Weekend Update: Delta Epic

It’s been a loooonnnnngggg time since I’ve been able to update you on some badassery by the Team. Last weekend Robin, Tracey, and Melissa ventured to Mississippi with me to participate in the Delta Epic, a 300 mile self-supported gravel race through the Mississippi delta. Initially training as a 4-person relay team, one of their members had to pull out the week of the event. These ladies- all of them having only ridden 100 miles of gravel once- rallied and carried on picking up the additional miles. Starting at midnight on Friday and finishing early Sunday morning, the race was a continuous completely self-supported adventure. Self- supported meaning that they were unable to assist the current rider on the course – the other riders had to wait at the next checkpoint and could only communicate then. Each of them tackled fears of riding at night, navigating the unmarked course, and riding those distances alone… and I am so proud of them. Since I was doing the race also as a solo rider, I was blessed to spend time with each of them over the course of the weekend. I think I speak for all of them that it was a challenge they will never forget!

Weekend Update: CIRREM , Play Tri, Moultri Militia Gravel Raid and Swamp Fox Gravel Fondo

It was a busy weekend with racers all over the country: California, Iowa and South Carolina all saw members of Team AMEC.

CIRREM

A long running 100k gravel race in beautiful Madison County , Iowa is a tough one: punchy hills, unpredictable weather, and some very stiff competition. We had our midwestern representatives Jenn, Brad and Ken out there kickin ass. Jenn had a great race- just missing the podium with a 4th place finish in a field that contained some of the most well-respected badass women of gravel. She had a blast and was super stoked with how it went. Brad suffered an unfortunately mechanical and wasn’t able to finish, HOWEVER, not before putting the smackdown on the lead field. I’d say he was really stoked with how that went. Ken, just after coming back from 12 hours of Sebring, went in with a target power/intensity and hit it no problem. I’m proud of all of them!

PLAY TRI

Jason was in sunny California at the Play Tri Triathlon. However… the winds we so strong that they had to cancel the swim and convert it to a duathlon. Additionally, we used this race as a jumping back in event as his big race is Hawaii 70.3 None of that stopped him from killing it though- he placed 2nd in his division!

Moultrie Militia Gravel Raid

A new race within the Swamp Fox Gravel Fondo, the Moultrie Milita Gravel Fondo started at 11 PM and consists of an unsupported 177.6 miles of gravel. Bannister and I tackled this beast, finishing in 15 hours. It was a long, cold night and windy next day but we somehow managed to still have a lot of laughs

Swamp Fox Gravel Fondo

And finally, the biggest event of the weekend for us was the Swamp Fox Gravel Fondo. Andreas, Angie, Darrell, Dave, Emily C, Emily K, Joelle, Melissa, Mike, Pearce, Robin, Sandy, Tracey and honorary team member Peggy all joined in the fun.

It was the first gravel fondo for Angie and Peggy, both having a blast in the 27 miler. These ladies have also be instrumental in getting women of the area off-road riding. Dave, Emily and Joelle all raced the 50 miler and crushed it, even with Emily’s mechanical at the beginning of the morning. This was also her first gravel race and longest gravel ride ever.

Sarah and Sandy both landed 2nd place podium spots in their respective races: Sarah the 100 and Sandy the 50. This was the longest gravel ride for both of these ladies, too! In fact, it was Sarah’s longest ride on any surface. Sandy had the privilege of running afterwards since her next big event is Ironman Texas.

Josh and Darrell finished the 100 really solid, as well. This was Josh’s longest ride ever and Darrell finished his 3rd Swamp Fox 1 hour faster than his previous PR. That is also after having races the Barn Burner 100 miler in Bentonia, Ms last weekend.

And finally, the terrific trio of Melissa, Robin, and Tracey surprised themselves (but not me) in finishing their first 100 mile gravel ride. They stuck together and encouraged each other through an amazing day. I loved hearing all their stories when they finished. I am so proud of them!

That’s it for this weekend 🙂 It’s an off week this week but we will be back up and running the following. Stay tuned!

Race Report: Bike Sebring 12/24

Ken traveled down to Sebring, Florida last weekend for Bike Sebring 12/24 and crushed the 12 hour race, logging 229.7 miles. He wrote a race report chronicling the training and race itself, and you’ll see it was quite the adventure:


