Sunday, April 15, 2018

Tuscobia 2018

This year's race was pushed back to the more original date occurring between Christmas and New Year.
H.O. Wolding, the trucking company I now drive for when I'm home and available, was gracious enough to allow us to use one of their truck and trailer rigs to shuttle bikes and sleds from Rice Lake to Park Falls WI for the start of the 80 mile race.
I got started by making some bike racks in early December to add to and replace if needed, some of the older racks. I made these a bit wider for the newer 5" tires and added a little more space between bikes to allow the gear to be left on the bikes if desired.

Trial work getting the spacing correct and seeing what things would look like in the truck. Ramp setup.

Training ride, first flat with a fatty. Rode through an area where they did some wood chipping on the local urban trail. Walked out....

Timm's Hill, WI. Seems they always have first snow.

My sister made a cool quilt out many of the finisher T shirts I've collected over the years. We displayed it in case anyone wanted to do the same. Wife Lynn modeling next to it.

Most if not all of the bikes were fully loaded. We transported around 45 bikes I believe. Many of the racers still chose to bring their own bikes to the start which made sense if they had a support person drive them up there.
A buddy of mine and fellow racer rode with me in the truck, about a 2 hour ride.

Race weekend.
Racks installed.

Bikes and sleds loaded.

Unloading at the start. Saw -20 in the truck coming over, -15 or so at the start.

As for the race, I hung with the fast guys for a couple of hours but had to back off. At the first and only check-point for the 80 mile race I was in 5th or 6th place. The leader and 2nd place guys were still in the check-point building but left soon after I arrived. My goal was to spend as little time off the bike as possible for training for the up-coming Arrowhead135.
My water froze, as usual, so I drank down as much as possible while there and buddy volunteer John handed me some chicken soup so downed that as well as he took my picture.
I was about 2-3 minutes behind the leaders as they left, only staying in the building 7 minutes.

I was feeling good as the temps kept dropping. I never did see the leaders and around mile 50-55 I started to get the feeing that I wasn't getting enough carbs. Had plenty of sugar and water, though. At mile 60 I got passed and I had nothing in the tank to hold his tire.
My plan was to get to the town of Birchwood and get some food....breads especially. By this time I realized that it was going to be a cold finish. The air was at 70% humidity with the temps at -20 and lower in the late afternoon and dropping. I found out later that it was one of the highest dropout rates in the history of the race. People just couldn't stay warm. For me personally, I depend on the moisture wicking through the loose mesh back of my jacket as the typically drier air that's associated with the cold temps sucks it out. But that wasn't happening. The ambient air was just to saturated already to draw out any moisture.
In Birchwood I drank some hot chocolate and put on all the clothes I had which really only consisted of what I already was racing in and a mid-puffy jacket and wind pants. These 2 items made a world of difference. I was there about an hour.
One 80 mile rider came into the gas station I was getting ready to leave and he told me he had to drop as he got a flat and couldn't fix it. He told me he had been riding with another rider that continued on.
I took off and finished the last 15-20 or so miles ending up in 5th place.

For the 80 mile bike race 23 finished, 24 did not.
For the 160 mile bike race 14 finished,  20 did not.

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