Race Report: Bike Sebring 12/24

Ken traveled down to Sebring, Florida last weekend for Bike Sebring 12/24 and crushed the 12 hour race, logging 229.7 miles. He wrote a race report chronicling the training and race itself, and you’ll see it was quite the adventure:


“After Dakota Five-0 in 2019, I started training for the Sebring 24 hour RAAM qualifier. My plan was to complete the Spotted Horse 150 in Oct, One Night Stand in Nov, then focus on the TT bike. Spotted Horse didn’t go as planned and ended with 60 miles and a DNF. It was then I knew I wouldn’t be ready for a 13 hour overnight MTB race three weeks later. This is a little foreshadowing to plans changing. I had surgery in April 2018 and a double procedure in Feb 2019. I haven’t trained or raced in a couple years. My recovery was slow and made training and racing Dakota Five-0 a miserable experience. Training in the fall and over winter proved to be challenging with the weather and trail conditions. I spent weeks on the trainer. I had a trip to FL planned in Dec to pre ride the course and train in warmer weather for a week. As I was prepping my TT bike for air travel, I found that the dropout was broken. The bike was sent to a repair shop in LR, AR. So I adapted and packed up the road bike for the trip. The day I was to leave, my flight was delayed, then later canceled. Allegiant only has two flights a week from Omaha to FL, so my trip was canceled. Back to the basement. I did get some longer rides outside on the gravel and road bikes, but not having the ability to get ample saddle time on the TT bike would rear its ugly head on race day. After my 2018 surgery, my power came back quickly, but this year it is taking longer. I wasn’t going to get my FTP where I wanted it to reach my goals, but whatever, FL in Feb, right? Soldier on. Flight was paid for and other plans were in place. My TT bike repair was delayed a week due to the shop owner getting the flu, then when the frame returned, the fork wasn’t with it, so delayed another day to wait on FedEx to overnight it. I got two trainer rides on it before packing it up for the trip. The rear tube let go half way through the last ride, so I cut it short. Seems nothing is going as planned.

To add to the pile of changes, the race promoter announced that the track was rented to SCCA on Sat night, so we would not be racing overnight on the fast, closed course. The new proposed course, which would be ridden for the second 12 hours, looked and rode more like a circuit or crit course, three left 90 degree turns followed by a right 90 on one end, and a hairpin 180 on the other. Add in that being overnight with lights in your eyes and I decided to bail on the 24 and do the 12 hour course. Oh, I haven’t mentioned yet that my support guy was stuck in a snow storm in Ohio. There’s one more. The hotel only booked me for Friday night and not Saturday, so the morning of the race I had to check out and hope that there would be vacancy when I was done to check back in. Backing up a bit, the team Speed Hound bike bag got my bike and gear to and from FL beautifully. I got to FL on Monday night. Two shakedown rides on Tues and Wed, rest Thurs, then an easy drive to Sebring on Friday.

