My World Championships 24h TT report

world champs 24h world champs 24h

For me the World Championships 24h Time Trial was not the closing race of the season 2012, but in fact one of the preparatory races for RAAM 2013 in which I would once again like to compete for the top spot of the podium. Considering that fact, my goal was to ride my own race without watching the other racers too much and try to beat the magic mark of 500 miles in 24 hours.

 

I came to the startline after a hard training block in Texas (2100km in 9 days) and after that a week long vacation with my family through California, Arizona and Utah. Despite that being a holliday, I kept my riding rythm with training every other day. So, I managed to sneak in a ride in Death Valley, as well as Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. We came to Palm Springs two days before the start and the last day before the race I was able to ride the short loop together with my British friend Chris Hopkinson. From what we saw, it was clear that World Record (840km in 24h) was out of the question, because there were 5 stop signs on short loop. The start of 24h race was 6PM Friday. The racers gathered there two hours before the start to register and have the bike&vehicle inspections done, as well as the briefing before the race. The start was fast, but easy enough so we could talk to one another for a while. I kept my position around 4th-5th place as I didn't know the first kilometers of the race and didn't want to get lost already at beginning. When we turned right on Hwy 111, I took a lead and road a nice tempo of around 38-40km/h. Afte r some minutes Rockett passed me, which I liked as someone else would share the burden of setting the tempo. Unfortunatelly a few of other racers started to pass me as well, even if I left just enough room behind Rockett to follow the race rules. To make things worse, Rockett's tempo was beginning to come down, first to 37km/h, then to 35km/h and soon I've head enough. Just at the time when I started passing them, Dave Haase had the same idea, so I let him lead and followed at the allowed distance. While passing him, I did let Rockett know how I felt with him overtaking me and then failing to keep the tempo up. Dave did very well, burt I still felt I could go harder, so I overtook him and continued into the night with a very hard tempo. I didn't look back once and after an hour, when coming back to the follow car for the bottle I got the information that the competitors are nowhere to be seen behind. I carried on with a fast tempo around the big loop around Salton Sea and in the middle of teh second loop we got the info from officials, that I have 20 minute lead from Haase in second place. I finished the two big loops with the average speed of 35,2km/h. On the short loopsfollowing with the car was not allowed and the riding was not as smooth as it was before. Some of it was due to all those stop signs, which surely did lower my speed and there were also a bunch of dangerous dogs on the loop that didn't help. They were becoming more and more dangerous, I had to spray quite a lot of liquids on their »faces« to stop them coming to close to my legs, which was bad as the temperature was soaring during the day, reaching 90+ degrees. It was nerve wrecking to say the least, those were really BIG dogs! The attacking stopped when one of those beasts was ran over by a passing car. I must say I wasn't sorry at all... My average speed was also going down as I stopped almost every lap to tell the crew what do I want to drink. That was my mistake as I didn't bring the communication system with me as I really didn't think I would need one. Even so, I did manage to pass the second placed Adam Bickett for one lap and later my advantage was slowly rising. Until the burning pain in moth of my feet starting bothering me. It was becoming worse and worse. First I tried to care of it while riding, with on the bike foot massage, but when it became unbereable, I had to stop for 10 minutes or so, to rub in the antipain creme. With a long rest Bickett overtook me and was slowly gaining on me, as the pain wasn't going away by no means. I became worst in fact, but I just didn't want to stop anymore not to loose even more time on the followers. The last hours I rode with very bad pain and not comfortable at all, but I knew I had to endure and the World Champs title would be mine. Unfortunatelly I had the wrong information from the organizer that 16 short loops will be enough for the 500 miles result. When I stopped on the finish line 10 minutes before 24h were over, they told me I had to do one full lap and that one very fast to be able to reach the 500 mile mark. With the pain in my feet I didn't find that possible. I felt I suffered enough for a day and knowing that the victory was mine, I ended my race a few minutes before the time was over. A big thank you to my excellent crew of Andrea & Dianne, who did an awesone job! Also to my friends Mike Wilson for lending me part of his crew and hosting me while I was in San Diego and Amy Snyder who took me & my family in for a few days. Thank you guys, you are always welcome to stay at our home when you visit Slovenia. Results: 1. Marko Baloh (Slo) 495,4 miles, 2. Adam Bickett 485,8 miles, 3. Dave Haase (oba ZDA) 448 miles. women 1. Seana Hogan 432,2 miles, 2. Lisa Dougherty (both USA) 400,6 miles, 3. Anna Mei (Italy) 345,5 miles.

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