#OkBeerMuda 2016

In the early morning of Saturday October 22, approximately 30 riders set off in the dark from Anthem Brewery in downtown Oklahoma City, heading towards Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Around half would pull off at the 30 mile mark and head back towards OKC, but the others were on a quest for the day.  A quest to complete the #OkBeerMuda - a tour of 3 Oklahoma breweries, covering 403 miles of pavement, hills, gravel roads, and wind.  The goal was to complete at a pace of 20 mph.  The plan was short stops, great support, pacelines and of course, staying on top of fuel and hydration.  Below is the story of that quest, in snapshots from those who suffered and supported and endured the day.  And night.  

Storytellers:  Andy Chasteen, Chad Hodges, Paul Papin, Jason Waddell, Chris Holliday, Biff Stephens, Geremy Rowland

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4:30 am - Paul: Meditation, breakfast, pancakes. Load up truck, off to Anthem Brewery.
4:45 am - Chris:  I'm awake, I might as well get out of bed.
5:30 am - Chad:  Packed up but forgot breakfast, two pieces of pizza it is.
5:30 am - Laurent: Wake up, coffee, big breakfast, excited, last minute checkup, bikes are clean and sleek!
6:00 am - Biff:  It's way too early, and I'm way too old for this shit.
6:00 am - Jason:  Drive to the start or ride? What’s an extra 8 miles when you plan on riding 400.
6:30 am - Chad:  Unloading & loading the van & SAG cars. We have a lot of food this year! 
6:30 am - Laurent:  Heading to Anthem with Stephan, pumped up by the voice of Yelle.  Wow, big crowd!  all of our friends showed up to give us a boost, and a pull to Luther.
6:45 am - Jason:  What was I thinking? This is going to be a long day.

Anthem Brewery, Oklahoma City, OK
6:45 am - Paul: Shoes, helmet on, air up tires, help load vehicles. Chad gives the plan for the day.  Group photo. 
6:55 am - Chris:  Wow, this is a lot of people riding/helping/supporting.
6:59 am - Chad:  I never really know what to say when leading these roll out speeches.
7:00 am - Laurent:  Feeling great, everyone is so chatty!
7:00 am - Chad:  BEERMUDA! Let the fun begin! 
7:00 am - Geremy:  On time (for once!) and ready to go.  Only two rules given to follow - Keep it at 20 mph and don’t stop more than every two hours.  Check. 
7 am, Anthem Brewing, 52 degrees - Andy:  Long day begins with long sleeves and knee warmers.

8:00 am - Biff:  Good sunlight, time to get busy taking photos.  Smiles everywhere so far.
8:00 am - Geremy:  Sun coming out and I feel great.  Ignore my old man bladder.  I can’t possibly need to go to the bathroom this soon.
8:30 am - Paul:  Roll through Luther. The ones doing the normal early risers ride turn around. Legs still haven't woke up.  
Mile 30 - Chad:  Just a tad jealous of the Early Risers crew pulling off at Farmstead 116 for our usual mid ride cup of coffee.
9:00 am - Jason:  I’ve never ate or drank this much two hours into a bike ride.
Mile 50 - Chad:  Why do I have crews working today?  Solve "real" work problems on my phone & stay positive.
Mile 55 - Chad:  Hopefully, that wraps up "real" work.  Again, why do I have crews working on #OKBeerMuda?
9:56 am - Geremy:  Halfway to Tulsa, tail-cross wind and life is good.  Feels fast.  Becoming clear that our two rules might not stick.
10:38 am - Chris:  Overheard "... if we push it we can get our average up to 22.5 mph... "

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10:45 am, mile 80, Bristow, OK - Andy:  One slight wrong turn in town, we miss 4 guys who had ridden from Tulsa to meet us.  They are chasing.
Mile 80 - Chad:  I'm pretty sure we were supposed to meet the Tulsa boys in Bristow...just missed the Tulsa boys.
Mile 81 - Chad:  Does it really take this long to chase on?
Mile 82 - Chad:  We sent the van back for them, right?
Mile 85 - Andy:  I stop for pee break, wait for Tulsa guys chasing. Hook up with follow van and motor pace 5 minutes back up to group.
Mile 88 - Chad:  There they are! Waddell, can you send the troops to the front?
11:20 am - Chris:  Awesome, we have some help from the Tulsa crew!
Mile 90 - Chad:  Now we're talking, sit in until Tulsa.
11:45 am - Chris:  Holy crap, 17,000 watts up this hill, who invited the Tulsa crew!
Mile 104, Sapulpa, OK - Andy:  Group crosses railroad tracks, Dustin Smith hits track wrong and crashes.
Mile 104 - Chad:  Tracks!  Oh, crap what just happened?  Rider down! Call 911!  
11:55 am - Geremy: One of the worst sounds I’ve heard riding a bike.  This can’t be good.  Just hope he’s okay.
12:00 pm - Jason:  Played paramedic for 10 minutes with down rider. Pulled broken Oakley’s out of his face. 