I got there early enough to ride the 11 mile loop, check in, join some Iowa friends for dinner, who I politely asked to crew for me, then back to the room to lay out all my gear like it was the first day of school. I’ve found that I need to get up two hours prior to start time to get all my things done and not feel rushed. The morning went well, despite running some first time gear (shoe covers, fully loaded bike, first long event on the Garmin 830). I grabbed my chip at the start, then lined up in the second row so I could follow some Sebring veterans. The start was at 0630 sharp and the guy in the HPV sprinted off like a rocket. The 24 hour fast crew did also. My HR was hard to control for the first hour. We spent 30 minutes on the track doing laps. These folks all need to spend some time watching auto racing. I wasn’t pulling the peloton, but taking good lines had me catching up and passing often, which is scary when everyone is down on aero bars racing a road course. One guy caught a concrete seam and put himself in the hospital with a broken collar bone on lap one or two. After three laps, we were sent out on a 90 mile out and back. This was much safer as the pack was strung out and single file. It was a chilly morning. I had a base layer, basic kit, thin arm covers, gloves, and aero shoe covers. At one point in the morning I had difficulty shifting because my hands were so cold. I was also over hydrated, stopping often to water the orange groves. I lost a couple small groups due to this, but eventually linked up with a group of five that were seasoned racers. They had a good pace and solid bike handling. I was either in the back or pulling. We were working well together. This went on until about the 85 mile mark. The road turned into the wind for about 10 miles, the longest single stretch of the day, and they fell off the back as they were on road bikes while I got as low as I could. I pulled into the pit almost exactly as I predicted with a five our century done. Only seven hours left! I peeled off the base layer, arm covers, and gloves. Applied sunscreen, lip balm, chamois cream, grabbed two bottles and went out on my first 11 mile loop. This loop was right hand turns until returning back to the pit, then it was a series of turns to get to the timing table followed by a sharp 180 and back out. The wind picked up on the century out of the east, then shifted to the north, and swung to the south before dying off around 1730. This made for ever changing tactics on where to sit up and where to work. There was one short hill half way through the 11 mile loop similar to that hill on the way to the white church. I was warned not to overdo it here, so I granny geared it almost every time, sat up, drank, then got ready for the last 5 miles into the pits. 11 mile loop was like shampoo, lather, rinse, and repeat. All was well until about the 9 hour mark. At that point my stomach shut down and was starting to evict unwanted inhabitants. I felt like I needed to vomit, but only burps came up. I felt miserable. I think I had a little over 175 miles in at this point. I wasn’t going to quit without at least 200, but honestly didn’t want to continue. I suffered through another three laps before chugging about 20 ounces of water in the pit. Things felt better, but I still hadn’t had any calories since the 9 hour point. I was just waiting for my legs to cramp up and shut down. I only had 90 minutes left though so I kept rolling. The 11 mile loop was closing at 1740 so I was timing to hit it right before it closed knowing the 3.5 mile course would be slow and busy until the 12 hour races were done at 1830. I hit the mat at 1735 with 207 miles, my current PR from DK200 twice. I was going to set a new PR for distance and ride the entire time. Backing up a few hours, every time I was coming off the 11 mile loop, I would see this guy I met the night before heading out. Each time I came in, he was closer to the pits. I was slowly making time on him. This was my rabbit. Little did I know, he was also the only other rider in my age category. The temperature was coming down, my stomach was feeling better, and I was getting faster. I finally caught him with two 11 mile loops remaining. He was still working with that strong group I rode with on the century. Every time I came by, they would grab a wheel. Their experience showed. My legs were feeling good on the flats, but I needed to test them on that climb. Occasionally throughout the day, I would stand to left some blood back into the pressure areas and move around. No cramps. This time I hit the hill in the big ring, stood over it, and then kept the power on to take advantage of the aero bike and wheels. A quick look over my shoulder showed the group not chasing. I was at the 11 hour mark and still able to spike my HR and stay on the gas without cramps. I powered through my last 11 mile loop the same way. Hard on the flats and hard over the hill. I hit the timing mat off the last big loop with 25 minutes remaining. Now to the short course. I noted the time, then went out as hard as I could. Sweeping the 90 degree turns in the aero bars, passing as many people as I could. I rode the first turn around there somewhat easy to make sure the corners were clean and read the lines. Back on the straight and back on the gas. Diving into the pit area, I noted that it took about ten minutes for the 3.5 miles and there was 15 minutes left on the clock. Time for one more.  I buried the needle and went as hard as I could, no one was holding a wheel as the traffic was high and I am very comfortable taking corners full speed in the aero bars. I set up for the last turn and swept the three 90s in one smooth arc, then back to the right and out of the saddle for the last sprint. I crossed the mat at 1155 with 225.2 miles on the Garmin. Good enough for a new PR and first place in my age group by about two minutes. A weird thing happened at about the eight hour mark. My body just kept moving. It was almost on autopilot. I could have probably rode another 2-3 hours comfortably (ignoring that the chamois now felt like a scalpel on my inner thigh).

Dinner was a few beers, a shower, then a burger and fries. I took food out to my impromptu crew as their main racer was still out on the 24 hour course. I felt great, minus some soreness on the front of my knees which I believe is from so much low cadence/high torque pedaling throughout the day, and well the crotch area. I had one more day in the sun before packing up and heading back. I stopped at a farmers market and nearly bought everything I saw. My metabolism is still raging today. I’m calling it good for base training, now to shift for CIRREM and Mid South. Thanks for reading.”

Weekend Update: Off-Road Duathlon

It’s one of my favorite events of the year! Partially because it was dream of mine that CCPRC help bring to reality, but also because we have such a good team showing AND the number of total beginners that come out is so inspiring!

Consisting of a 2 mile run, then 7 mile bike, and then another 2 mile run- all on trails and gravel roads- is the perfect distance for anyone, and you don’t need a fancy bike for it.

I tried to get photos from all our athletes running and having fun.

And also having a lot of fun…

And being awesome volunteers….