“After Dakota Five-0 in 2019, I started training for the Sebring 24 hour RAAM qualifier. My plan was to complete the Spotted Horse 150 in Oct, One Night Stand in Nov, then focus on the TT bike. Spotted Horse didn’t go as planned and ended with 60 miles and a DNF. It was then I knew I wouldn’t be ready for a 13 hour overnight MTB race three weeks later. This is a little foreshadowing to plans changing. I had surgery in April 2018 and a double procedure in Feb 2019. I haven’t trained or raced in a couple years. My recovery was slow and made training and racing Dakota Five-0 a miserable experience. Training in the fall and over winter proved to be challenging with the weather and trail conditions. I spent weeks on the trainer. I had a trip to FL planned in Dec to pre ride the course and train in warmer weather for a week. As I was prepping my TT bike for air travel, I found that the dropout was broken. The bike was sent to a repair shop in LR, AR. So I adapted and packed up the road bike for the trip. The day I was to leave, my flight was delayed, then later canceled. Allegiant only has two flights a week from Omaha to FL, so my trip was canceled. Back to the basement. I did get some longer rides outside on the gravel and road bikes, but not having the ability to get ample saddle time on the TT bike would rear its ugly head on race day. After my 2018 surgery, my power came back quickly, but this year it is taking longer. I wasn’t going to get my FTP where I wanted it to reach my goals, but whatever, FL in Feb, right? Soldier on. Flight was paid for and other plans were in place. My TT bike repair was delayed a week due to the shop owner getting the flu, then when the frame returned, the fork wasn’t with it, so delayed another day to wait on FedEx to overnight it. I got two trainer rides on it before packing it up for the trip. The rear tube let go half way through the last ride, so I cut it short. Seems nothing is going as planned.

To add to the pile of changes, the race promoter announced that the track was rented to SCCA on Sat night, so we would not be racing overnight on the fast, closed course. The new proposed course, which would be ridden for the second 12 hours, looked and rode more like a circuit or crit course, three left 90 degree turns followed by a right 90 on one end, and a hairpin 180 on the other. Add in that being overnight with lights in your eyes and I decided to bail on the 24 and do the 12 hour course. Oh, I haven’t mentioned yet that my support guy was stuck in a snow storm in Ohio. There’s one more. The hotel only booked me for Friday night and not Saturday, so the morning of the race I had to check out and hope that there would be vacancy when I was done to check back in. Backing up a bit, the team Speed Hound bike bag got my bike and gear to and from FL beautifully. I got to FL on Monday night. Two shakedown rides on Tues and Wed, rest Thurs, then an easy drive to Sebring on Friday.

I got there early enough to ride the 11 mile loop, check in, join some Iowa friends for dinner, who I politely asked to crew for me, then back to the room to lay out all my gear like it was the first day of school. I’ve found that I need to get up two hours prior to start time to get all my things done and not feel rushed. The morning went well, despite running some first time gear (shoe covers, fully loaded bike, first long event on the Garmin 830). I grabbed my chip at the start, then lined up in the second row so I could follow some Sebring veterans. The start was at 0630 sharp and the guy in the HPV sprinted off like a rocket. The 24 hour fast crew did also. My HR was hard to control for the first hour. We spent 30 minutes on the track doing laps. These folks all need to spend some time watching auto racing. I wasn’t pulling the peloton, but taking good lines had me catching up and passing often, which is scary when everyone is down on aero bars racing a road course. One guy caught a concrete seam and put himself in the hospital with a broken collar bone on lap one or two. After three laps, we were sent out on a 90 mile out and back. This was much safer as the pack was strung out and single file. It was a chilly morning. I had a base layer, basic kit, thin arm covers, gloves, and aero shoe covers. At one point in the morning I had difficulty shifting because my hands were so cold. I was also over hydrated, stopping often to water the orange groves. I lost a couple small groups due to this, but eventually linked up with a group of five that were seasoned racers. They had a good pace and solid bike handling. I was either in the back or pulling. We were working well together. This went on until about the 85 mile mark. The road turned into the wind for about 10 miles, the longest single stretch of the day, and they fell off the back as they were on road bikes while I got as low as I could. I pulled into the pit almost exactly as I predicted with a five our century done. Only seven hours left! I peeled off the base layer, arm covers, and gloves. Applied sunscreen, lip balm, chamois cream, grabbed two bottles and went out on my first 11 mile loop. This loop was right hand turns until returning back to the pit, then it was a series of turns to get to the timing table followed by a sharp 180 and back out. The wind picked up on the century out of the east, then shifted to the north, and swung to the south before dying off around 1730. This made for ever changing tactics on where to sit up and where to work. There was one short hill half way through the 11 mile loop similar to that hill on the way to the white church. I was warned not to overdo it here, so I granny geared it almost every time, sat up, drank, then got ready for the last 5 miles into the pits. 11 mile loop was like shampoo, lather, rinse, and repeat. All was well until about the 9 hour mark. At that point my stomach shut down and was starting to evict unwanted inhabitants. I felt like I needed to vomit, but only burps came up. I felt miserable. I think I had a little over 175 miles in at this point. I wasn’t going to quit without at least 200, but honestly didn’t want to continue. I suffered through another three laps before chugging about 20 ounces of water in the pit. Things felt better, but I still hadn’t had any calories since the 9 hour point. I was just waiting for my legs to cramp up and shut down. I only had 90 minutes left though so I kept rolling. The 11 mile loop was closing at 1740 so I was timing to hit it right before it closed knowing the 3.5 mile course would be slow and busy until the 12 hour races were done at 1830. I hit the mat at 1735 with 207 miles, my current PR from DK200 twice. I was going to set a new PR for distance and ride the entire time. Backing up a few hours, every time I was coming off the 11 mile loop, I would see this guy I met the night before heading out. Each time I came in, he was closer to the pits. I was slowly making time on him. This was my rabbit. Little did I know, he was also the only other rider in my age category. The temperature was coming down, my stomach was feeling better, and I was getting faster. I finally caught him with two 11 mile loops remaining. He was still working with that strong group I rode with on the century. Every time I came by, they would grab a wheel. Their experience showed. My legs were feeling good on the flats, but I needed to test them on that climb. Occasionally throughout the day, I would stand to left some blood back into the pressure areas and move around. No cramps. This time I hit the hill in the big ring, stood over it, and then kept the power on to take advantage of the aero bike and wheels. A quick look over my shoulder showed the group not chasing. I was at the 11 hour mark and still able to spike my HR and stay on the gas without cramps. I powered through my last 11 mile loop the same way. Hard on the flats and hard over the hill. I hit the timing mat off the last big loop with 25 minutes remaining. Now to the short course. I noted the time, then went out as hard as I could. Sweeping the 90 degree turns in the aero bars, passing as many people as I could. I rode the first turn around there somewhat easy to make sure the corners were clean and read the lines. Back on the straight and back on the gas. Diving into the pit area, I noted that it took about ten minutes for the 3.5 miles and there was 15 minutes left on the clock. Time for one more.  I buried the needle and went as hard as I could, no one was holding a wheel as the traffic was high and I am very comfortable taking corners full speed in the aero bars. I set up for the last turn and swept the three 90s in one smooth arc, then back to the right and out of the saddle for the last sprint. I crossed the mat at 1155 with 225.2 miles on the Garmin. Good enough for a new PR and first place in my age group by about two minutes. A weird thing happened at about the eight hour mark. My body just kept moving. It was almost on autopilot. I could have probably rode another 2-3 hours comfortably (ignoring that the chamois now felt like a scalpel on my inner thigh).