Marshall Brewing Company, Tulsa OK - mile 120, 22.8 mph average
Mile 120 - Chad:  15 minutes ahead of schedule! Welcome to Marshall Brewing! Take a few pics, post an update, chamois cream up, refuel & hit the road!
12:30 am - Geremy:  Tulsa friends bring us into town in a hurry and it feels good to stop for a few minutes. 
12:45 pm - Andy:  first brewery stop.  feeling good.  quick food, a beer, reapply chamois cream, short sleeve jersey. 
12:50 pm - Paul:  Arrive in Tulsa at Marshall Brewing way ahead of the goal. Andy tells me he feels better than last year.  My legs feel dead from a week of recovery but, I know it's not a big deal. Food, group picture and then roll. 
1:00 pm - Biff:  Pictures at first stop (Marshall Brewing in Tulsa), beer, sponsors, beer, sponsors, repeat!
1:00 pm - Laurent:  Marshall!  Wow, that leg was fast!  that beer is good! Dang that food is good!

 

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1:30 pm - Geremy:  Back in the saddle for “flattest” advertised segment.
1:30 pm - Chad:  Let the headwind begin!
1:30 pm - Chris:  Now we can slow it down on the headwind section.
1:30 pm - Jason:  Headwind, oh glorious headwind.
Mile 132, Jenks, OK - Andy:  18 mph headwind will be our enemy for the next 120 miles.  We decide to move to single file pace line, each person 3 minutes on front in wind.
2:00 pm - Laurent:  Headwind! fast pace! dang, those pulls get harder and harder!
2:30 pm - Geremy:  Headwind.  Crosswind.  Headwind.  Crosswind.  Eat, drink, hide.   Rinse and repeat . . . seemingly forever.  400 watts to go 20 mph.  I’ll pay for this later.
Mile 142 - Andy:  Crosswinds, I form an additional echelon. 
3:00 pm - Chris:  Uhhh, so when are we gonna slow it down? Legs are cramping! Just hang on!
3:00 pm - Laurent:  Definitely above my talking pace!
3:03 pm - Chris:  WHAT?!?! Its only been 3 minutes since I last looked?

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3:05 pm - Chris:  IS THIS THING BROKEN???? [repeat the last 3 steps 1000 times].
3:15 pm - Geremy crashes:  This food is great!  Opening the wrapper on a tasty pinwheel and . . . oh, crap!  Didn’t see him slightly back off the gas.  Clipped his wheel and now I’m in a heap on the side of the road.  I’m an idiot . . . a tired, bloody and disappointed idiot.
Mile 170 - Chad:  Pace is still pretty solid.  Headwinds & crosswinds still.  Feeling pretty good so far but the group is starting to struggle.
Mile 175, Counsel Hill, OK near Lake Eufala - Andy: average has fallen slightly to just above 22 mph. I’m still feeling good, staying on top of fuel and hydration.
4:00 pm - Biff: Remember to not give anyone estimates as to how far we have left (long story, Biff gave some wrong mileage estimates to riders at 2015 beermuda).
4:00 pm - Laurent:  Dang, those pulls get even harder...oh shit! too fast for me!
Mile 180 - Chad:  To another rider "Next time you want to slow down, you can ask Andy yourself." 
4:32 pm - Chris:  Too fast for me... I'm done.
Mile 185 - Chad:  Finally, the first gravel section.  This gravel seems way worse to ride in than last year.
Mile 186 - Andy:  First gravel section. 11 miles.  New layer of gravel makes for slow, sloppy progress.
5:00 pm - Laurent:  This gravel section is about twice as long as last year! No?  
5:15 pm - Geremy:  Yippee!  This must be the easy gravel section I heard about.  Wait, what is this?  This is all freshly dumped gravel, about 3-4 inches thick.  Plus, the headwind that never leaves.  Who is the sadist that did this to me? 
Mile 190 - Chad:  The group is shattered, lead & follow cars all behind us.  Hopefully, this is the right way, I'm not up for a wrong turn.
Mile 197 - Andy:  Pit stop at end of gravel, group as split and needs to reunite, and refuel.  50 miles to Krebs.
Mile 197 - Chad:  First gravel section is behind us! Stop to regroup, refuel & don't ask Biff how far we have left to go.

6:00 pm - Jason:  200 miles in and gravel, and headwind.
6:00 pm - Laurent:  Aaron and I at the back of the line pushing each other to stay on.
6:00 pm - Paul: A strong headwind has dropped our pace slightly to 22. A few of us are sprinting for city limit signs knowing we shouldn't and will pay for it later. Then gravel, group splits there's about six of us in the lead group with a plan to stop at the end and regroup. A few have packed it up and got in the car. I still feel good, legs are good. 50 miles to Krebs.
6:00 pm - Geremy:  200 miles down.  I’ll feel better now that the gravel is gone and every bounce doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the head.
6:15 pm - Geremy:  Nope.  Pace is still fast, wind is still cooking and my brain and body have checked out.  204 miles and I’m climbing into the truck.
7:00 pm - Biff: Stay away from the riders and don’t talk to them. Headwind, Gravel.
7:00 pm - Laurent:  Got a bit of a second (third or fifth) wind...getting back in the rotation...make it to Krebs! make it to Krebs!

Mile 224, Quinton, OK - Andy:  The return to pavement, refueling of the body, and somewhat of a wind block from trees surrounding Lake Eufala has reinvigorated group.  The pace has increased.
Mile 238 - Chad:  At least the scenery is nice around Lake Eufaula.  Pace is picking up & we can just about taste Krebs.
7:30 pm - Jason:  Headwind and darkness.

Pete's Place, home of Choc Brewery, Krebs, OK - mile 252, 21.7 mph average
8:08 pm - Biff:  Some of the best spaghetti I have ever had.
8:08 pm - Jason:  Remove shoes, eat spaghetti, prepare mentally for slog home.
8:08 pm - Laurent:  Choc here we are!  Shoes off!, seat down for a beer and a good meal....I feel ready again.
8:08 pm - Andy:  Second leg completed, feeling surprisingly good, nice pasta waiting on us, eat way too much, drink a beer. Ibuprofen, knee warmers, jacket, 5 hour energy, front and rear lights, clear lenses on glasses. Katy joins us to help get us home. Back on road.
8:10 pm - Paul: Rolling into Krebs, feeling way better than last year.  I'm getting food and drink every thirty minutes. We've lost a few more, only 6 left with 3 more along to help with work.  Avg is good 21.8 with 150 miles to go and the same amount of climbing as the first 250. 
Mile 252 - Chad:  The goal was arrive between 8-9pm...we did it! Pete's Place really rolled out the red carpet this year! Only 150 miles to go! Headphones in, computer screen dark...NO DATA.
Mile 253 - Chad:  I didn't really eat THAT much but feel bloated.

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Mile 255 - Andy: climbing begins immediately.  Last 150 miles will have almost 7000 ft of climbing.  Doesn’t sound like much unless you’ve just ridden 250 miles. 
Mile 260 - Chad:  Maybe that salad wasn't such a good idea.  Bad acid reflux & heartburn.
10:00 pm - Laurent:  Well, that feeling did not last!  Able to keep up on the flat, but pedaling backward on the uphills.
10:05 pm - Laurent:  I'm no help! I'm only slowing everyone down.  Why am I here again?
10:06 pm - Laurent:  Fuck that gravel hill!  Lights off!  Get in the car!
Mile 260 - Andy:  My stomach starts disagreeing with me.
10:30 pm - Jason:  Great. Who designed this freakin’ route?!?!  Gravel roads, gravel climbs reaching 15%, downhills on gravel in the dark.  This is not sane.
12:00 am - Biff: People are dropping like flies, getting in the car, packing it in.  Brutal.
12:00 am - Jason:  I’m still on my bike.  Only 5 or 6 or 7 more hours to go…
Mile 275 - Chad:  I know I should be eating & drinking but my throat hurts too bad & stomach is still too full.

Mile 290 - Andy:  Surprise sections of gravel zapping energy and motivation.
12:15 am - Jason:  I’ll just start taking long hard pulls to try and get this over with.
Mile 300 - Chad:  Waddell only mentioned there would be one additional stretch of gravel.
Mile 310 - Chad:  Who designed this route, and why are we doing a 400 mile ride with at least 10% gravel?
Mile 310 - Paul:  Mentally doing great.  We stop for a break, fill up bottles, get food, Jason and I take a selfie. Roughly 90 miles out.  More gravel on three different occasions and the hills are steep.  
Mile 315 - Chad:  I should have made a better playlist. 
Mile 317 - Chad:  Sturgill Simpson is great, but maybe not 15 hours into a ride.
Mile 320 - Chad:  Is Paul cracking? Nope, he's psyched again.
Mile 330 - Chad:  What the heck is Waddell doing? 
Mile 331 - Chad:  I'm rolling the dice, this is Waddell's Wheeler Crit big pull before he peels off & grabs a beer & heckles the rest of us.
1:43 am - Jason:  I don’t want to ride my bike anymore.  Get in the van.  339 miles, 16.25 hours is enough. 
Mile 339 - Chad:  Yep, there went Waddell.  Why the heck are we on gravel AGAIN!
2:00 am - Paul: Mentally good, physically not as good. Hills are hurting me. Figure 3 to 4 more hours and the pace to do it in. We continue as a group of three, at this point the avg is still 20.7. Trying to find the humor. 
Mile 340 - Chad:  Don't look at your computer, stop thinking & just pedal.
Mile 340, Maud, OK - Andy:  Pit stop.  All my stomach can handle is an avocado. 60 miles left. Paul, Katy and me decide we’ll stop one more time with 30 miles left for refuel.
Mile 342 - Chad:  Why are we stopping?  Andy wants to strategize...60 miles left, brain says three hours, Andy says four hours...GAME OVER.  I don't want to ride my bike for four more hours.

