Tribe Report: 2017 Bike Sebring

Jim and I always look forward to Sebring 12/24 hour races in February. The event is recumbent friendly, in beautiful (usually warm) Florida and we look forward to seeing friends year after year.

This was our 7th Sebring year and by far in a way the most thrilling. THIRTEEN Cruzbike tribe members came down to race. I felt like a proud mother-hen standing around the Cruzbike tent on Friday afternoon with all the Cruzbike racers around me. Over the last 7 years increasing numbers of our Cruzbike family have joined us in Sebring, but this year’s baker’s dozen was at least double what we’ve ever had before, and each one of them rode excellent races. I give credit to the warm and encouraging Cruzbike forum community that helps newbies and the experienced alike.

The results were outstanding. Nearly everyone earned a medal for age group or overall results. Everyone experienced challenges and yet every racer ended up with mileages (and speeds) that I am so incredibly proud of.

Of course none of this happens without an amazing crew. Robert Holler flew all the way from Portland and replaced at least three derailleur hangers, one cassette and goodness knows what else to keep bikes up and running smoothly, he ran to replenish food and water and found whatever arcane thing we asked for. He also stayed up much of the night after two very long days to crew for me.

Lucia Parker is our greatest secret asset. Few people know how much she does to make us all look good. She is working incredibly hard to make this company soar. She also works at the more humble tasks of crewing, photographing, social media-ing and when needed dragging her disgustingly smelly mother’s body into a shower.

Ben Tomblin didn’t race, but made the sacrifice to come out and crew for us, we also had Jim Chickos crewing. Many of our racers crewed after their 100 mile and 12 hour races were done. Thanks to each of you. Thank you, too, Eddie Rayford, who took most of these pictures!

I asked each racer to write a paragraph with what they will remember most, you’ll love reading their thoughts below.

Connie Swinson

12 hour
210.2 miles
First Recumbent Female 60-65 age group.

Sebring was awesome. After crewing for Hardy last year I couldn’t wait to ride, too. Loved riding with all the Cruzbikers Friday. Everyone was so friendly. This was my first time racing 12 hours.
I didn’t think I would make the 200 mile goal and was thrilled when I passed it by 10 miles. I think my favorite memory was when Jim gave me a tangerine. It was the best tangerine I ever had.

Maria’s note: Last year Connie wasn’t even comfortable on a recumbent. By this year, she’d talked Hardy out of is V20 (he rode the S30) to race the 12 hour. Go Connie. So fun to have you join the small but growing sisterhood.

Hardy Swinson

12 Hour
214.3 miles
Second place Male Recumbent 60-64
@trplay

The historic venue of Sebring makes for a great setting for a bike race. The large number of recumbents that participate make this a great recumbent event. The large number of Cruzbike riders that participate make Sebring a marvelous memorable get-together. If you ride a Cruzbike life is good, if you ride it at Sebring it’s even better. Sebring,
See you next year!

Maria’s Note: Hardy gave up his V20 so that Connie could have the best chance in the 12 hour. Hardy has also designed a new Cruzbike accessory that’s coming out soon. I used the prototype on my bike and know from aerodynamic testing that it saved me energy and was a fabulous place to store my gear. Thank you Hardy for all you do for all of us.

Lanier Meeks

12 Hour
202.6 miles
Third Recumbent Male 50-54 age group
@Tigerpaw

It was great being a part of my second Sebring event. The first event, Feb 2016, I rode the century, got to crew some and observe all the other 12 and 24 hour cyclists the rest of that day. Met many really great folks! This year, my second attempt at a 12 hour (first was at the Mid Atlantic Aug 2016) was a new benchmark for me. One, I didn’t cramp up like I did at the Mid Atlantic. Two, I completed the 12 hours. Three, managed to ride over 200 miles. Considering I had 21 minutes down time for a flat and another 20 minutes down for the worst hot foot I’ve ever had; not a bad ride for me. All and all, It was another beautiful day, personal best ride for me and wonderful to see old friends and make some new.

Maria’s Note: Lanier is a long-time friend and supporter. I’m so honored to have him racing a Cruzbike.

Paul Gagnon

24 hour
360.6 Miles
First Recumbent Male 65-69

This was my 3rd 24 hr race at Sebring,the 2 previous 2014, 2015 were very memorable because of the freezing temperatures particularly in the night hours. In fact I swore to never brave low 30’s temps again last year and did my first 12 hr race on my new, to me, Vendetta.Therefore, what I will remember most about this year will be the perfect weather for a 24 hr race…I was never too hot or too cold but just perfect,without the discomfort of foul temps, I was able to fully concentrate on spinning and enjoying the ride…and I did… right to the last minute on the clock. I was so happy to be with Maria all night representing Cruzbike. Although Maria’s 460 was a hundred miles more than my 360, I am thrilled to do my geriatric best and show others what’s possible when you are fit on the right machine…Add to that the fellowship, enthusiasm, and uniqueness of our tribe and our Cruzbike steeds, 13 in all, and you have the makings of forever good memories

Maria’s Note: Paul makes our Cruzbikes look fun and beautiful . His loving attitude and warmth to every racer makes him a favorite to all. He is Santa Claus after all. Great job on a Personal Record at age 66.

