Race Report: Paul Gagnon’s 2016 Bike Sebring 12-hour
February 21, 2016/ Guest
This guest post is by Paul Gagnon who recently joined the Cruzbike Community riding one of Maria Parker’s old record-holding Vendettas. Thanks, Paul!
“A diamond frame recumbent is the way I describe this awesome machine. The elimination of a long wheel base and the efficiency of a single chain transmission translate to power I have never before experienced on a recumbent.” – Paul Gagnon
My first laid back bicycle was a Tour Easy I purchased from Gardner Martin in 99, after herniating 3 discs in my lower back. The ergonomic comfortable design allowed me to continue to ride, but no longer with the hammerhead groups I’d been spinning with for years. That is until 2004 when I asked David Karsch to produce a custom Carbent low rider for me. Revelation: ‘bents can be fast as well as comfortable! I became competitive again, often leading out group rides and causing a certain kaffluffle among my diamond frame friends. Over the years I added 3 more bents to the stable: a Linear, an Edge Haiku and a Catrike 700 – all long wheel base recumbents with an average of 2 and 1/2 chain lengths. None were as fast or nimble as my Carbent which in 2014 I was able to ride 334 mi at the Sebring 24. On May 1, 2014 I was hit by a truck and this beloved bike was destroyed.
Fast forward to today: after considering all the options open to to me I chose the Cruzbike Vendetta to race again, inspired by Maria Parker’s 3000 Miles to a Cure Race Across America ride for brain cancer research. The first time I attempted to ride one I was convinced they were unrideable. What a waste of 2 years of racing! Not only are these bikes rideable, they are the most efficient recumbent platform designed enabling this 65 year old grandfather to qualify for RAAM.
Paul and Maria before the race on Friday afternoon.
Paul heading off the track out to the long loop early in the race.
A diamond frame recumbent is the way I describe this awesome machine. The elimination of a long wheel base and the efficiency of a single chain transmission translate to power I have never before experienced on a bent. Although I had hoped in my initial race to cover 200 miles (I purchased the bike at Christmas last), the fact that that I didn’t make my goal had nothing to do with the bike and everything to do with planning and details. In my case, prophylactic use of anti-cramping aids in advance of cramping would have allowed me more time on the bike and I believe I would have easily accomplished my goal. I will do it at my next event.
All smiles at sunset.
Thank you Jim and Maria Parker for allowing me to be a part of your community at Sebring 2016, I was glad to get a podium finish for my age group and take home more bling from my third Sebring challenge. Cruzbikes rule!!!
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