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  1. #1
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    Baker-to-Death Valley Race Report and Pics

    I can't say it's my race report, so I'll tell it as I observed it as support crew. But not right now. I'm tired and need to eat and get some sleep. Great to see JPConrad, Cleave, Greg, UMD and WhiteCarbonDude in action today. (Congrats to Jon for his first race!)
    'Will post pics and a report tomorrow...
    Last edited by Happytime; 10-29-07 at 08:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
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    I'll try and put something together.

    Hey, UMD, could you send me a link to your Garmin data? Mine was DOA this morning so I ended up riding blind.

    First, I really, really, really want to thank Happytime for driving support and working the feedzone for me! Happytime drove me around this morning, followed us to provide support, passed us to work the feedzone to hand off to Cleave, Greg, and myself, then got behind us again outside of Shoshone in case we had any issues. When she passed us and told us we have 5 miles left it really made my day!. Then she drove myself, Cleave, and Greg back to Baker afterwards.

    Again, thanks Happytime!

    And congrats to Jon for his first race, and to UMD for catting up!

  3. #3
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
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    Sorry, it's longer than it should be...

    Joy and I awoke a little before 4 today. I, as usual, wasnít looking forward to the ride as I never am. We went to the coffee shop in the Primm Valley Resort, had a little breakfast, and went back and got semi-prepared for the ride. After checking out, we stopped and gassed up, then got on the road with Joy driving. Baker was a short 50 or so miles away, and we arrived at the Start/Finish close to 6 am. After speaking to Chris briefly, we went to the convenience store where I got to use the bathroom for the last time for the next few hours, and mixed up my feed bottles for the start and for the feed zone.

    We are back at the starting line close to 6:30 to get ready. Cleave and Greg show up and put some drinks in our cooler, their bags, and some spare wheels. I finish getting ready, and almost forget my Garmin. It turned out, it was dead, so it didnít matter, and that would make it a lot more fun as Iíd have no real idea about speed, distance, time, anything. As the Masters are rolling out one of my teammates whom Iíve never met comes up to me and asks if I have a spare Shimano wheel. It just so happens I did so back to the car, grab the wheel, and get back to the start/finish where Chris is giving the speech.

    We roll, pretty easy at first and then the pace picks up somewhat. Thereís a few times where weíd slow for no apparent reason, once when I had my hand on my bottle which in avoiding the rider ahead almost caused me to take a ride through the dirt, and before we hit the first climb a couple riders went down in the middle causing a lot of riders to go skid trying to avoid another crash.

    The first and only major climb I was at the back and was watching the peloton break apart. No biggie, I knew Iíd suck on this climb; Iíve gained like 7 pounds since Everest due to inactivity and not cutting back on the caloric intake. I started picking off a few riders and dropping a few others.

    Towards the top I got boxed in, purposely I think, by a few riders that I was riding with somewhat. Feeling good, however, I dropped back, went around them, and then picked up the pace which they werenít able to match. At the top of the climb was the feed zone, I tossed my empty and Happytime handed me a nice, cold replacement, then I started the only really good descent. I caught up with three other riders and we all started working together in a pace line with great rotation. Later when I talked to one of the riders he said we were averaging 38-40, however it was somewhat downhill. We picked up more riders, dropped a few, and kept rolling. Around Shoshone the winds started to pick up. Great, this is starting to feel like the DV Century from the spring. Again, we pick up some more riders, including WhiteCarbonDude and Cleave, but now the pace line sucks, only a few of us are doing any work, and no one wants to come forward. I pull out and go to the back. Still, nothing happening, no one wants to step up, so I pick up my pace and pass the group hoping that some of the others that were working would take off with me. Nope, Iím out here all alone. Oh well, theyíll catch up to meÖ eventually. When they do finally catch up, though, they now have a pace line going. Good. I jump back into the rotation.