Ken Holzhausen

24 hour
251.6 Miles
Second Recumbent Male 50-54

This was my first Sebring event. All things were new to me. I remember how cold my arms were while riding on the track in the dark morning. I remember how hot I was doing the 11 mile loop in the afternoon. I remembered piercing the wind as it passed me in the wide open sections of the 100 mile loop. I may have been passed in the pits, but I believe I can count on one hand the conventional bikes that passed me on the course. I remember the nice perfume fragrance of the orange groves we passed. That is not common to Indiana. Last but not least. I remember the people. Riding with over 200 other riders that are friendly and tough competitors. They have some of the same traits I possess. Looking at the results, I would say they may have a little bit more than myself.

Maria’s Note: I am so proud of Ken for racing so far on a Cruzbike Q. I think his mileage is the most anyone has ever raced on a Q. After well more than 12 hours on the bike, Ken pulls into the pit area at the 24 and utters our favorite quote: “I lost my why.” For a guy whose why tank was empty, Ken did fabulously.

Larry Oslund

12 hour
264.9 Miles
Second place Male Recumbent 55-59
@LarryOz

Memories: The pre-race gathering in the parking lot. What a magnificent and diverse group of cyclists all on Cruzbikes! Seeing old friends, meeting new ones for the first time. Fantastic group photo and ride around the 11 mile loop with everyone!

The Race on Saturday: Almost wiping out Jim trying to get my feet clipped back in after the crazy turnaround at frostproof (where for some reason the guys in front came to a dead stop to put their chip in.) Even though in the 12 hour group, pulling the Century group the last 8 miles or so and leading Jim out for his victory. Way to go Jim!
My rear wheel rubbing on my tailbox during the Century, my rear skewer coming loose after the 2nd 11 mile loop, my left leg cramping around mile 250 causing me to soft crash in the grass, and my final sprint lap around the Sebring track at 24+ mph trying to beat the clock before 12:00:00 turned over. Missed it by 70 seconds of course. All great memories I will never forget.

Thanks Jim & Maria for making Cruzbike available to all, and thanks and blessings to everyone in the Tribe. The Tribe still never ceases to amaze me in their friendliness, loyalty, and generosity. There is not another group like it under the Son! (No, that was not a typo!)

Maria’s Note: Larry is an amazing athlete and competes frequently bringing home win after win on his V20.. This year at Sebring his long hard pull toward the end of the 100 made it possible for Jim to win the 100 mile. Way to be a team player!

Kyle Larsen

12 Hour
245.3 miles
First place Male Recumbent 45-49

What I will remember most is crashing at mile 65, spending one full minute there, deciding to chase the group down at 35.1 mph and reaching them despite the group’s effort and success chasing down a break away. This should have been impossible. I remained with the race leaders until mile 120 which was well beyond my expectations and I went on to win my age division.

More details and pictures on the forum here.

Maria’s Note: It is nearly miraculous to pull off what Ken did after his crash and the damage it caused to his bike. We can’t wait to see what he does when he doesn’t crash. We’re glad to have you in the tribe!

David Heslop

100 Mile
5:10:26
Fourth overall

A paragraph of words for a life goal project of a year or so. Well at the age of 45 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I was grossly overweight and I needed a game changer. Enter Cruzbike. I started to familiarize myself with the conversion kit and then moved onto the V20. The experience has been Stellar. I set an objective of riding at Sebring this year and nothing would deter me from that goal. I have had all sorts of disruptions. What I like best about Sebring? The atmosphere and meeting the riders on the forum. It’s been one of the best experiences of my life.

Maria’s Note: We’re so proud of David and his new-found body and fitness. His story is an inspiration to any of us who have struggled with being overweight and out of shape. His single minded determination inspires everyone else.

Harry Campbell

12 Hour
194.7 miles
Fourth Place Male Recumbent 50-54
@HC203

I have lots of memories of my week in Florida, the Keys, blue skies, sun, iguanas.
But for the race I will always remember on every lap being cheered on by somebody in the Cruzbike camp. Still unsure of who that woman was, but thanks! I wasn’t destroying the course but felt I was a champion on every lap.
It was a beautiful day, I recall wind and some pain in my back and quite a bit in my left knee. But i remedied that with ice, which cost me time, but was necessary. Then the crew next to our van in the pit gave me a knee brace that helped tremendously. So clearly the take-away for me is the camaraderie and good-will at this event.

Personally, finding determination to keep going, on long stretches of solo riding I did some soul searching, sometimes I was frustrated but I worked through that with the overriding thought that nothing is impossible and this won’t kill me-and it’s a privilege to have the physical ability to even do it, no matter the speed. I’m grateful. I’ll remember encouraging Mike to do one more lap of the short course, and then another, and he and I sharing the same desire to not give up despite no goal except to ride to the end. Done.

Maria’s Note: Harry “Pre-gamed” in the Florida Keys riding a couple of hundred miles before this race. We can’t wait to see what he can do rested and tapered. So glad to have you in the tribe Harry. And that was Lucia shouting for you from the Cruzbike camp!

