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24h, Sebring, FL - 28 February 2004



Distance: 336.1 Miles 540.9 km
Elevation (climbing): 1,581 ft 482 m
Riding time: 22:15 h  
Total time: 24:00 h  
Average speed: 15.0 mph 24.2 km/h


Ride report:

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 h sleep.

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 riding together.

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 of 53!!!

This is the long story why I didn't want to ride yesterday afternoon: Slacker ...

Here is the link to the organizer's result page: Sebring 24h - 2004 results

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top Last updated by Ridehard -     03 Dec 2004