Several club members competed at the Dirty Dozen race at Bluff Creek Ranch, Warda last weekend (2nd Feb). This is a 12-hour race at Bluff Creek Ranch Warda where riders or teams of riders complete as many laps as they can in 12 hours. No BVMBAers were mad enough to race the event solo this time! but BVMBA did have a great showing and entered 3 teams.
Travis, JP, James, and Victor arrived on Friday afternoon and chose what only can be described as a prime camping spot near a pond in the woods, very close to the course, but still close to the start and finish line. Collin, the Flynn brothers, and I arrived at 7am on Saturday morning and joined up with the happy campers who were enjoying a hearty breakfast. John made everyone’s day by sharing some What’s the Buzz Coffee with us. We then went to the race meeting and made some final adjustments to our bikes.
James, Justin, and Colin competed, as the BVMBA Crank Monkeys in the 3-4 person masters category. John, JP, and Victor racing as team Are we there yet? Are we there yet? also competed in this category. Travis and I competed in the 2 person open category as team Foci. Boon was riding with the guys from the Aggieland Procycling Race Team in the 3-4 person open category.
The race started with a Le Mans start where the first riders on each team had to run several hundred meters to their bikes. Happily Travis agreed to do this! The start gun went off and the riders sprinted (or waddled in their cycling shoes) to their bikes, mounted up, and then disappeared into the woods in a cloud of dust. The rest of us went back to the campsite and ingested some more calories while we waited for our teammates to complete their first lap. The camping spot was great as we could watch the riders go past. All our teams got off to flying starts. All too quickly it was my turn to ride! Part way through my first lap I was surprised but happy to come round a sharp corner and see the familiar face of Joel; he was taking race photos for Bobcat 13 Photography. Kim and Ali were also there doing a 13-hour shift as volunteers keeping track of the solo racers! Travis and I used a two-lap strategy and my first two laps went pretty smoothly (if a little slowly).
Unfortunately, Travis snapped his chain on his second lap (he must he been pedaling much harder that I was) but fixed it and went on to complete his two laps. Meanwhile I went back to camp and hung out with the others. My rest time went by surprisingly quickly and before I knew I was back on my bike again. My next two laps were a bit harder than the first two but I made it back in. Travis then had another mechanical failure when his rear derailleur cable snapped. He finished his lap in single speed mode and I was back on the bike again. During this lap my freshly devoured salami sandwich was sitting heavily on my stomach and threatening to make reappearance with every hill. Luckily my lower esophageal withstood the onslaught of partially digested food, Gatorade, and gastric acid and I finished my lap with my lunch in my stomach.
Meanwhile Victor wrecked on his 3rd lap (serves him right for riding so damn fast!) and unfortunately injured his knee. He finished the lap and had to be forced to stop riding by his teammates to prevent serious injury! So John and JP took over and continued to ride strongly. Justin riding for the Crank Monkeys aggravated a knee injury and was forced to pull out leaving James and Collin to finish up.
The sun had set by the time I finished my last couple of laps. It was great at first as it was cooler and my legs felt okay. However, by the second lap fatigue and the low light levels were taking their toll, I could barely ride in a straight line and the course was kicking my ass. On more than one occasion that lap I did a trick known as low speed full turtle roll and embarrassingly each time it took several minutes for me to right myself get and back on my bike. I was delighted to make it back to the start/finish line leaving Travis to take over. I have to admit at this point I gave up and started to gorge myself on pita chip, hummus, and full-fat Coke. By the time Travis made it back in my bike was in my car and I was happily in a food coma back at the campsite. Travis probably had another lap in him but his rear derailleur was constantly ghost-shifting so team Foci called it quits.
In the absence of Victor, John and JP switched to a two-lap strategy. On the last lap JP narrowly lost a sprint finish to a competing rider. To be fair JP did not know they were on the same number of laps and the other rider did. James must have been in the zone because a red mist came down over his eyes and he was riding like a machine. Collin and Justin had to physically stop him from riding laps even though the race was over; otherwise I think he would still have been out there!
The final results were as follows. Boone competed and the Aggieland Procycling Race team won the open 3-4 person open category with 21 laps. Victor, JP, and John competed came 4th out of 13 teams with 19 laps and just missed out on 3rd place in the highly competitive masters category. James, Justin, and Collin also competed in this category and came a very respectable 10th out of 13 teams with 16 laps. Travis and I came 4th out of 6 teams in the 2 person open division with 14 laps.
Some solid performances from the BVMBAers but above all we had an awesome time with some great company on a beautiful Texas day! Its funny my memory of the pain and fatigue is rapidly fading and I am already planning for the 2014 Dirty Dozen (I may even do some training next time)!