Tanya Pankratz

12 Hour
221.9 Miles
First Place Female Recumbent 35-39

With some time removed from the event and the travel and settling back into the cadence of regular life I think what really sticks with me is, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” It was reinforced over and over again. You don’t know what an event is like until you go there. You don’t know how much effort goes into the amazing things people do until you are able to witness it. You don’t know where your own breaking point is until you push your comfort boundaries. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you try.

Never settle for “I could never do that”.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Maria’s Note: Tanya is an incredible athlete. As the partner of Bob “Ratz” Pankratz, she’s got the advantage of good equipment, but lots of pressure too. I know how that feels. I’m so excited to have this new friend racing beside me.

Maria Parker

24 Hour
460.6 Miles
First Place Recumbent 50-54

What a terrific year! I loved seeing so many Cruzbikes out on the course. The first 100 miles flew by, and I continued to ride strong through the day loops. My stomach gave up on me about 14 hours in. Nausea is a long time friend for me during longer rides. I had hoped some new techniques would solve the issue, but it was not to be. My favorite memory is pulling into the pit after the final lap to see so many friends at 6:30 in the morning! I look forward to many more Sebring 12 hour races. 24 hour races are behind me now. I’m challenging my new Cruzbike riding sisterhood to step up and set new records!

Jim Parker

100 Mile
4:17:36
First Overall

What I will remember most is looking around and seeing so many Cruzbike people. It’s was like a family reunion (or a Tribe homecoming). And winning a race is A LOT of fun! More about the race on my blog post here.

Maria’s Note: Jim has been working out harder than ever thanks in part to the forum community and especially Bob Pankratz. He was in great shape, thin from his new diet and more disciplined than ever. I’m so proud of him.

Bob Pankratz

12 Hour
221.9 Miles
Second Male Recumbent 45-49
Forum: @ratz

Bike races are competitions within competitions; when they are done you get to read the standing and results from afar but that does not tell a fraction of the story. My first time at Sebring was not about the results it was about the People. Riders, crews, and family and friends. There was not a single person who was there this weekend that competed, crewed or cheered alone, even if you truly came to the event solo for 100 miles, 12 hours or 24 hours you were not alone. I have ridden more “social” events over the years than I can count. Years from now I am not going to remember what my bike looked like, how rough the pavement was, how awful tasting liquid fuel is with sunburned lips, or the mistakes I made. What I am going to remember is the 4×4 mental pictures of the faces that surrounded me: grins of excitement, sharp glints in the eyes; concerned but supportive expressions for loved ones and friends, grimaces pain and suffering while everyone else is asleep, tears of all varieties, and most of all gigantic smiles of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Read Bob’s detailed write-up on the forum here.

Maria’s Note: Bob is a leader in the Cruzbike Tribe. He is responsible for motivating and encouraging Jim and I to get to our current fitness levels. He also knows about all the best gadgets and toys and has totally destroyed our bike budget. Bob also is a humble and excellent husband who brought Tanya to the dance and then helped her and everyone else, sacrificing his own goals.

Thank you, everyone, for a truly wonderful weekend. Our hearts are full!

19 comments

  1. Awesome job to everyone that raced! Does anyone know if Ken Holzhausen’s Q modifications are documented in a forum somewhere. Would love to see how he did some of them.

  2. As a new Cruzbike rider who plans to race, I want to thank all of you for the inspiring stories and warm welcome I have received so far. Each of you are heroes that are inspiring me to find my “fast” again and I so look forward to riding with each of you in the days, months, and races ahead! Thanks and see you all down the road!

  3. Hats off to all the cruzBikelanders. Now I think its time to come together and help out a fellow Cruzbiker. Poor Larry wanted to race so bad he came to Sebring and raced without handlebars on his bike. Maybe its time we all pitch in and buy him a set before next year?

  4. Thanks for sharing all that stories and congratulations to every single one of you!
    I admit I’m a bit envious about not beeing able to participate also (due to distance (vienna, Austria) and some other issues) but I’m happy that you did so incredibly well! Hats off and Thumbs up!
    Manfred, Vienna,
    minus two degrees……

  5. I love Jim and Maria the bike and the tribe hope to get together for at least one other event before the end of this year,hope to have more time to get to know more of the members off the bikes…

    1. Thank you Paul. I want to remind everyone (especially east-coasters) that we want everyone to come to the Cruzbike Ride Retreat at White Lake North Carolina August 24-27. We’ll have lots of beautiful rides on quiet country roads, swimming in Pristine White Lake and plenty of time to get to know one another. Save the Date!

  6. Great job. Very inspiring. Makes my decision to have bought a Q the right one. Not ready to “race”, but working towards a century, and once behind me, the Sebring 100 might be interesting – for a 71 year old.

  7. 460.6 miles. Wow.

    Reading this report made my day.

    The collective efforts made me proud to ride not only a great bike but to be part of the nicest group of cyclists with a capital H for humility .

    Well done the bakers dozen you are all champions.

  8. Great reading! What was that “prototype contraption” on the rear dropout of Jim’s bike? Is there a link to info on the October Cruzbike retreat?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *