Race Report: Jim’s Bessies Creek 6 Hour
April 13, 2016/ Jim Parker
Originally published on the Cruzbike Forum, here’s a quick write up from Jim:
Quick race report: My 6-hour race started at 1 PM, just as the wind for the weekend was approaching its peak. I hoped to break Ron Swift’s record of 138.1 miles. Swift is a legend in Texas. Because my training rides had been going pretty well, and I’d dropped 20 lbs over the past several months, I thought the record was achievable. I knew that I needed to average over 23 mph to take the course record, including stops for traffic lights, going slow through the “neutral zone” each lap, etc.; so my moving speed had to be well above that threshold. What I did not count on was the wind.
Here is the wind data for the day:
As you can see, the wind was perfectly timed with my race. The course is a 21.3 mile loop of Texas country roads, and the format is time-trial (no drafting allowed). The first half of each lap mostly went into a stiff headwind. I just tried to hold steady power through these sections and not worry about my speed. On the back-half of the course, there were sections of pure cycling ecstasy, with scenic swooping curves at 30 mph with an unseen helping hand pushing me along. I also marked each lap with a countdown of road-kill to dodge: a 6-foot rattlesnake, a opossum, an armadillo, a very bloated raccoon, and then some kind of dead bird.
My crew of Jonathan Garcia and Tom Roberts were crucial in providing fast pit stops. I felt good the whole race except for some muscle cramps in both legs the last 90 minutes. Salt tablets helped those subside, so I suspect I was short on electrolytes.
As the 6-hours wound down, I knew my mileage would be very close, so I pushed through a few episodes of cramping that I would have normally stopped for a stretch break. Fortunately I was able to put in strong final laps and just barely nab the record with 138.6 miles. That’s 23.1 mph average.
I ran with a disk wheel in the back. I actually loved the feel of the disk in the wind… it connected me through the bike with the wind, if that makes sense. An occasional side gust would startle me, but nothing too hard to handle.
Very proud of Maria and Ben’s performance as well. Ben rode very steadily (420 miles !) despite hooking his front wheel in a rut and taking a minor spill on the first lap.
What can you say about Maria driving down to Texas and laying down the most miles ever (457.7) in the 24-hour race, topping the mileage of luminaries like Kent Polk, John Schlitter, and Chris Hopkinson?
She’s a keeper.
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