    As we get farther down the road, less and less of the riders, now around 14, are doing any work. Eventually itís pretty much 6-7 of us rotating through the pace line with the rest just hanging on for the ride. The problem for the folks in the back, though, is since weíre all rotating around weíre able to talk about it out of earshot of the hangers on. Some of the guys decide to pick up the pace and see who can hang on. I am on the threshold of blowing up big time and donít know if I can do it, but I push on. WCD told us he wasnít going to be able to maintain the pace and dropped back. Now it was 4 other riders, 3 of them from PAA, and me. Around this time Joy tells us 5 more miles while passing us. Thanks Joy, that was wonderful to hear! We pick up another rider for a while who jumps into the pace line, but then blows up quickly.

    The finish lineís coming up, pace line breaks apart and the sprint starts. I pull around at least two other riders, maybe three I canít really remember, and cross the line so much into my redline that I feel like I might pass out! And I donít have my Garmin so thereís no way to know what my heart rate was. I pull over at the minivan, get off my bike (my butt was pretty numb) and grab something to drink, and talk to the other riders. I have no idea where we finished; I know we didnít place, though.

    Pack up the gear, get my wheel back, and Joy drove Cleave, Greg, and myself the 80 miles back to Baker. While Iíve been out here before itís amazing! For 80 miles I rode through this beautiful and interesting countryside and didnít see ANYTHING. On the bike, in the pace line, in the peloton, I was so focused on the race that I didnít see any of the ride. But, I had a great time!

    Joy and I went to Bobs Big Boy for lunch; weíd been talking about the chili spaghetti for the last day so we had to have it for lunch. Then back to the road for the long ride home.


    Oh, and that was my 10th race, too, so itís time to move to CAT 4. Now Iíll have to actually figure out what Iím doing.

    And thanks again Joy!

  4. #4
    no more nellie
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    Wow, John! That was exciting to read, so it had to be exciting to ride. No way, no how, I'd do that, but great job to you! Woohoo!

  5. #5
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
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    Next year, ME, next year...

  6. #6
    no more nellie
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    Next year, what?

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    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
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    You can ride it next year! There was only one woman and about 80 guys in the race.

  8. #8
    no more nellie
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    no

  9. #9
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I lost UMD somewhere in the story. Were you together the entire time?

  10. #10
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    nice report!!! 80 miles of balls to the wall at boot too!!!!

  11. #11
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi,

    First a big thanks to Joy and Jon for helping my teammate Greg and me out on this race. Believe me, I don't know what we'd have done without their help.

    Greg and I stayed at the luxurious Royal Hawaiian Resort (Motel). Next time we're going to do the Bun Boy instead. We got to the start area at 6:35 in the AM and parked near jpconrad and Happytime. I was pretty much ready to go and went to the start area just as the pre-race instructions were starting. genedoc was also in our race which ended up being the Pro/1/2/3 field combined with the Master 30+ 1/2/3 field. We had a whopping 20 racers or so.

    We rolled out at 18-20 MPH for the first couple of miles and then it started. The primary stat that I was able to get off my computer was that we covered the first 31 miles at an average of 26.9 MPH. I got dropped fairly early on the climb, kept a steady pace and caught a big guy just before the feed zone. Happytime did an expert job of handing up the bottle I wanted and retrieving the bottle I tossed.

    This big guy and I hammered on the descent but after 10 or so more mile my back was cooked and I couldn't push on the pedals anymore. So 50 miles into the race I'm by myself hoping that the 4/5 pack would catch me as I could barely ride 12-14 MPH into a relentless headwind. A small group that was the 4/5 break caught me so I didn't want to interfere with them and I couldn't get on them anyway. Then a small chase group came up and I got onto them for a very short distance and again thought better of mixing it up with them. Finally, a larger group that had jpconrad, WhiteCarbonDude, and genedoc. I sit in and work with them for about 10 miles but then I decide to try to sit at the back -- big mistake. This big guy is back there on genedoc's wheel but he keeps yo-yo'ing and everytime he tries tto get back on genedoc's wheel he stands up and hammers. I stay with him for a few minutes of this but it is killing me and I don't have the strength to come around him. So with about 10 miles to go (which turns out to be 8.5) I drop off to crawl to the finish. Another PAA guy catches me and we have a nice chat for the last few miles about another of my teammates whom he knows.

