Silver State 508 Race Report - Part 2

The crew was spot on with the WINFORCE nutrition, Marlies’ handoffs were impacable, Irma was shooting photos and posting on the website and Pat&Jason were driving the “Tweety car”. At the 3rd Time Station in Austin my advantage had grown to more than half an hour and surprise, surprise, it was the Crow in the 2nd place in front of Rock Rabbit. The climb out of Austin was hot, but didn’t take too long. I was thinking to myself and telling the crew we might want to put the jacket on for this descent on the way back. It was supposed to get cold during the night. I was still feeling great, plowing along with 22+ mph on the semi-flats towards Eureka thinking to myself an hour advantage would be better than half.

 

As the night was aproaching, a short stop was planned to get dressed for a (cold) night. It was a perfect pit-stop, took as 9 minutes to seat down, get the leg warmers on, the shoe covers, under helmet hat, the night reflective vest, put on some more Assos butt oinment, pump up the tires and we were off. It was night time, east bound, so it was finally the follow mode on. So, the follow car was to be behind me all night. The Cardo BK-1 kept on cranking, with Irma & Marlies changing roles to keep me informed and entertained. Around 25 minutes after turning around we met Crow, so I figured the advantage should be almost an hour by now. A couple of minutes behind him there were Holstein and Rock Rabbit closely following each other. We kept on meeting the racers coming in the opposite direction all the way to Austin. Most of them were corteus enough to at least wave back or say hello, some even shouted encouragement for Tweety. On the pass above Austin it was time to put the Assos winter jacket and the winter gloves on. Than to the fast descent to Austin and keeping an eye on my speedometer through Austin as we didn’t want to get a speeding ticket and even less the 15 minute penalty in the race.

The long leg from Austin to Fallon was hard. I was feeling like I am slowing down, started complaining a bit against the headwind (not strong by any means, but enough to make you suffer) and it was freezing at places. I could feel it was close to freezing as my cheacks could really feel it in some places. And the crew confirmed it, the lowest they have seen was 39F. I was still flying on the descents, reaching as much as 48mph, trying not to think about the possibility of some cows or even mustangs on the road. The one thing that scared the sh..  out if me was the owl flying out of the bushes just in front of my face, waking me up better than all the caffeine in the World. Plus there were some small rabitts and mouses running over the road. We could see the Fallon lights miles ahead, but it just took ages to get there. On the Fallon TS one of the race stuff warned us that my light is running out of the batteries. We have planned for a short stop to fill up the gasoline anyway, so I could seat down a bit and rest, while the crew were replacing my front light. It took no more than 5 minutes in all and I was off again, riding into a beautiful (almost full) moon just setting down the horizon.

The good news was that I learned I was already an hour and a half up on Crow in Austin, the bad was that I could feel the lack of power in my legs. On the semi-flats towards Silver Springs, I had trouble maintaining close to 20mph speed and on the short rises which I would normally attack on the big ring, I had to shift to a small chainring. Marlies kept encouraging me and saying that I look smooth and am doing great, but I knew my pace was slowing. Still, it was just the Gaiger Summit to pass before the fun descent to Reno.  The sun was rising, so it was relly beautiful to be riding out there.

The climb through Virginia City with its 20+% ramps did kick my butt, I even had to make a few switchback of my own to make it less steep. I needed a couple of minutes to catch my breath back on the top. I could feel the cold of the night didn’t do any good to my lungs, the shortness of breath was considerable. I downed the 2 plates of Milka chocolate and had my last few miles of enjoyment. The descent was fast and I just loved it, forgeting about the butt pain, the sore muscles and back, the sleepines, I was making it, finishing the first ever Siver State 508. And finishing fast! I still hung on to the 31km/h average for the whole 817km (508 miles). The last stop in the race we made a mile before the finish line, just to make myself presentable for the finishing photos. A minute and we were off, my emotions almost getting the better of me. The goal I have set before the season reached. Winning the 508 a decade after my first victory. And to even make it better, with a record finishing time and average speed for the race. 26hours 24minutes for 508 miles. Not too shabby for an old man, is it? It shows you that you are just as old as you believe you are and if you keep in shape, the age doesn’t neccessarily mean decreasing of physical abilities.

I want to thank all of my excellent crew for their help, without them I wouldn’t make it far in such a grueling race. Thank you Irma, Marlies, Patrick and Jason. You were awesome!

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