|Official Crew Chief Motto|
Backing up for a second, Team Flatlanders registered and set up camp at the race site on Friday afternoon. All singles (people riding alone for all 24 hours) and teams (2 or 4 people trading off laps over the 24 hours; every team member must do 2 laps, one during the day and one during the night) had tents and RVs in the same field
|Home of High Altitude Suffering Since 1983|
|Half of Camp Team Flatlanders|
The early hours were easy going - the weather was pleasant, bordering on hot, so the riders weren't shivering when they come back; riders weren't exhausted and could easily find/gather/identify food to eat; the sun was up so things couldn't get really lost. Our riders were finishing laps between 1:39-1:51, and our entire group would troop over to greet the returning rider and immediately send off the next.
|...wait a sec, this hill is big...|
The Support Staff's older sister brought a surprise cake to mark my birthday. Yes, I was spending my birthday living in a tent next to a line of port-a-potties in a dusty field, feeding shivering, starving bike riders hot soup in the middle of the night. No, I wouldn't have it any other way.
But at about 11 PM (13 hours race time) the excitement - and caffeine and sugar - wore off and the grind set in. Kids disappear into sleeping bags and riders crash for fitful naps between laps. Between 11 PM and 7 AM my routine went like this:
- wake-up ~15 min before the current rider was due back to make sure the next rider is up, dressed, fed, and lighted up (night rides required front, back, and helmet lights); and to start heating water and soup
- go over to the finish/start line with the next rider and whomever else was up to greet the current rider and send off the next - and eat a handful of potato chips myself in the athlete food tent
- help the previous rider change before they started shivering uncontrollably and prepare hot soup/beverage with cheese and crackers - and have a slice of cheese myself
- rinse dishes and bed down in the back of the van until 15 min before the now-current rider was due back (anywhere between 40-60 min)
To give you a sense of the weather: a 12-hour team left at 10:30 PM and bequeathed us a partially used bag of ice. It sat untouched (this story itself explains why) on the ground at the edge of our tarp until the next morning at 9 am, when it was thrown away - entirely intact.
Our group arrived back in Breckenridge at 2:30 PM on Sunday - after leaving for the race site at 7 AM on Saturday. I was wearing exactly the same clothes as when I left - minus 1 of the 2 layers I had added during the night - and we all simultaneously collapsed and/or descended into a hilarious stupor.
Some more pictures to better convey what in memory is quickly becoming one big blur:
|Where's Waldo? In the smoker.|
|How You Fuel A 24HR Race: Chocolate Cake and Gatorade|
|How You Dress For A 24HR Race: With Everything In Your Closet|
|How You Feel After A 24Hr Race: Drained...But Smiling|
|Sunrise (facing west): sun shining over mtns to the East (behind the camera), hitting mtns to the West (seen), but the entire Leadville valley hasn't been touched|
|Solo Rider Tent Row...the fastest solo rider did 12 laps, our team of 4 did 12 laps...|
|The Miraculous Bag of Ice|
|Team Flatlanders - VICTORIOUS!|
But the best way to summarize the entire weekend:
1 Crew Chief (me)
24 Hours of Leadville, The Inaugural Riding