I stopped at the fire station in Warner Springs and chatted with a couple of crew who were enjoying the evening air. They offered me some ice and a cold coke. While there Michael Grosso rolled up and joined me. He was the first rider I had seen all day and we agreed to ride together for a bit. Kinda funny because he and I finished together in 2014. I went ahead with a plan to stop and join back up at the end of the pavement. While waiting for Michael I saw two sets of lights coming up, Daniel Jesse had rode up the climb with Michael (here is a nice article from the local paper with a pic of Michael and Daniel, as well as the overall winner Neil Beltchenko).
As soon as we started Daniel quickly shot off the front, this surprised me a bit as I was expecting some casual “chit chat and ride’ but instead it felt like the three of us were racing. I don’t know what Michael and Daniel were thinking but it felt like 'race on' to me so I just went with it. It was dark, nice and cool and I had been sort of soft pealing all day so it just felt good to go with a slightly higher pace. First I stopped and changed out the batteries in my light so I would be able to see, both to pick out good climbing lines and later to see enough to descend at a good solid clip.
At this point, about 9:00pm there was only about 40-45 miles left but several good climbs. Anyway long story short Michael was tired from some huge hours and soon dropped back. Daniel was stopped and making some gear adjustments near the top of the first climb and said ride on, so I did. Just hammered on to the best of my capability expecting Daniel to fly by any mile but only saw his lights behind me a few times. Ate that hamburger bit by bit at the top of the next few climbs and felt powered up till near the very end. Finished up at Hub Cyclery at 4:39am and signed out on the finish list that was left out on the porch (12th place I believe). Hit my van for about 6 hrs of sleep woke up feeling good and drove back towards Colorado the rest of the day………
Lessons from the SC 400:
· While still a rather weak rider compared to those around me, relatively speaking, I ride much stronger at 154 vs 167 lbs. My TDR weight target is 148lbs, and I should get there as I am bumping up and down around 150 right now.
· For the TDR I have decided to go back to a frame bag vs. large water bottles. I do not want to carry a backpack yet want to be able to drink from balder tube vs nasty dirty bottles. Also I drink more consistently if I don’t have to reach down and detach/re-attach a bottle
· Don’t bonk, and if I do probably better to stop and recover vs push on at a crawl. Although on night 1 of the SC it was the right thing to do, pushing on, to get to only real re-supply before they closed for the night.
· Be more willing to skip a recovery hotel if I feel better later in the cool evening. IE: don’t get overly “set” on the idea of a hotel room. I tend to focus on securing the room vs reading my body.