    Finished and get to the van where Happytime hands me a fresh bottle with water.

    We get packed up and trade war stories during the drive back to the start.

    Not a stellar day for me but fun nonetheless. I'll definitely do it again.

    EDIT: BTW, it was nice to meet UMD and WhiteCarbonDude in the flesh.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  12. #12
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I lost UMD somewhere in the story. Were you together the entire time?

    Nope, he was off in a group in front of me.

  13. #13
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I lost UMD somewhere in the story. Were you together the entire time?

    They lost me somewhere in the race, or rather I lost them. I was at the front for most of the race. I lost the lead group on the climb but stayed ahead of JP and WCD's group. I'll have to wait for the final results, but it looks like I was #12 overall and possibly first of the cat 5s.

  14. #14
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpconrad View Post
    Nope, he was off in a group in front of me.
    Oh cool!....30 miles at 26 mph average? Geez!

  15. #15
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    They lost me somewhere in the race, or rather I lost them. I was at the front for most of the race. I lost the lead group on the climb but stayed ahead of JP and WCD's group. I'll have to wait for the final results, but it looks like I was #12 overall and possibly first of the cat 5s.

    Cool man, good job! Sounds like a tough race!

  16. #16
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    A small group that was the 4/5 break caught me so I didn't want to interfere with them and I couldn't get on them anyway. Then a small chase group came up and I got onto them for a very short distance and again thought better of mixing it up with them.
    Was that my group? Oh yeah, and how long before Walker was off the front?

  17. #17
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    Was that my group? Oh yeah, and how long before Walker was off the front?
    Hi umd,

    Probably was your group as the next group to catch me was jpconrad's.

    BTW, it seemed like I was out there by myself for an eternity in the wind.

    Chris got away pretty early with what looked like two other guys. We kept them in sight basically to the hill but then the peleton slowed approaching the hill as everyone wanted a short break before the climb.
    Thanks.
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  18. #18
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Oh cool!....30 miles at 26 mph average? Geez!
    Well our race wasn't at fast. I had on my computer 24.2 mph average at the time of the accident, a bit before we hit the climb... maybe 35 miles or so? We slowed down after that to give me people a chance to catch back up. I suspect the race Cleave was in was faster because they had the Pro 1-2s in there.

  19. #19
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Well this was a surprise:



    No wonder it hurt so much and no wonder why it was so fast to the bottom of the climb!
    Last edited by Cleave; 10-29-07 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Updated graph to show elevation vs. distance
    Thanks.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
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    Nice profile! And nice reports. Sounds like a great race... wish I had joined y'all, and hope we can have an even bigger group there next year.

  21. #21
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
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    That explains a lot, so not only was it into the wind it was generally up hill, too.

  22. #22
    Racerboy Douchebaggery jpconrad's Avatar
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    Chris was saying if it goes off next year it'll probably be a Saturday in March.

  23. #23
    umd
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    Ok, here is my report. I was going through pictures but I'm having trouble uploading so I'll do this first. I drove out to Baker last night right after my 10 year high school reunion. After a few false starts, left home at 6 and pulled in to the "Bun Boy" motel just before 10 PM. Found Jon (WhiteCarbonDude) through some cell phone Marco Polo, then headed over to the Mad Greek for a late meal.

    I set my alarm for 5:00 and got up shortly thereafter. Got dressed and prepped my bike, then realized I didn't really have anything to do so I went back to sleep for a while. Got up again a little after 6, woke Kim up and we walked across the street to pick up Jon's truck, as she would be driving it as a follow/return vehicle. She went off to load up our stuff and get some food and I headed over to the start line to sign in and get my number.

