most of the climbs, and Drew led through the flats, pulling me along in his draft.  The last two laps were my fastest of the whole race.  Eager to be done, we hammered the rest of the way home.  I finished with 13 laps in the books, Drew with 14.  My total distance was 175 miles.

24 hrs of COS at the finish

24 hrs of COS at the finish with Drew

24 hrs of COS. Drew and Jeff all done

24 hrs of COS. Drew and Jeff all done

Last year, I managed 12 laps on the same course, and I thought that was as much as I could possibly do.   That was good enough for 5th last year.   I knocked out an extra lap this year, and had to battle for the 5th and final podium spot.   Not as big a turn out this year, but everyone, without exception, was strong.   No pack fodder this year.  Drew lost a couple places in the night with his nap, but took home an impressive 8th place in an open field of strong riders, including Cameron Chambers and Tinker Juarez.  Don’t think I would have made it on the podium if not for riding with Drew.  Somehow, hurting together is more fun than hurting alone.

Last year, I didn’t know 5th place was on the podium, so this year, I made sure to stick around to collect my medal.  On the drive home, I pulled into the parking lot of a Taco Bell in Castle Rock, clutched my 5th place medal, and shut my eyes.  It would be a while before I would feel human again, but somehow, the sun-baked asphalt of a ghetto-fabulous fast food joint seemed the perfect place to start.

Big thanks to Toni for her amazing support and photos.  And thanks to Drew for coercing me into doing the race, which was decidedly worth the effort in the end, and was undeniably, terribly painful.  And I swear it will absolutely be my last 24 hour race ever.  EVER.

24 hrs of COS, not last place!

24 hrs of COS, not last place!

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