Mile 360 - Andy:  Katy has taken a monster pull and I tell her to go back to van to recover.  Paul and I press on.  I’m wrecked in the saddle, still good legs when standing up out of the saddle.  Entire body aches.  
3:00 am - Biff:  Directions are hard to follow in the dark (making a wrong turn will piss a lot of people off)….can’t tell where the riders are behind us…make us nervous I think we were the only car that had two people awake.
Mile 370 - Andy:  Paul and I want to stop, follow car is nowhere to be found and we press on.  Paul is a basket case of bipolarism, one minute screaming about how awesome the ride is and the next in the deepest of black holes.
4:00 am - Paul:  30 miles to go now there is 2 of us, me and Andy.  We both finished last year, and I know at this point we will both finish no matter how long it takes. 

Mile 375 - Andy:  Follow car catches us.  We stop.  Peanut butter sandwich and water (stomach has only been able to handle water for the last 60 miles).  

Mile 383, Draper Lake - Andy:  We have just completed the hilliest section of the entire day, 13 miles on SE 149th Street.  
Mile 387 - Paul:  He's killing me up the hills, I'm pushing well over 300 watts. I tell him ease up. I try to help pull for awhile. Not hard just steady. Then comes another dreaded road of hills 104th. I'm pissed, but we're so close. 

Mile 390 - Andy:  Starting to sniff the end, and what little energy is left in my flailing body is on point.  

Mile 400, Oklahoma City, OK - Andy:  Rolling into downtown.  Paul and I fist bump for a job well done, and almost crash.

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Anthem Brewing, Oklahoma City, OK
Mile 403 - Andy:  Horns honking.  Paul and I roll into the parking lot literally on fumes.  Beers and celebration.  We look and feel like death. 
5:30 am - Paul:  Stoked.  Ready to finish, but I'm taking it all in. We finish. Andy has his beer, we get our #okbeermuda finisher shirts. Grab my stuff, go home, eat pancakes.  Gratitude for what I've accomplished and knowing if it wasn't for the support throughout the day, none of it would have been possible.
6:00 am - Biff:  Done and Dusted! 

 

2016 Mission Source Tour of the Southern Highlands – Taking Yellow

By Adam Koble

It’s Tuesday morning, I’m listening to Macklemore’s new album, and I’m chilling in Greenville, SC for the week. I’m still on a high from this weekend, but since a day has passed I can think a little more clearly. My rating for this weekend: 10/10...

When the Team Arapahoe Resources race calendar was announced, I laughed to myself. The second race weekend was a stage race in Gainesville, GA – The Mission Source Tour of the Southern Highlands (formerly Gainesville Grand Prix). Last year it was the first race of my season. I was only living a couple hours away in Asheville, NC and racing for the 706 Project out of Athens, GA. This year, Team Arapahoe Resources drove straight from Wimberley, TX – a short 15-hour drive.

Friday: Downtown Challenge Sprint Prologue

“Who puts street sprints into a stage race?!” was my first thought when reading the race bible. But this was probably the most unique way to start a race I’ve ever seen. The course was on the square in “Gaines-Vegas.” In each heat, two to six racers would line up and start racing on the whistle.  They’d race 200 meters to a 180-degree turn-around, then back through the start/finish, slightly downhill to the last 180-degree turn-around, and back 200 meters to the finish line. The total sprint was about 800 meters.

Out of our six-man squad, five of us made it past the first heat, four past the second heat, and one past the semi-finals into the finals. It was about 40 degrees and we didn’t have any rollers/trainers, so to stay warm I rode up and down a nearby parking ramp. The other guys on the team just back-pedaled while watching each heat from the sidelines.

My first heat went well. I went into it knowing that I’ve got a less punchy, more sustained power than most riders. After the whistle blew, I quickly clipped in and fought for first position before the first turn-around. At the corner, I slammed the brakes, turned my bike 180 degrees around the orange cone, and pushed the pedals as hard as I could. By the time I came back down through the start/finish, I already had a huge gap, so I kept motoring. At the second turn around my rear wheel slid out and I missed the corner. Luckily, I had about ten bike-lengths by that point, so straightened out, accelerated up to speed, and won without much of a problem.