    First the Pro 1-2 and Master's race got underway. Those races were combined because there were only 4 in the Pro 1-2 category, including Chris Walker. The start was extrememly informal--instructions were given and then they said "Your race is now underway". I could tell it caught some guys off guard; some weren't even on their bikes yet. Then we all lined up, he gave the instructions again, and then we were off too. The pace started out really easy for quite some time, riding in 2x2s. Right as my pull was about to come up, one guy shot up my inside and took off on an attack. A few more guys came up the other side giving chase and the race was on. I jumped on the faster group and generally stayed on or near the front. Someone would attack and everyone would follow and after a while the pace would settle down and someone else would move to the front. This happened many times until someone finally made a break stick and got away from the group. After that the attacks subsided for a while.

    Around 30 miles or so, there was an accident in the field. I don't really know what happened as I was out in front at the time. I was moving off the front, or trying to, but nobody else seemed to want to do any work as the climb was approaching. I looked back and moved left, and everybody followed me over. Ok, so I moved right and slowed down and everybody followed me over again. This was getting silly, so waited a bit and then moved back left toward the center line, and then I heard the unmistakeable sound of bikes going down. I'm not sure what happened exactly, nobody touched my wheel. I asked around and nobody seemed to think I did anything wrong, somebody just touched wheels and went down, taking a few nearby riders with him. A guy I ended up riding with later said that he ran over the guy that went down. ouch.

    So we slowed down for a while and waited to give people involved in the accident a chance to catch back on, but then the attacks started again on the climb. I stayed on the back of the front group for much of the climb after tons of people started dropping like flies, but then I started to have stomach/side cramping that made it very difficult to push hard, and I started to watch the group drift away. I saw some riders behind closing on me so I pushed through the pain and got over the top of the climb without losing anymore position. I saw Kim at the top walking away and I shouted at her to take a picture. She asked if I needed any food or water ad I shouted back, "no, take a picture!". She asked if she missed the others but I couldn't remember if they were in front or behind.

    ok, time for sleep, I'll write more tomorrow.

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    Happytime's Support-Report

    Riding support for a road race is interesting. I got a taste of it earlier this year when some cute mechanics let me sit in the Tour of CA/SRAM neutral support car. So when JP Conrad mentioned that he didn't know how he was going to ride in the Baker-to-DV race without it, I gladly offered my services.

    Since it was an out-and-back race with no organized support, I took on helping JP, Cleave and Lightning Velo teammate Greg. UMD and WhiteCarbonDude were under the watchful eye of Kim (Mrs. UMD), who as a support veteran gave me some helpful tips. (Thanks Kim!) The ride organizers informed us there would no bathrooms past Shoshone, and none at the finish/turnaround. So I was reluctant to drink too many liquids. But I was so sleepy prior to the start that I needed a non-fluidic pickmeup. I spotted a giant bottle of espresso Hammergel in JP's minivan. Hmmmm..... Next thing, I'm popping the top, tilting my head back and letting the gel flow. The mastery I have over my gag reflex has never been so handy!

    The race went off around 7am. The weather was a perfectly crisp 60 degrees and there was no hint of the smog/smoke that we were worried about. The Pro/Cat1/2/3s were lumped together with the Masters and they took off down the Highway. This group included Cleave and Greg. After a brief lecture to the Cat 4/5 group, race organizer Chris sent the second group off as well, which included John, Jon and Steve. Kim and I followed in our support cars in a long caravan. It was boring staring at the back of a truck for miles on end, but the spedometer was going at a pretty good 25mph clip. There was, however, some awesome scenery.


    At the 25 mile marker, I was wondering how far ahead the Cat 1-3/Masters group was. The Feed Zone was at Mile 40 and if the Cat 4/5s were going well, then the first group must be flying. At the first opportunity, I left the main caravan (courtesy of a CHP traffic break) and sped ahead to try and catch the first group, which should have been hitting the hill climb (Mile 31) about then. Very soon I could tell the peloton had blown apart. Single riders were slogging their way up the grade like lonely debris. Halfway up, I saw Cleave making his way up bravely.


