Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 12 Hours of Mesa Verde Race Report

Quick Stats:
Place: 7th Place, Solo Singlespeed Male
Laps: 7
SS Gearing:  32 x 20
Time:  11:41:38
Distance:  114.8 Miles
Climbing:  7,369’

A “great” race at Mesa Verde still eludes me.  I did set a new PR by shaving five minutes off of last year’s time but I had much higher expectations for this year.  Based on how I felt during the race and the fact that I didn't achieve my goal, I have to say that I had a good, not great, race.  Before I dive into that, let’s talk about something far more positive. 

Fast forward to the end of Lap #1 as I pulled into my pit for a super fast hydration pack swap.  As I skidded to stop, I heard someone yell, “I am passing you Dave Byers!!!” and giggle as they rode by.  Doh!  I didn’t know who it was at the time but I scrambled to get back in the saddle and within 100 yards I was riding behind my long-time friend Cat Morrison.  Cat was also racing Solo Singlespeed and we immediately fell into a great pace with me following her around the track for Lap #2.

After a bit of catching up chit-chat, the silliness began.  Those riding around us either got a good chuckle or were totally annoyed by our silliness but we could care less.  We were riding fast and smiling and it was fun.  There was still a lot of traffic on Lap #2 and a constant stream of team racers were trying to pass their way through the field.  We complimented the polite passers and heckled the bad passers.  We even told one guy he was in the penalty box, 2 minutes, for a botched pass.  At least he laughed.   

We did our share of passing as well.  I reminded Cat of Ricky Bobby’s excellent technique for passing, Shake-N-Bake, and we used it effectively.  I had to pull out a Talladega Nights reference for my homie Fiddee Cent who couldn't race Mesa Verde this year.

By the time we got to the Rib Cage section, we were in full-on “Yeehaw” mode and getting “Rad” air.  No, I am serious…my wheels totally left the ground and I have photographic proof.  We threw down a very respectable lap time and it was amazing how our silliness took our minds off of the effort.  Cat and I got separated during our third lap but Cat went on to crush the women’s Solo Singlespeed field and win by a full lap.  Awesome! 

Good vs. Great
Why didn’t I have a "great" race this year?  I had a great build-up to this race and then a nice taper leading into it.  I felt really good during my little "openers" ride on Tuesday.  However, when I arrived in Cortez late Thursday night I was stiff and sore. My main issue was once again my lower back.  I realize that everyone’s lower back hurts at the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde because Tuffy Rim simply beats your ass and the cumulative effect of this lap after lap takes its toll.  However, my back has been bothering me on-and-off for a few weeks and it really felt jacked up after the 11+ hour drive to Cortez on Thursday. 

Note to self:  If you are going to travel to races that far away, plan to break up the drive or don’t go at all. 

Fifteen minutes into the first lap of Saturday’s race, my back pain was already affecting the way I had to ride.  Thoughts of quitting crept into my brain.  At one point during the first lap I remember thinking to myself, “Maybe you should stop racing your bike until you figure out what the fuck is wrong with your back.”  However, the post-race euphoria and sense of accomplishment wash those types of thoughts away just like the shower washes away the fine dust from the Phil’s World trails.

I was able to push through it and have a solid race and I am proud of that.  From a pacing & strategy standpoint, I wouldn’t change a thing except to maybe run a little faster next year.  Speaking of next year, now I HAVE to go back in 2013.

2012 Lap Splits

Despite my little physical drama, it will be the people that I remember from the 2012 12 Hours of Mesa Verde.  The people are what I love about mountain bike racing.  Racing with my friend Cat, watching Jonathan & Eszter win the Duo Co-Ed race, and meeting new friends Brian & Brandon were highlights.

Now I will take a bit of time to recover and dig even further into my lower back issue.  Lastly, I would like to publicly apologize to everyone who rode near me during the race and had to listen to my creaking Salsa Selma Ti.  It was so loud it was embarrassing...so now I have that little project to attend to.

1 comment:

AJ said...

Nice job dude! Way to give 'er!