The 15th and 16th of February 2014 was the start of my season, the Sebring, Florida 24hr race after a winter’s training on the Computrainer, was I ready? YES!
We flew out on the 13th February so that this year we could be ready with more than 1hour sleep before the race. The weather was lovely, it was so nice to get out for a sunny ride with some amazing ultra cycling friends.
The Friday before the race was very sunny with very little wind, just what I wanted for the race, well, we don’t always get what we want. The race started at 6:30am just 10 mins away from where we were staying and it was a good thing we were so close, our wake up call never came so we had to rush and barely made it in time. I was without breakfast, but I did have a Neovite to settle my stomach so I was happy and ready to go. It was a large field with many Race Across America (RAAM) veterans so I knew the competition was going to be hard, but I had a goal in my head and I wasn’t going to let the competition get in my head.
The start of the race is three laps around the circuit I went out exactly how I wanted to, hard and fast. I lead the field, even the 24hr drafting, 12hr and 100mile races. As we went out on the road I held the lead for a while but I knew there was a strong fast drafting group behind me. At around 20 miles they came past me but as I said I knew what my race plan was and I was sticking to it. I was not far away from the lead group for the first 90 miles, then the wind started getting up. Some of the drafting group had already been dropped but the others started to pull slightly away. Jenny was managing to support both Marko Baloh and me in the car provided by Alamo. I pushed through the wind still keeping my aim in mind but the wind was making very hard work of it.
The course is a 100 mile long loop then as many 11mile loops as you can do before they take you onto the Sebring International Race circuit for the night. I was using Torq nutrition as I always do and always will as I know it works and agrees with me, the difference this time was after my winter training I knew how to keep the intake right. I am normally not very consistent with my food intake and I never take in enough calories, but today, I was and it made a big difference. The 12hour race was won by Marko Baloh with 264 miles, I also got 264 miles in those 12 hour which was exactly where I wanted to be. I was so pleased that I was on track, but the wind had really taken it out of me as there was no let up in the whole 12 hours.
At 11 hours we were taken onto the track where we stayed for the night. The wind had dropped on most of the course, but so did the temperature. As I pushed on, more layers of clothes and frequent refills of hot drinks were needed. My only major problem during the race (apart from the wind which you can not change) was my Exposure Lights system. I had previous problems with it on one of my last races and was promised it was fixed, unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and after 5 minutes it started to flash making it dangerous to use. After a frantic 5 minutes Jenny (my crew) managed to find a light I could use thanks to Marko, if this had happened on the road it would have put me in an extremely dangerous position as it was I nearly came off on the corners a few times, these things always happen at the wrong time. I will be looking into other lights so that this never happens again.
My mileage dropped more than I had hoped it would and the 503 miles I was aiming for was not going to happen. Am I upset that I didn’t get what I set out to achieve? No. I can’t change the weather and the rest of my race was a fantastic and brilliant way to start my 2014 season for API. Out of the 61 twenty four hour racers I held overall first place, the second place in the 24hr non-drafting race was over 27 miles behind. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season being as good as this.
Some other figures from the race :-
36,000 kcals used
Average Watts for the 24hrs was 238
Wind speed day – 31mph, night – 14mph
Temp day – 24’C night – 3’C
Looking forward to popping into K2 for my next tattoo
Thank you all for your help and support.
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