I changed my plan for the second heat, as I was confident that I had the speed out of the last corner to win from second wheel. I went into the first corner in third position, accelerated with the group, then grabbed second position in the last 100 meters before the second turn around. My rear wheel slid out again! The first time I thought I just went into the corner too fast, but this time I was in a line of guys and I was the only one. There was a lot of oil on the road and that’s really the only explanation I can think of at the moment. Maybe once crit season starts I’ll learn how to corner again! I lost the heat, so spun down and watched my teammates.

The final heat was the most exciting race of the night. It was the two fastest guys, mono y mono. Andrew Dahlheim (teammate) and Ben Renkema (Finish Strong) lined up, started, and rode about 4 MPH down into the last turn. Dahlheim (whom we affectionately call “Doll House”) planned to take the first position before the last cone. He told me there was no way Renkema would ever take the first position, so he built the plan around that single fact. In the corner he paused briefly to make Renkema hesitate and loose momentum. The race wasn’t even close. Dahlheim set the tone for the weekend.

Image - A Focus on Light Photography

Image - A Focus on Light Photography

 

Saturday: Merckx Time Trial

The time trial course was well designed. The course was 16.2 km long and featured fast flat sections, rolling hills, and longer climbs. The first 4.7 km was an out & back, which gained altitude on the way out. The “turn-around” at the end of the first section was a 6.8 km loop.

I knew that as with any time trial, pacing would be very important. And as I do before every TT, I got nervous, second guessed myself, and turned to the Internet for support. I read several articles full of pacing advice and other tips that I already knew, and then made a plan for myself.

My plan was to roll out of the start house to the first corner, which was 100 meters later, at an easy pace. I’d get up to a moderate speed and find my rhythm for the first two minutes. After setting my rhythm, I would accelerate, riding under my threshold until the 4 km mark. For the second quarter of the race, I’d simply ride at threshold. In the third quarter, which is typically the point where people loose motivation, get tired, and slow down, I’d suffer through at the same threshold effort. It was my primary focus to maintain my effort. The last quarter was where I planned to go as hard as possible until the finish line.

It took the entirety of my focus to ride as disciplined as my plan dictated. I didn’t have a power meter on my bike, so I rode by feel. I made a point to always stay on top of the gear, and if anything, just go too easy for the first half. All in all, my plan worked out well. I finished 12 seconds down on the winner in 4th place. I was in the perfect position to contend for the general classification. My teammate “Doll House” finished in 7th place, 18 seconds off the winner.

Saturday Circuit:

The circuit race was crucial for us. The course was a 3.8-mile lap, which we completed nine times. There were time bonuses and points for the green sprinter’s jersey on the odd-numbered laps and points for the KOM climber’s jersey on the even-numbered laps. The finish stretch was very flat, but the rest of the course was rolling. The KOM points line was at the top of a three-minute long climb and the sprint points were given at the finish line.

Image - A Focus on Light Photography

Image - A Focus on Light Photography

The team’s plan was to take both jerseys and the time bonuses at the end of the stage. Ricky’s objective was to win KOM points, Julio would win sprint points, Alejandro and Jacob would follow moves, and Dahlheim and I would just sit as GC overall contenders.

The team rode well. We didn’t get as many jersey points as we wanted due to breakaways that were up the road. And we didn’t win the stage. But we did lead Dahlheim out for third on the stage after bringing back a breakaway that had about 40 seconds with one lap to go. 

The GC leader and second place riders both were caught in a midrace crash. Phil O’Donnell (Axeon Hagens Berman) won the stage and jumped into second place overall. Christopher Jones (Kelly Benefit Strategies) took the yellow jersey and the lead of the race. I was sitting in third, and Dahlheim followed closely in fourth place overall.

I was starting to feel a lot of pressure. The next day was the hardest, where gaining or loosing a few minutes was not out of the question.  And although we had two within striking distance of the overall win, I put great expectation on myself to be there at the end. It’s been a while since I got nervous before a race, but I had all the signs – butterflies in my stomach, shortness of breath, and endless thoughts looping through my head at bedtime. I had a beer and went to bed.

Sunday Road Race:

 The road race was by far the hardest stage in the race. At 90 miles long with over 8000’ of climbing, the course would take a toll on most of the riders.

With Dahlheim and I both within 10 seconds of the overall lead, we knew we could win the GC with only the time bonus at the end, but the field was far too deep to take that gamble. The team’s plan was to send a couple guys in the early break so that we’d get a free ride all day. Anyone else on the team who was in the field was to make our job as easy as possible. On the last lap, I was to escape the field at any point I felt like I could stick it. Dahlheim would win the field sprint. Sounded simple enough!

