Monday, February 16, 2015

Sebring 24 hour bike race report

I’m not sure exactly why I came back to Sebring, Florida to do the 24 hour race again, after last year I thought maybe I would come back and just do the 12 hour. Anyway I signed up for it early in the year and tried to get in a few long rides to get ready. Last year my biggest problem was trying to stay warm during the chilly central Florida night. Nothing that 5 layers couldn’t solve and paying better attention to hydration and electrolytes.

Race day started at 6:30 AM and about 5 degrees C. Light to moderate wind from the north. It was sunny all day so the 15 degrees C seemed warm enough.

I entered the 24 hour draft legal race, the other race was the RAAM qualifier with no drafting. Most of the fast guys entered the RAAM qualifier. 400 miles in 24 hours needed to qualify.

I managed to get into a nice pack of about 10 riders for the outbound 50 miles headed north into the wind. I lost the pack at the 50 mile aid station and spent the rest of the day solo. 

Finished up the first 100 miles in about 5:25. Then onto the “long loop” around Sebring, 8 times 11 miles and then onto the race track just before 6:30 PM. NASCAR bought the track last year, nice guys, they continue to donate the track once a year for the bike race. Silverstone in England charged 100,000 something for a fondo over there.

Lots of loops around Sebring race track (42 total) and into the night, got a bit cold again and the layers went on. At 19 hours into the race I stopped in the pits to see the timing print outs. I was surprised to see I was 15 miles behind the leader and 25 miles ahead of the third guy. At that point I thought I would just go back out there and ride as hard as I could for a few hours to see if I could catch him. I dropped back into the pits 2 hours later and saw I was on the same lap as the leader so I had to go back out and find him and pass him. Never found him and found out when I crossed the finish line that he had dropped out of the race a few hours back. So I logged 352 miles, 50 miles ahead of 2nd place. Here is the Strava file.

In the RAAM qualifier, Marko Baloh had clocked a new Sebring record of about 520 miles beating the old record by 18 miles. It is very impressive to see those guys riding in time trial mode, not stopping, and getting bottle hand offs for 24 hours.

Another good lesson is to always use a rental car for support for a 24 hour race. What a disaster zone! Good luck Enterprise cleaning that out. 


Ken Erdman said...

Mike: very impressive results for you this year @ Sebring, and a great story. Congratulations on a fine ride!

JennyT said...

Congrats Mike! That's quite the achievement.

We sure miss you up here!

Harley Borlee said...

Good post and well done Mike.

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