Truth be told, I've been itching to do a race for a while. Between COVID and finding time with the day to day of being married and raising kids, it's been hard to find a window to try and pull a race off. Originally, I had purchased a race entry for a two man team with my buddy Ryan to do Dawn 2 Dusk two years ago. COVID was raging at the time so we wisely decided to pull the plug.
Fast forward two years. Still with entry in pocket, I hit up my friend Cody to hop on board with me to do the race. He's in. Team Riding Dirty in effect.
We wound up rolling out the night before to get set up for the race and for some night before race shenanigans. We wound up setting up to a great group of guys and their kids from the Basha High School mountain bike team, which was fortunate since they were good enough to bring us coffee the following day and let us mooch off of their fire pits.
After grilling out and sucking down a couple of beers, it was time to shut it down for the night. Somehow, as the fail of the weekend, I managed to grab the one air mattress that had a leak in it which had me sleeping on the hard ground by about midnight. Needless to say, it wasn't one of the better night's sleep I've ever had.
The following day had an early, 5:30 am start as teams and riders started the process of getting themselves and their gear moving. The race itself called for a 7 am start. Fortunately, Cody was a good sport and took the first lap.
After Cody ripped his first lap, it was my time to shine. Coming into the race, I had done a fair amount of training but still wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not sure if it was the cold or the fact that the race started with an almost immediate climb of 8 miles, but I was feeling a bit punchy. About 2/3 the way up the climb, things started to get moving however. The descent down Bluff, Granite and Shallmo Wash is always a blast and a great way to finish the lap.
The second lap was the one that kind of nuked me. Like the first lap, I was trying to hard charge the climb. I was riding well but the pace was crushing me. Fortunately, I survived the climb but as they say, each race is a book of matches and if you light too many at the start, you won't have any left for the end. I was starting to wonder about the matches that I had left. The downhill felt good, however and gave me a chance to recover.
Between laps 2 and 3, I almost fell asleep. Not a great sign when you have to muster up the energy for another lap. I think the lack of sleep from the night before was catching up with me a bit. None the less, I really wanted to get at least another lap in.
After being in my own head on the climb during lap 2, I decided I was going to ride at "party pace" during the climb of lap 3. Take my time. Stop if I wanted. Enjoy the ride. While no where close to my fastest lap, lap 3 was my best lap of the day. I rode 23 minutes off my fastest time which was lap 1, but I was really enjoying being out. The day was crisp and beautiful. McDowell's scenery is always exceptional with the 4 peaks and Superstitions looming in the distance.
I finished my third lap expecting Cody to go for his fourth lap and call it a day. In the hero move of the day, Cody not only wrapped up his fourth lap but crushed a 5th lap as well. 80+ miles and over 5,000 feet of climbing. He managed to finish his fifth lap six minutes in front of the time cutoff.
As a team, we managed 8 laps, 130 miles and 8,000 feet of climbing. Good for 21st place :(
As a footnote, we were both famished after racing all day. We decided we wanted to grab a bite, but needed someplace we could keep an eye out on the bikes since they were in the back of my truck. The goal was to hit a sports bar in front of the fountain at Fountain Hills. I suspect that we weren't the only riders looking to grab something post ride, however. The search was on for something so as we headed up the hill, we found ourselves in front of Oka Sushi. Definitely, a solid recommendation if ever in Fountain Hills.
Altogether, I couldn't ask for a better weekend (short one leaky air mattress). It's stuff like this that makes me love the bike and want to keep pushing myself. Thanks a ton to my partner, Cody for rocking it like a champ. #smilesformiles #ridingdirtybike #longlivelongrides