Laura and John Crawford are a husband and wife Cruzbike Vendetta V20c riding pair. And they are blisteringly fast. The HooDoo 500 is a grueling ultramarathon bicycle road race that is rarely dared, much less finished. Laura (a new V20c rider) and John smashed records and had a blast. Enjoy their ride report below.
My husband, John, and I are both Cruzbike aficionados now! We recently competed in the HooDoo 500 Stage Race in St. George, Utah, and set all kinds of records! But first, let me give a little background.
Last year in November, at the World Time Trial Championships in Borrego Springs, CA, my husband and I both competed in the 24-hour solo event. He raced in the 50+ recumbent category on his Cruzbike, and I raced on my Cervelo P3X time trial bike in the 60+ category. He ended up winning not only his age group but was first overall recumbent. He had been in second place behind Cliff Federspiel (also racing on a Cruzbike), but Cliff was forced to stop early. I won my age group with 351.6 miles, setting the new 60+ record (breaking the old record by 22.8 miles), and even stopped an hour early.
While there, we met Maria and Jim Parker, owners of Cruzbike. I had witnessed firsthand how fast Maria was. She was racing in the 12-hour event on her Cruzbike, and passed by me on the course as though I was standing still! After the race, we were talking about the wonders and comforts of Cruzbikes, of which I was already familiar due to my husband’s conversion years ago. Maria said I should give one a try, after all, they didn’t have too many women racing on them!
After the race, on our drive back to our home in Arizona, my husband and I talked about the idea. As I sat in the car thinking back to the race and how sore my neck, shoulders, and back had been, the idea was starting to appeal to me. By the end of that month, I made my decision – I was going to bite the bullet and order the V20C, along with getting John the same bike (in a different color, of course) to upgrade his older V20.
The holidays went by with too much going on to really try out my new bike, but in January, after John assembled and fitted it for me, I gave it my first try.
We had ridden recumbents across the country in 2011, but they were cheap Chinese knock-offs with the standard rear-wheel drive and its extra long chain (that we had many issues with)! My first try was a little shaky, but I was at least able to ride it without falling over!
I thought to myself, WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!?!
My first day, I think I rode about 2 miles. The next time I felt a lot more secure and went for about 10 miles. After that, I never looked back – I got faster and faster, and more and more comfortable on it, both in its handling as well as the physical comfort my body was enjoying! After only another month or two, I decided it was time to sign up for this year’s racing, and I was going to do them all on my Cruzbike. Our first race of the year, which we had done last year, was to be the 24 Hours in the Canyon, a race in the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, Texas. However, due to heavy rains and flooding, it got cancelled only a few days before. So back to the training to get ready for our next race, the Hoodoo 500. We train in Flagstaff, Arizona and get a lot of benefits from its high elevation and hills. I was getting better climbing on my Cruzbike, and while the steepest climbs were comparable to my previous years on my Cervelo, the flats and slight grades (both up and down), were a LOT faster on my Cruzbike!
So, 2 weeks ago, John and I headed to St. George, Utah for the race. We had each raced there and finished 4 times prior, so this was to be our Hall of Fame Year. Because I am racing again, solo, in the Natchez Trace 444 in only 3 weeks, we had decided to race in the Hoodoo 500 Stage Race as a 2-person team, the “easiest” option for the race! With 520 miles, and over 30,000’ of climbing, even with 2 people it is still not easy! We were the only mixed team racing, so our main sights were set on the previous course record.
Day 1 took us from St. George to Escalante with 196.6 miles and 11,890’ of climbing.
I was nervous as I really had no idea how I would perform climbing that much on my Cruzbike. John kept telling me not to worry, that I’d be fine. Our plan was to take roughly 30-minute pulls before passing off the satellite tracker to each other. We had trained a lot, but was it enough for these long difficult climbs? YES!! I was very pleasantly surprised. My biggest fear was that I would have to walk up the steepest grades (over 17%). I shouldn’t have worried. While I was probably a little slower on the steepest climbs than I had been previously on my Cervelo, I more than made up for it on the rest of the route.
Day 2 took us from Escalante to Panguitch, the long way around, by going up and over Boulder Mountain, with 171 miles and 10,974’ of climbing.
This was the hardest day, as it had the steepest climbs, one of which is over 17%! Thankfully it was John’s turn on the bike when that one came up! I’m sure I would have had to walk on that one, but we’ll never know! But all the other climbs of the day went well for both of us. Because we were in 3rd place overall (one 25-year-old guy and one 2-man team were in front of us for both of the first days), we were ahead of everyone else out there. That turned out to be very fortunate as some awful storms were hitting just after we came through several parts. Many people had to wait out flash flooding and hail, but we just kept pushing hard and were able to outrun almost all of it. We both had a little rain on us that day, but we fared better than most.
Day 3 started immediately with the climb up Cedar Mountain. It’s a long climb, about 30 miles, and goes to over 10,000 feet elevation. The day’s totals were much easier though – 153.7 miles and only 8,266’ of climbing.
It was a beautiful day, thankfully! We attacked all the climbs with relative ease and absolutely flew on the flats and downs! I was never happier with the ease and comfort of my Cruzbike! We finished that afternoon very happy with our effort!
We were able to beat all of our goals for the race.
We beat our own prior team effort (when I was on my Cervelo), but also beat the all-age 2-mixed team standard bike course record by over 3 hours. Our effort gave us not only the 60+, 50+ and all-age mixed team recumbent records, but we also set the record for all age groups/all bike types mixed teams category.
In addition we now hold the record in the made-for-us-category (I think!) of married couple team!
And as the race director, Deborah Bowling, put it, the icing on the cake was that we were inducted into their Hall of Fame, because we each now had 5 Hoodoo finishes!
Do I love my Cruzbike? YES YES YES! Next up for me – Natchez Trace 444. (John will be my crew chief for this one!)