Plan. Execute. Win.

Execution is usually the hardest part. Legs start hurting, motivation goes up and down, focus wavers, and uncontrollable variables play large factors in the race. But on Sunday, we nailed it.

Julio and Jacob went in the early break. And with two guys who could win the race up the road, we were very happy. The pace slowed greatly and it took the peloton a long time to get organized. Throughout the race, Amore Vita, Lupus Racing, and Kelly Benefits Strategies did the majority of the work at the front. The gap went out to over four minutes and thirty seconds on the first lap. Up the road, Julio was taking all of the sprint and KOM points. The team stayed at the front end of the race all day, sitting directly on the wheels of the chasers.

Throughout the day, we kept catching riders from the breakaway. But it wasn’t until 12 km to the finish that we caught two of the remaining three breakaway riders. As they came into sight Dahlheim rode up next to me and told me “This is YOUR race, Adam. You WILL win this.”

We caught Jacob on the KOM climb and he immediately went to the front and started following moves to help out.  Julio had attacked over the top of the KOM and was out solo in front of the peloton. The chasers were motivated now that he was in sight and his catch was imminent, but he was riding as hard as he could to keep pressure off of Dahlheim and me.

Image - A Focus on Light Photography

Image - A Focus on Light Photography

The finish couldn’t have gone better. Every part of our plan worked out. With about 4 km left, the pelotons pace slowed over the top of the climb and I was in the perfect position to hit out. I stayed seated and accelerated up to speed as CCB tried to nail back my move. But I had a gap and I was motivated. As I came up on Julio just after the “3 km to go” sign, I eased up slightly and yelled at him to get on. He had no trouble jumping on my wheel. Since he had been out all day, he wasn’t able to help me push the pace, but I didn’t really need the help. We rolled into the finish line about ten seconds in front of the field taking first and second place. Then to finish off the plan, Dahlheim won the field sprint. We swept the podium on the final stage!

At the end of the day, we had accomplished a lot in only our second weekend racing as a team. Julio took the green sprinter’s jersey, I took the overall, and Dahlheim rounded out the podium in third. We won two of the four stages, and we really started to click as a team.  

Image - A Focus on Light Photography

Image - A Focus on Light Photography

Thank you:

Thank you to Nate O’Neill and Betty Hodges for putting on a great event with exciting race courses and quality fields, Team Arapahoe Resources and all of our sponsors for allowing us to pursue this crazy dream, and our hosts Bob and Patti for putting us up and all of the hospitality.

Special thank you to Coach Christina Gokey-Smith from Cycle Smith Coaching for the past four years of pushing me in every way on and off the bike.  

 
 

Bat City Cycling Classic and Pace Bend Road Race

by Stephan Hirsch

Belgium - home of delicious waffles, beers and the spring classics every cyclist looks forward to, while spending countless hours measured in sweat drops on the home trainer in the rainy, cold winter months. The last weekend of February released those guilty pleasures and an unbeatable Greg Van Avermaet was introduced to the crowds, who’s powerful sprint signalized the difference between yin and yang over the unbeatable Hulk in person of the current world champion Peter Sagan in the season opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Meanwhile 4000 miles west of Gent; the Bat City Cycling Classic (@batcity) and Pace Bend Road Race (@Boneshaker_Proj) opened up the start of the spring classics in the heart of Texas. After completing a solid training camp mostly spent on romantic, unforgiving gravel roads in Oklahoma, we (@TeamArapahoe) looked forward kicking off the season and getting in the first race miles.

Texas has more to offer than BBQ and Willy Nelson. Beautiful weather, idyllic windy roads and great promoters were only a few highlights of the 3 loops via 85, mostly flat miles in the so called office. Bringing a 9 men strong roster to Texas our strategy was, much like in a chess game, to control the race and play our cards in the heated final part of the game. Following moves, staying united on the small gravel sections was essential to protect our designated sprinter Jacob (@jacobW).

Losing bullets in a gun fight is never fun.  And loosing three strong riders in the last two laps due to mechanical issues isn’t either. Improvisation was the keyword and every rider tossed in that little spark of more will and effort which set everyone else in check mate. Having Five experienced riders in the final last 3 miles (@andrewdahlheim, @juliuspadilla, @negropadilla88, @shcycling) enabled Jacob to launch a perfectly timed sprint and ensured the first win of the new season. 

Day two of the racing weekend took place in Pace Bend Park northwest of Austin.  Forteen perfectly paved roller coaster like loops over a total of 85 miles with some gentle hills stood on Sunday’s agenda. Using the momentum from the previous days victory and playing a slightly more aggressive hand was the mantra of the day, announced by the teams masterminds in form of Andrew (@andrewdahlheim) and Alejandro (@negropadilla88).

