Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jun's Coolest Race Report

Forsaking the tired, 24 Hours of Adrenaline race for greener (literally) pastures, the ‘nerds ventured north to Cool for the Coolest 24 Hours. We were not to be disappointed. It was obvious well before the event that it was a different vibe up there. No nickel and dime-ing racers and their volunteers for parking fees to get into the venue, no longer-than-agreed volunteer hours to keep promoter profits high (all proceeds for Cool went to cancer research).

The friendly and overworked promoter, Jim Northey, offered our campsite a keg to keep racers from all teams and distinctions well lubricated throughout the event. Even though State Parks seemed hellbent on finding ways to over-regulate their completely horse-trashed and overgrown field, much beer, fun, and camaraderie could be found by all come the weekend. Teams camped all around, intermixed with each other and acting like friendly neighbors. Interested parties could find discretely-positioned kegs abound. There was even a pizzeria/Mexican food restaurant a short stroll from camp, where we all had a “Velonerds family” dinner Friday night.

Saturday morning rose hot and threats of paint ball punishment for racers who cheated and left before teammates had completed a lap were somewhat nervously greeted by laughter from the milling crowd of solo racers and team captains. As the race neared start, Alex, Dave, and David took their positions in the 8 hour categories while Steve (MadCat for this race) was in 24 solo. Kyle joined another MadCat 4 person team. Bob, being the newest of the Velonerd newbies (I can’t believe Carlos and I were the old men of the team!) lined up for the obligate first lap for our 5 person co-ed team. They were off in a cloud of dust that became de rigueur for the rest of the race, destroying moving parts and defeating all but the goopiest of chain lubes.

Bob turned in ridiculously fast laps, even knowing that he’d be putting in 25% more distance than the rest of the team by the end of the 24 hours. Scotty, stirring from the frozen semi-retirement of Reno’s winter had our only flat (a constant curse for many on this course – rocks and thorns). He fixed it trailside and kept churning such blistering fast lap times, we wondered what would have happened if he’d been RIDING all that time since the last race. Nicole provided the kind of amazing race performance you’d expect for a woman whose tenacity consistently leads to top podium appearances. Carlos’ quick laps continually had me running for the start finish area, afraid he’d beat me there. Once, I had to be waved onto the course by Charlotte (our amazingly selfless and tireless teammate/support crew) because he’d come in so fast. Yep, quite a team. As night dropped onto the race course, we were behind the leading team by 17 minutes, but night riding is where the Velonerds traditionally shine. Eating away at their lead lap by lap, we caught up by midnight and morning’s light found us ahead by an even greater margin. As a team, we rode smart – not risking pinch flats or mechanicals – and by the end of the race, Bob could put in the coup de grace to see us win by a lap over our closest rivals.

In the solo categories, Alex (D.F.L.) and Steve were laid low by mechanical problems (tires, chains, brakes) that were the bane of many racers on this challenging course. David put in a strong showing on his dual squish and Sparky’s man crushed the competition on his singlespeed (!). I distinctly remember coming up on a fast-mover on the course, thinking, “Daaaaaang. He’s doing this on a singlespeed?” Only to find that it was our very own Dave hammering away. I didn’t even need to pass him my water bottle this time (Boggs) and his effort put him just shy of podium. In the time after the 8 hour and the finish of the 24 hour, a good time was had by all as we lounged, ate, drank, and otherwise consumed goodies in good company. The camaraderie of the Velonerd camp was by far the best part of the race. Way to go Nerds!

Quote from Bob in response to sappy post-race online comments:

"The social aspect certainly helps out during painful laps and cramps associated with getting in and out of a tent. But as this thread is on the verge of a group hug I think it's time to hear some South Park and substitute 'Alex' where Cartman says 'Kenny'.”

Results Spreadsheet.

And we have lots of pictures in various galleries from Cecilia, Dave and Nicole.