Well, my dad and I set off for Iowa on Saturday morning for the 24 Hours of Seven Oaks.
My goal? The $1,200 first prize in the solo category.
My concern? I suffered (and I do mean suffered) heat stroke 2 weeks prior. Weather for the race was set to be in the high 80's.
We got to the race with 2 hours to spare. Got everything set up and sat in the AC in the chalet to chill out before the start. My game plan was to attempt to stay cool until night fall.
The lemans start had me losing my bike briefly. After mounting the 69'er I found myself waaaaay back. The organisers had us going up a gravel hill just to break everything up and I ended up moving into 3rd overall without much effort. That is how I rode the first lap until a team racer passed me at the end. I ended that first lap with a gap of a couple of minutes.
My pits were taken easily. I would fuel up and try to cool off. My effort the entire time was controlled significantly as to keep the body temp from blowing up again. I was deeply worried about the heat. I would stop almost every lap in the middle of the course so that I could take my helmet off and cool off.
The second lap the chasers brought me in after I ripped open my tire. I would spend the next four hours following the top 3 guys as we were all within a minute of each other. My legs said they could go harder, but the heat and humidity did not. I was suffering from the heat, but looking forward to night fall.
On the fifth lap the temps seemed to cool some (about 5pm). I continued my same pace, but others seemed to slow down some. Withing 2 laps I had built up a 25 minute lead. Starting out for lap 8 I took time to change out of my soaked clothes and put on my lights.
The temps were still high, but the humidity seemed to sky rocket at the start of that lap. My body felt like it was on fire. I stopped and dosed my head with the ice water in my camelback. I significantly slowed my pace at that point. Eventually I layed down on the ground. I was seeing stars, I was disoriented, and shutting my eyes would cause my head to "swim". It was very scary. After a long period of laying down I saw Andrew Carney come by to move into first place (which he would keep until the end).
I got going again, but I could barely keep the tire on the trail. Every 20 feet saw me hit a tree or my front tire wash out. The odd thing was that my legs still felt great, but at this point I was very worried. Then I got a flat again. That process took a very long time and I saw the third place rider come by.
My day was done. I had clearly not recovered from my heat exhaustion in Lacrosse 2 weeks ago. My body was very prepared for this race except for the heat, but I was literally worried for my safety at that point.
When I have a race like this I like to focus my sights on the next one. With my first child ready to come out soon my plans for racing go to next year and Transiowa. I think I may be back to Iowa next year to give it another try.
-It is always interesting to watch solo riders at the beginning. I successfully picked out 2 riders that would suffer badly after several hours from the way they rode in the first couple of hours.
-The race was fun, and the organisers were cool.
-The course was about 8 miles long. Had about 1,800ft of climbing per lap. The number of switchbacks were immense.
-I had to dry out my tent and chairs from the race as the humidity had soaked them.
-Except sensitivity to the heat, I felt fine the next day. My body did not feel like it rode for close to 8 hours.
-My bike was awesome except for the tire.
-My dad was great in the pits.
-My wife is huge, um, I mean the baby is growing!
-You get paid to work, not blog surf.
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