Be careful for what you wish for. The Chinese knew it better - and only two laps into the race a 17 men strong break away with four of our riders broke away from the field. More than happy with this scenario, the five remaining riders tagged attacks within the field and kept the speed at a moderate pace. Marked from several teams and chased back by the peloton, the race ultimately restarted itself by catching the last troopers of the break with only 2 Kilometers away from the finish line. A small crash in the final and a nearly perfect executed lead out resulted in an excellent 2nd place by Alejandro (@juliuspadilla) who was beat only by the days winner Colin Strickland (@colinatx) from Elbowz Racing (@elbowzracing).

A nearly perfect start of the season for us. What more is to say? A huge thank you! Thanks to all our sponsors (http://www.dnaracing.bike/sponsors/) who provide us top notch equipment and nutrition on and off the bike. To the staff who drove and walked the extra mile to ensure our fun, success and documented the craziness in beautiful pictures.

What’s next? We heard the fried chicken and sweet tea according to Phil Gaimon (@philgaimon) is excellent in Georgia. So make sure to say “Hi” and keep an eye on the current results at the Tour of Southern Highlands (@ToSHighlands). 

Team Arapahoe Resources adds six new racers for 2016 season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Chad Hodges

info@dna-racing.com

Team Arapahoe Resources adds six new racers for 2016 season, including former U.S. national team member Andrew Dahlheim

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 17, 2015) – Team Arapahoe Resources today announced it has added six new members to its original 7-man roster for the 2016 racing season, including former U.S. national team racer Andrew Dahlheim and Grant Koontz, the current collegiate individual time trial national champion from Texas A&M University.

Team Arapahoe Resources is Oklahoma City’s first men’s domestic elite bicycle racing team. The team is managed by Oklahoma City-based DNA Racing. Dahlheim, 27, is originally from Dallas, Texas, and has also raced for Bissel Cycling and most recently for Canyon Bicycles-Shimano. Koontz is originally from Houston, Texas, and currently lives in College Station.    

Other new signees for the 2016 racing season include: Adam Koble, Stephan Hirsch, Pablo Cruz and Derek Cote. Returning team members include: Evan Bybee, Ricky Randall, Jacob White, and Alejandro and Julio Padilla.  

Team Arapahoe Resources competed in 53 regional USA Cycling events during the 2015 season and made 24 podium appearances with 11 first place finishes.

"Our first season helped to establish a solid foundation for Team Arapahoe Resources and allowed our guys to see what we are capable of accomplishing on the national circuit,” Team Arapahoe Resources Director Chad Hodges said.  “With the continued support of our primary sponsor, oil and gas exploration development company Arapahoe Resources, we're looking forward to continuing to raise the bar for competitive cycling in Oklahoma. With our new signees and the strength of our returning team members, we’re confident 2016 will be an exciting ride.”

Team Arapahoe Resources will focus on stage races, road races and criteriums within the national racing calendar, while also participating in local and regional races including those on the Bicycle Racing Association of Oklahoma and The Texas Bicycle Racing Association calendars.

“As a supporter of Team Arapahoe Resources this year we’ve witnessed their successes on the bike, within the local cycling community and with their involvement in the Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic and see the team’s great potential as an ambassador in the sport of cycling for the state of Oklahoma,” Arapahoe Resources President Paul Kloberdanz said. 

Local sponsors also include Celestial Cycles, Vittoria Industries and Elemental Coffee Roasters. The team also receives support from national equipment, clothing and nutrition manufacturers, including: Louis Garneau, 3T Cycling, Selle Italia, Osprey Packs, Tifosi Optics, Kuat Racks, Skratch Labs, Bearded Bros., BB Infinite and Feedback Sports.

For more information about Team Arapahoe Resources and DNA Racing, please visit www.dna-racing.com. 

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Ruts N Guts 2015

A few weeks back we spent the weekend in Tulsa with our friends at Ruts N Guts, a UCI sanctioned cyclocross race.  We had a fantastic time, and threw together a little piece to show the good times had.

Fastest Known Time on the Katy Trail

4:30 am, Clinton Missouri:  The pedals begin to turn in the 20 degree temps.  Pain is immediate, sensations are no good, and I know I'm in for a very long day in the saddle...