Dinner was a few beers, a shower, then a burger and fries. I took food out to my impromptu crew as their main racer was still out on the 24 hour course. I felt great, minus some soreness on the front of my knees which I believe is from so much low cadence/high torque pedaling throughout the day, and well the crotch area. I had one more day in the sun before packing up and heading back. I stopped at a farmers market and nearly bought everything I saw. My metabolism is still raging today. I’m calling it good for base training, now to shift for CIRREM and Mid South. Thanks for reading.”

Weekend Update: Off-Road Duathlon

It’s one of my favorite events of the year! Partially because it was dream of mine that CCPRC help bring to reality, but also because we have such a good team showing AND the number of total beginners that come out is so inspiring!

Consisting of a 2 mile run, then 7 mile bike, and then another 2 mile run- all on trails and gravel roads- is the perfect distance for anyone, and you don’t need a fancy bike for it.

I tried to get photos from all our athletes running and having fun.

And also having a lot of fun…

And being awesome volunteers….

And NOW for the results…..Ladies first:

  • Sandy: Overall Female Winner
  • Sarah: 2nd overall
  • Joelle: 9th overall
  • Tracey: 17th overall
  • Dawn: 25th overall
  • Robin: 32nd overall
  • Heather: 36th overall

And… our guys

  • Darrell: 5th overall
  • Josh: 9th overall
  • Scotty: 18th overall
  • Pearce: 26th overall
  • Steve: 35th overall
  • Greg: 44th overall
  • Andreas: 57th overall
  • Robert: 63rd overall
  • Mike: 78th overall

Other cool tidbits: EVERYONE who has raced the duathlon before PR’ed the race!

And finally…. NO race would be complete without the post race celebrations!

Weekend Update: Charleston Marathon and Half Marathon

Yesterday kicked off 2020 with the Charleston Marathon and Half Marathon. It was an unusually warm and humid January day which doesn’t always work well for running distance events. Therefore, no one really achieved the results they wanted but had a great time all the same.

However, a huge congrats to Jessica for completing her first ever half marathon (pictured left), and Jenn (right) for completing her 10th full marathon.

Our half marathon runners were Andreas, Emily C, Emily K, Jessica, Melissa, Michele and Pearce. No PRs but everyone was out there supporting one another, running with friends, and celebrating life.

Jenn wrapped up a crazy year of marathoning and Ironmaning… Starting with Boston Marathon, then IM Maryland, then IM Florida, then Charleston Marathon. She’s been a total champ through it all and is now looking forward to resting her body.

Next weekend is the Off-Road Duathlon which is such a fun event. Almost everyone from the team will be out there- be sure to say hi!