And NOW for the results…..Ladies first:

  • Sandy: Overall Female Winner
  • Sarah: 2nd overall
  • Joelle: 9th overall
  • Tracey: 17th overall
  • Dawn: 25th overall
  • Robin: 32nd overall
  • Heather: 36th overall

And… our guys

  • Darrell: 5th overall
  • Josh: 9th overall
  • Scotty: 18th overall
  • Pearce: 26th overall
  • Steve: 35th overall
  • Greg: 44th overall
  • Andreas: 57th overall
  • Robert: 63rd overall
  • Mike: 78th overall

Other cool tidbits: EVERYONE who has raced the duathlon before PR’ed the race!

And finally…. NO race would be complete without the post race celebrations!

Weekend Update: Charleston Marathon and Half Marathon

Yesterday kicked off 2020 with the Charleston Marathon and Half Marathon. It was an unusually warm and humid January day which doesn’t always work well for running distance events. Therefore, no one really achieved the results they wanted but had a great time all the same.

However, a huge congrats to Jessica for completing her first ever half marathon (pictured left), and Jenn (right) for completing her 10th full marathon.

Our half marathon runners were Andreas, Emily C, Emily K, Jessica, Melissa, Michele and Pearce. No PRs but everyone was out there supporting one another, running with friends, and celebrating life.

Jenn wrapped up a crazy year of marathoning and Ironmaning… Starting with Boston Marathon, then IM Maryland, then IM Florida, then Charleston Marathon. She’s been a total champ through it all and is now looking forward to resting her body.

Next weekend is the Off-Road Duathlon which is such a fun event. Almost everyone from the team will be out there- be sure to say hi!

Weekend Update: Kiawah Marathon and Half Marathon, Challenge Daytona Triathlon

The year may be winding down but our team is still racing full force and getting some great results. We had runners doing both the Kiawah Marathon and Kiawah Half Marathon and the Parker family was in sunny Florida racing the Challenge Daytona Triathlon.

Kiawah Marathon

Sandy and Chuck both ran the full marathon hoping for Boston Qualifying times. While sadly it wasn’t Chuck’s day- although he still pulled out an impressive sub-4 hours, Sandy killed it. She ran a 3:37- 3 minutes faster than her required BQ qualifying time. Additionally, she surprised herself by grabbing a podium, too , bringing in a 3rd in AG! We hope that this 3 minute cushion will be enough for her to secure her Boston spot. After a few weeks of chillin’ we’ll start ramping both Sandy and Chuck back up for IM Texas in the spring.

We had some great results in the half marathon, too. Both Michele and Sheryl had PRs, and Greg and AJ put out some impressive times as well. Michele, Greg and AJ are also part of my crew that will be heading to IM TX in April. Also a big shout out to Meridee, who has had some serious injuries and in the past few months we’ve been able to carefully get her back up and running (pun intended). She ran a 1:47 and placed 7th in her AG! Jenn bounced back from IM Maryland AND IM Florida and used the half marathon as a training race for the Charleston Marathon in January. She’s still running strong and I am looking forward to seeing what she can do the first of the year.

Challenge Daytona

The Parker family headed down to Florida for a weekend of triathloning. Saturday, Scotty started the day by racing the adult sprint triathlon. He placed 9th in the 18-24 yo AG, even though he is only 15. He then decided to take a few hours to recover and race the junior race- winning his real AG!

Littlest team member Emmylou won the 8 yo AG and what made it even better was being able to run in with her big brother. The cutest!!

Dad Steve did his first ever middle distance triathlon on Sunday and crushed it, finishing in just over 6 hours. He’s been putting in all the hard work and it is paying off!

Thanks for checking in. As 2019 wraps up I just want to say that I am thankful for such a great group of athletes and I am so excited for what 2020 will bring. Until next time- happy training!

Weekend Update: Sea Island Half Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Paws in the Park 5k

A cold and nasty Saturday didn’t stop any of Team AMEC from running some fun races and producing great results. Sarah headed to Hilton Head for the Sea Island Half Marathon. She placed 1st in her AG and 7th overall female.

Rick had a great day at the Richmond Marathon- running a PR by 45 seconds. What’s even more remarkable about this is the fact that he has run dozens of marathons and ultras and at age 52 was able to run the fastest ever. In a world where we are expected to lose muscle and slow down as we get older, to think that you could do something in your 50s that you were unable to do in your 20s, 30s, or 40s is quite a feat. Think about that.

Finally, Missy and Shannon bundled up for the Paws in the Park 5k. They were able to run fast enough for Shannon to place 6th overall female and Missy 10th overall female. Great job, ladies!