96 miles and a purported 14,778 feet of climbing (plus a 3 mile ride to the start line and 6 miles back down the canyon to get a ride home). The results are in. Looks like I just barely made the time cut-off for recording times..... They planned to stop recording finishes at 2PM (our start time was 6:50AM). Bill Freedman (friend of Tait's) and I rolled through just before the cut-off. Tait finished a few minutes behind me and we saw Trent closing in on the finish line as John and I rode back down the canyon.
I planned to take it easy on this ride because I was pretty sure I didn't have the training base to do any more than that. Tait, Trent, Brian and I got dropped on the first climb heading to Kamas. The major factor for me getting dropped was that I put my front wheel on backwards and decided to stop and flip it so my computer would work. Do'h. John, Peter and Adam made the selection of what became about 15 riders according to John. The brothers Eyre and I hooked up with the group leaders from the group behind and pulled into Midway together. Brian was a few minutes behind.
In Midway, I stopped to help John who was stranded with a flat and a blown spare. He was riding with the leaders, flatted then blew up his spare (probably twisted the tube when he put it on). I hooked him up with one of my tubes and we chased in tandem through Heber Valley, finally picking up Brian on the south side of Deer Creek Reservoir. Once the Sundance/Alpine Loop climb started John was off the front and Brian was off the back. I went over the top of Alpine Loop with the brothers Eyre and we made it into Highland together.
In American Fork Canyon everyone came to a stop just before Timpanogos Cave parking lot. I found out later that 5 riders from the Brumby team (Mesa, AZ) crashed when a Ford Explorer stopped suddenly to avoid on-coming traffic. They were going about 40 mph down American Fork Canyon when two riders hit the Explorer, two more ran off the road to avoid it and the 5th went down trying to sliding along the road in the broken glass. The most seriously injured was Dave Collins, who went flying through the rear window braking his jaw and opening a cut from his ear to his sternum that also cut his jugular. According to a tweet and an email update from race Director, Rick Bennett, he would have most likely died had not two EMT's been riding in their pack. He lost 5 pints of blood but looks like he will make a full recovery.
A crash like that is very sobering. While it's a bummer that we didn't get to enjoy the fun riding down lower American Fork Canyon because traffic was backed up several miles while the accident victim was life-flighted - at least those I was riding with all stayed upright on their bikes and avoided the traffic in the Canyon which was very nerve wracking. I think I lost at least 20 minutes by not being able to race lower American Fork Canyon. In Highland, I took the time to stop by the new house for a potty break and to get a cold bottle of water. I was so over trying to post a good time and much more focused on just finishing.
John is a skilled and fast descender. He told me he passed close to 40 riders on the American Fork Canyon descent and caught the leaders of his group who were held up due to the accident. After leaving me at the base of the climb to Sundance, John extended his lead over me on the final 50+ miles and finished a solid hour ahead of me. Time enough to go sit down - two different times - in the cold river water at Snowbird. John said he never felt good all day and even as strong as he is, he was forced off his bike to rest or recover at least once on the climb to Snowbird.
Trent and I left Tait to suffer on Suncrest - the climb over South Mountain from Utah County to Salt Lake County - and then I left Trent on Wasatch Blvd. The snowbird climb is horrific when you are fresh. When you're on the rivet AND the temp is close to 100 AND there is a head wind the climb is beyond horrific. I ended up stopping 3 times on the climb for a total I guess to be about 30 minutes because of cramping. At one point my right quad was cramped so hard I couldn't do anything except stand on the side of the road and wince in pain. Two different support vehicles offered me a ride to the top, but I figured I wouldn't be able to make fun of Brian for hitching a ride to the top on our training ride two weeks ago if I did the same, so I waited out the cramps and climbed back on the bike.
My ride time was 6:14 compared to my clock time of 7:09. It was hard not to just pack it in and turn around. As I said earlier, I have never suffered this much on a bike. Never.
Adam and Brian ended up not finishing. I understand Adam hit the wall and was sick at the base of Little Cottonwood and decided not to continue. For Brian, this was his 6th time on the bike all year (all in the past 3 weeks). He decided that there was no need to make the turn off of Wasatch Blvd on to Little Cottonwood so he waited for Kristin who was on her way to pick us up at the base of the canyon.
Peter Harker gets the ride of the day award (5:49). He stayed with the leaders for most of the ride and then in the end paced himself and finished 7th! John said a couple of guys asked him where team Sho-Air was from. He told them SoCal and their reply was "you guys are fast". I feel I might not have represented as well as I should have.
Fastest time of the day goes to Todd Brown. Looks like Todd finished 11th (5:45) in the Masters 45. Not bad when you consider all those training miles he sacrificed to teach early morning Seminary. Well Done.