    I followed Cleave for a few miles to make sure he was OK. He looked like he was in pain, but his pace was steady so I drove past him to check up on Greg, who was a little farther up the hill. Greg looked strong so I went ahead to the Feed Zone to prepare the handoffs. The organizers had chosen the spot perfectly. It was at the hill's crest, so it was easy to see the riders coming. They were also coming past singly, or occasionally in pairs, so there was so crowding or confusion. The riders were able to spot me, throw out their spent bottles and yell out what they needed for the handoff. JP and Cleave needed only one bottle, which was easy, but Greg yelled for two as he rode by. Wasn't sure how to handle that but I managed to hand off one bottle while simultaneously slamming a second bottle into his seatpost cage. Prolly couldn't do that again if I tried!

    After I drove out of the Feed Zone there was a long descent where riders were drafting cars at terrific speeds. Not sure that was legal, but most of them were doing it. Riders were starting to form small groups, but I did see Cleave out there with no one around him to help. There were a lot of cars on the road at this point and I couldn't spot JP so I drove ahead to the town of Shoshone at Mile 50 to use the bathroom. Soon after, I pulled off to the side of the road to wait for "my" riders. Greg passed with another rider, Cleave (still all alone), a few other BFers and then JP with a small group. With 30 miles to go and virtually NO other cars on the road past the town of Shoshone, I settled in behind them for the rest of the way. It was enlightning, I must admit. Not so much for the riders, but the eclectic collection of John's iPod. At one moment I'm listening to White Zombie. The next, I'm listening to the soundtrack of "Grease" and then White Stripes, then the disco hit "Freak Out." JP's mind is a strange one indeed!


    So JP and his little band were motoring along at a pretty strong pace, and soon they were picking up riders. Over the next ten miles, the group had swelled to about 14 and the group dynamics became an interesting soap opera to watch. Four or five guys were doing the bulk of the work, while another four or five guys were sitting back and refused (or were unable) to help at all. JP took off for a while, but no one wanted to go on with him, so he gradually came back to the group, which formed into a ragged, double paceline. (This was all done to the MC Hammer tune "Can't Touch This".) This went on for miles, with riders being picked up, small bands catching up and still other riders dropping off the back. At one point, the group caught up to Cleave and he latched on.

    I could tell the wind was picking up and wreaking havoc with the riders, but I couldn't tell if they had a headwind or crosswind. The effort in front of me was still strong but the speed had dropped to 10-15. Looking at the shrubs on the side of the road was no help. They don't sway like regular plants, they just sorta "shiver' in the winds.... and there was a lot of shivering going on!

    At about Mile 70, Cleave dropped off the back. Riding alone for so long had taken its toll. I asked him if he was OK, which he was, then sped up to follow JP's group a little longer. I knew he was riding blind without his Garmin and it could NOT have been fun in the winds. So five miles from the finish, I drove up alongside, rolled down the window and yelled "FIVE MILES!!!!" into his ear. The look of relief on his face was so palpable!

    As I sped up and drove ahead to the finish line I passed another group with UMD, but didn't see Greg, who had already finished. I parked and got the recovery drinks ready. I didn't see it, but the two bigger groups must have broken up during the final miles as smaller groups of 3-4 came in sprinting to the line. Everyone came home safe and sound and looked like they had a great time!

    The finish line:

    L to R: WhiteCarbonDude (Jon), Cleave, Greg, JPConrad (John)

    UMD (Steve) in his new kit:
    Last edited by Happytime; 10-30-07 at 10:22 AM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member nygirl777's Avatar
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    NIIIIIIIIIIICE job guys. Great support Joy!!!
    All men hear is blah, blah, blah, blah, SEX, blah, blah, blah, FOOD, blah, blah, blah, BEER, blah, blah, blah, BIKES.

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