Thursday, February 19, 2009

24 Hours of The Old Pueblo

Location: A few miles outside of Tucson Arizona
Place: 24 hours of The Old Pueblo
Date: February 13th thru 15th, 2009

It was a beautiful drive coming from Las Vegas. The sun was high and the skies were clear blue. A complete contrast of what the forecast was a couple days prior which called for cold, clouds and rain. Over Hoover Dam and seeing the new construction of the bridge was a sight to see. It is amazing how they construct bridges especially that high! The views of Black Canyon were awesome and the little buds of grass was a small sign that rain had just passed and perhaps spring is on it's way!

Getting into Arizona was wonderful. I was in awe of all the Saguaro Cacti. Never have I seen so many and different species of cacti not to mention concentration of them. They were everywhere. My eyes were everywhere excepth the road - just kidding we arrived safely.

Though we did have to stop overnight as the drive was quite long. Not a good idea when it was Valentines weekend - who wants to take their Valentine to Florence? Italy perhaps but Florence, Arizona? There's the Arizona State Pen down the road and McDonalds that's all. But all motels were booked then we realized there was an Indian Flute Festival and Renaissance Festival happening that same weekend. We were lucky to have even found a room in the Hampton Inn at the rate we were going and it was higher than Vegas rates!

Eventually we made it to the venue, after one of the best nights' of sleep we have had in a long time, the following day. The camping area was getting packed and athletes and their support crew were arriving by car, truck and RV loads. It was nice that Robin and Leslie had a camping spot picked out for us already and it was easy to spot. We had enough room to get Ian and Sully's RV in as well.

Anthony and I went out to test ride the course and it was super fun. Lots of fast single track, cactus dodging, an occasional cow and firm packed trail. The recipe for fun! After our trail ride it was time for Anthony to hit the pasta and do last minute adjustments to his bikes.

The next morning was perfect. The crowds were out and about, the vendors were open for business and the coffee wagon line was out of control. The athletes were ready for registration and getting their poll positions in order. Bikes were lined up along the course as the riders made their way for the running start. It wasn't long before the elite athletes were in the front ready to tackle the first lap. The first soloist around the 16 mile course was Tinker Juarez followed by Evan Plews who was not far behind. It wasn't long until Ian Leitch and Anthony White made their way around - first hour was down 23 more hours to go.

It was cat and mouse for a while between Ian and Anthony. Neither could keep up the pace with Tinker or Evan and Evan made his way to the top followed by Ant and Ian - or was it Ian and Ant? Regardless at one point Ian was third and Ant was third but Ant ended up having to pull out after 14 hours (11 laps) because he couldn't see. The desert sand took it's toll on his sensitive eyes and he got a little too close for comfort with the native cacti and became a painful pin cushion. It wasn't a total loss as we did have Ian to help which in the end got an incredible second place finish to Evan, both with 18 laps, and Tinker coming in at third place with 17.

I have to thank all the vendors who have been so good to us - well - me! First is Jeff Kerkove with Ergon grips. Thank you for the awesome carbon Ergon grips that I get to use during my travels abroad. I am so excited about them. AND my great friends at Deuter - thank you! AND our newest sponsor Rudy Project. Next year there will be no excuses for Anthony to not finish this race and win. Ha!

Now it's time to repack everything for this big trip Anthony and I are taking with more fun stories to share, so check back and keep in touch. And until then I wish you happy trails.

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