Another interesting cycling weekend it was.
Sunday afternoon, Jutta asked me for a 20 Mile bicycle ride and I turned
it down. Can you imagine?
How come? Maybe some of you remember that on Saturday they had the 12/24
hour race weekend in Sebring. Since one of the rules is that out of two
options you always take the longer one and in addition I had most Miles
(282) last year, I was signed up for the 24h. Jutta came along to
provide support. From Friday to Saturday night, somehow I only did get 5
At the start Saturday morning at 6:30 AM there were some known faces
from the Randonneuring scene. Anyhow it was said that 30 to 40 people
wanted to ride the 24h option and that they had 4 serious RAAM qualifying
contenders. Surprisingly there was another known face: Heike, our German
cycling and boxing guest from last weekend. She met Jim and Barbara
Weissbecker and was invited to their house. Since both of them wanted to
cycle Sebring (Barbara the 12h and Jim the 24h, both of them are over
age 60), they talked Heike into coming along. Heike signed up for the
24h. There was another known face for the 24h: Michael Grussemeyer. Barb from Gainesville was there, riding the 24h with Andrew
on a tandem.
Ok, off we went with 44 degree (felt like 39) and 10 mph wind. With the
cold and the wind Reinhard (and Michael) got dropped from the pack
within the first 2 Miles. Heike was hanging on to the pack.
We had between 14 and 20 mph wind all day and the temperatures raised
only slowly. At 10 AM it reached 50 F and took after 12 PM until we hid
the 60 F degrees.
Riding by myself, at Mile 40 I saw the first rider coming back from the
big loop. He was at Mile 60. Since I averaged 15.9 mph at this time, he
must have averaged 23.8 mph. Impressive. At Mile 45 I saw Heike, she was
hanging on with a group and was 10 Miles ahead of me.
After 100 Miles, we went on 11 Mile loops and every once a while I was
passed by riders where I had the feeling I was standing still. At Mile
130 I was passed by Heike. At this time she was 22 Miles ahead of me.
But after this loop Heike started paying her tolls for riding fast. She
needed more and longer breaks.
At 6:30 PM we switched over to the race track to continue on 3.7 Mile
loops. With all the wind during the day it was tough and some 24h riders
decided not to continue and switched to the 12h group. Michael
Grussemeyer took this option. Heike with 188 Miles at this time was
considering it, but went on for the 24h. I had 177 for the first 12h,
while rumors said that the lead 24h rider broke the 12h record (> 231
Miles). Barb and Andrew on the tandem had 188 Miles. Since I had some
knee problems and had to take it real easy on the last 11 Mile loop, I
was thinking about quitting too, but then decided to continue: "Ze fun
is in ze pain. Yah".
Still, since we had no rain, this time approx. 30 riders continued
riding through the night with the temperature dropping to 50 F and
still 10 mph wind, while the open race track didn't provide any
protection from the wind.
Until midnight most people were still going quite strong and I was
passed a lot of times. But from experience the time after midnight is
the most difficult one, especially the last four hours from 2:30 AM to
6:30 AM. It actually was fun riding on the race track, since the loop is
short and you see the riders in between. Different from the Brevets
where the slow riders don't see anybody for hours. For e.g. seeing Barb
in between is fun, since she is always cheering and encouraging, didn't
matter if the tandem was passing me, I was passing them or we were
Most people had support. Jutta provided a great support e.g. I became
hot soup at midnight. When I came by to stop, everything was ready and I
kept the breaks real short. Other people had to take more and longer
breaks, while I continued with consistent slow speed. This was also true
for Heike. Having already a sleep break in our car, at 2:30 AM, she
questioned herself why she is doing this and calculated how many loops
she needs to do to get to the 400k (250 Miles). Once the mind is in the
"thinking mode" you loose track of the "Ze fun is in ze
pain. Yah" mantra. She did quit with 240 Miles, still her by far longest ride ever.
One hour later Andrew on the tandem was real tired and he went on a sleep
break, while Barb was watching the people riding/racing. They did not
went back on the tandem and had approx. 250 Miles.
Within the last 5 hours, I am quite sure, that I had the least break time of
all riders (less than 15 min.), even less than the RAAM qualifiers. When
they were riding they were just much faster than I was :-))
At the end my riding average was 15 mph, but I spent more than 22 hours
on my seat, I had no sleep break and only two long breaks (15 min.),
mainly for eating, Bag Palm, changing clothes. I reached at the finish
336.1 Miles (540k). Not to bad for the "Big Guy" (that's how some people
in the Randoneuring scene call me). It took me 6:30 h for the first 100
M, 7:30 h for the second 100 M and 7:45 h for the third 100 M. Overall
this was my most Miles ever in 24h, the shortest total time at the 200k,
300k and 400k mark. The main reason were the real short breaks and the
great support. Thank you, Jutta!
But did I have most Miles again? No, I was far off. The winner this time
had an impressive 431 Miles and was almost 100 Miles away. He qualified
for RAAM and especially flew in from UK to do this. We had people with
390, 380, 360 Miles. Not having the results yet, I guess I came in 8th
or 9th. The Lady with most Miles had 343 Miles. Rumors said she is age
This is the long story why I didn't want to ride yesterday afternoon:
Here is the link to the organizer's result page:
Sebring 24h - 2004