Tuesday, May 14, 2013

12 Hours of Mesa Verde-2013

Once again Shannon and I loaded the car and traveled out of state for yet another bike race.  This time it was to Cortez, Colorado for 12 Hours of Mesa Verde.  Shannon and I teamed up for our third attempt to win the race and chase after our coveted goal of nine laps.  We finished second in 2009 and 2012, both times barely missing the cutoff time for a ninth lap.  This year not only did we win the co-ed duo category (where Shannon and I team up and alternate laps relay style on the 16-mile course), but we also completed nine laps for a total of 144 miles.

Here's how it went down:  Actually, it almost didn't go down.  As I mentioned in my Whiskey50 post, Shannon had an allergy flare up in Prescott which turned into a full fledged sinus something.  Not only did he barely ride his bike in the week leading up to Mesa Verde, he was still on antibiotics.  I was okay with staying home, but Shannon, being a bit stubborn, insisted we race.  So, after work Thursday, we loaded the TDI with 3 bikes and Dizzy and drove the 3.5 hours to Moab for the night.  The following morning we rolled into Cortez before noon to burn a lap on the racecourse.  I had packed my beloved Pivot Les hardtail race bike as well as my brand spanking new Pivot 429carbon full suspension bike.  I was honestly torn as to which bike I should race.  My hardtail is so fast, but the dualie is sooo fun.  In the end, I decided to race both, but I'll get to that in a minute.  First, with the exception of a little hiccup, Friday's pre-ride was amazing.  Even though I have raced Mesa Verde twice before, I had forgotten just how fun the course is!  We ripped a lap and then I took Dizzy out to burn some puppy energy.  This is when the little hiccup occurred, one minute Dizzy was running behind me, the next he was gone.  I'm sure he just got distracted for a split second, but I was worried.  Some other racers pre-riding stayed on lookout while I rode back to the parking lot where I thought perhaps he got distracted.  Well, he eventually turned up on the trail where I lost him.  Thank you Tara and Chris for helping me find the little bugger.  Good thing he's so darn cute because he was in big trouble!

Naughty hound puppy

Back to the racing.  Saturday morning we woke up at the butt crack of dawn to eat before the 7AM start.  Shannon was to go first which made me especially happy because it was a LeMans start.  A couple hundred bike racers in carbon soled shoes running a 1/4 mile or so to their bikes is a pretty hysterical sight.

The LeMans start

Shannon is not much of a runner and he was about midpack by the time he got to his bike.  He then had a couple of miles of dirt road to pass as many racers as possible before funneling into singletrack for the remaining 13 miles of the lap.  Shannon's first lap put us into 4th place and I was a bit worried that he wasn't feeling well.  As he came through the transition area, I grabbed the baton clothespin and took off not wasting a single second to exchange words. My goal: to make up as much time as possible. My lap went relatively smoothly and I was able to pick off 2 racers putting us into second place.  After my lap, I checked out the real time standings.  We were in 2nd place by about a minute.  Not a large margin to overcome, especially with 9+ hours of racing left, however Shannon's first lap was six minutes slower than the leading team's male rider and I was only five minutes faster than their female.  If those margins stayed consistent we would finish second yet again.  Fortunately, Shannon was feeling fine and he put in a strong second lap putting us just a couple of minutes behind the leading team.  I was able to overcome this deficit my second lap to pull us into the lead.  For the remaining six hours, we both stayed consistent and by the end of the day had about an hour lead on second place.  We finally won 12 Hours of Mesa Verde and perhaps more importantly achieved our 9 lap goal which meant Shannon had to go out for a fifth lap.  Hehe, poor Shannon:)

Now to the bikes:  Pivot Les versus Pivot 429Carbon.  Honestly, it is a toss up.  I rode the Les for my first lap.  It is so light and stiff that it is a huge advantage on the climbs.  I absolutely love racing this bike.  I switched to the 429Carbon dualie for my second lap.   The full suspension was so smooth and effortless through the rock sections plus it was just plain fun to launch over roots and rocks.  In the end, due to the nature of the course, I stuck with the 429.  The fun factor and smooth riding over six hours of racing won out!


  1. Nice race! That naughty puppy! Our dog escaped the new yard and just about gave me a heart attack that I wouldn't find him. He was in trouble for DAYS.

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