Here is a race report from Rhonda Geiszler. How many of you guys could keep up with her?
So I decided to race my bike solo at the 24 hours in The Old Pueblo 24-Hour Race. Before this race I was feeling like I was getting too old to race against these young gals. The weather forecast was looking like rain the entire 24 hours and I was dreading the conditions. My husband got me dialed in with a Gore-Tex jacket, gloves and pants. The race started at 12:00 noon on Saturday with a Lemans style start and it was actually kinda fun. Once I grabbed my bike from Darryl I was off. I looked down at my Garmin and noticed my heart rate wasn’t registering. Hmmm what was going on? I moved it around a little and nothing. I rely on my heart rate a lot for endurance races, especially 24 hours. I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, nothing I can do. Lap 1 and 2 I had my Gore-Tex jacket on and there was no rain and I was hot. Lap 3 I took off my jacket and, of course, as soon as I cleared the check-in tent it started pouring. Off I went for a 15-mile lap with 1500 feet of climbing in the pouring cold rain. When I finished that lap I was so cold that I couldn’t put my right glove on, my ring finger and pinkie were numb. Darryl forgot to bring my extra gloves so he hopped on his bike and in a blink of an eye was back with two pairs of warm gloves for me and I was off. I eventually put the other Gore-Tex gloves on and my hands were cozy and warm. I did a few more laps and was feeling fine. It was around 5:30 PM and it was time to put night-lights on. I stopped and Darryl slapped them on and handed me another PB&J sandwich and another bottle. He was very adamant that I drink a bottle a lap and would make me finish the bottle while he checked my bike out. On my 1st night lap my gut said change my lights on the next lap, despite my lap time of 1:45. I asked Darryl and he said, “You have plenty of light”. As I got out of the check-in tent my lights blinked. I was a little pissed off and remember Ken telling me “you have 30 min left and you need to put them on low”, so I did. I had 700 lumens on my helmet and I was unsure about the burn time. I put my helmet light on low and finished the race. It was so hard to see and I had few crashes but I finished that lap. I carried an extra battery for the rest of the night laps. Riding at night is not my favorite, but I actually had fun riding at night. The moon and the sunrise were beautiful.
Endurance racing requires mental games, at least for me. I chose to never look at my Garmin or ask the time because I didn’t want to know. At one point I was feeling tired and I almost missed a trail but a rider said, “Hey the trail is right there”. I told him I was daydreaming. He said “that’s what happens when it’s 5:30 in the morning". I couldn’t believe it was already 05:30!!! I was excited that the next lap would be without lights. I got a surge of energy. I was on lap 13 and I took 10 minutes off my previous times. I was happy I made my goal and was heading in to finish. When I came in Darryl said I was in 2nd place so I grabbed a bottle and took off. I was tired but O.K. and I could feel my legs had no power. I pushed on and saw Darryl at the last 2 miles of lap 14 and he said, "you are 8 minutes behind her so get moving, you can catch her". I tried really hard and I was suffering. Finished lap 14 and was thinking I was done. When I saw Darryl, he said, “this is your last lap and you can catch her”. I was spent and the last lap was mentally and physically hard. I ended up 2nd overall female and back 7 minutes from 1st place. I was very excited about my performance. The top ladies are pros and 20-30 years younger than me. It was a good day in The Old Pueblo. I raced my bike 240 miles and climbed 22,500 feet in 24 hours and 21 minutes, despite the wind, cold, and rain.
Cheers and of course I will do anther one!