A few weeks ago a few of us guys completed an epic 380 mile one-day ride that we dubbed the Beermuda Triangle.  This experience had opened my eyes to long distance riding and I immediately began to search for another ride to feed the itch.  I had always heard of the Katy Trail up in Missouri and how cool it was, but had never ridden on it before.  The 240 mile stretch of crushed limestone trail that extends from Clinton (south of KC) to Machens (north St Louis) is the product of a "rails to trails" program that carries a unique history, and opened officially in the early 1990's.  The many small towns along the route that welcome riders and hikers into their restaurants, hotels and campgrounds, make for a really great riding experience in the heart of the United States.  Somehow I ran into a few forums online that had talked about the Katy Trail FKT (fastest known time), and immediately thought this might be a cool challenge to go for. 

Recovering from a 380 mile ride is a tricky endeavor, and since I'd never done it before I was in new territory.  I limited all my rides to 1 hour or less, ate pretty clean, and tried to get a full 8 hours of sleep every night.  But I still felt pretty tired most days.  I had originally planned on doing the Katy FKT a week or two after Thanksgiving, but the weather was starting to deteriorate and all forecasts looked less than doable for the foreseeable future.   Then I chatted with Biff over a few beers one night, and he talked me into getting it done ASAP.  And he said he'd come along for photos and support.  Done deal.

Western start of the Katy Trail in Clinton, Mo.

The plan:  Begin the day at 4:30 am on Monday, Nov 23.  The time of year meant very little traffic on the trail, not as much daylight, and the weekday meant even less hikers/cyclists on the trail for me to have to buzz by.  Biff and Brett would meet me every 35-40 miles at small towns along the way for support.  Stops would be quick (FKT's are elapsed time which includes your stops).  I would ride my Garneau Gennix R1 race bike with 26front and 28rear tires, tubeless at about 80 psi.  My half frame bag would hold food and tools, and would still allow room for two water bottles.  A behind-the-saddle water bottle cage would accommodate 2 more bottles full of Skratch Labs hydration mix.  I had seriously considered aero bars, but had not spent any time on them so decided against.  My Garmin would last up to 15 hours, and my iphone could handle music through headphones the entire way if I so chose.  Food would consist of rice cakes (rice, peanut butter, eggs, bacon, honey), Skratch Labs cookies, and avocados.    

4:30 am, Clinton Missouri:  The pedals begin to turn in the 20 degree temps.  Pain is immediate, sensations are no good, and I know I'm in for a very long day in the saddle.  The thought ran through my mind "I didn't give myself enough time after the Beermuda to recover".  I knew I needed to start fast in order to stay warm and so I did.  40 minutes in I hit the light on my Garmin and see 290 normalized power.  SLOW DOWN.  I'm warm but my hands and feet are numb.  Legs already ache.

I had spoken with a few people through email in the days before the ride, asking advice on the trail and about it's current conditions.  A significant amount of rain had come through the area a few days before and I was warned that the trail was a little soft in spots with branches and leaves on the ground.  The first 70-80 miles of the trail were a mess.  Dodging branches.  Leaves covering the entire trail.  I even came upon 3 full size downed trees across the trail.  One came up on me at 20 mph before the sun was up, and a last second bunny hop saved my day (and probably my collarbone).  I also think I ran over a rabbit at some point, but can't be sure because I didn't turn around to check.       

First stop in Sedalia

The dark night is calm and cold, and despite my physical worries it's a rush to be cruising through the trees at speed.  I come upon various other runners/cyclists who I assume to be locals getting in their early morning workouts before work.  Biff and Brett meet me at the first checkpoint, 35 miles in at Sedalia and I already feel terrible.  We make it a 1 minutes stop and I'm rolling again.  The trek from Sedalia to Boonville is beautiful, and in my recollection has the most climbing.  Still feeling pretty bad, I roll into Boonville - 73 miles - at around 18.6 mph avg.  New bottles, food, shed some clothing, back on the road, over the bridge of the Missouri River.  And into a headwind.  Not a bad one, but one nonetheless.  And soggy trail.  Not sloppy messy trail, just soggy and soft.  Soggy crushed limestone is hard to pedal through.  It's the difference between 20 mph and 17 mph.  I power through with a few curses under my breath here and there.  I turn off my music, it's annoying me.  

Rolling into Boonville at approximately 73 miles in

About 10 miles outside of Boonville I hit a bump, and snap - the rear bottle cage holder breaks off my saddle.  It's done.  I salvage what I can and move on.  It's around this point that my quads mysteriously begin to ache something awful while pedaling in the saddle.  Every 5 minutes I have to stand on the pedals out of the saddle for 15 seconds to relieve the pain - something I'll have to do for the rest of the day.  I've never experienced this before, and is worrisome in my mind.  I have a couple of ibuprofen in my frame bag, and take them.  The trail is flat and straight and empty and beautiful.  And I want to quit.    

I decided to not wear clear lens glasses at the beginning in Clinton and the cold air did damage to my eyes.  Within 30 minutes I began to have blurry vision.  When the sun came up I put on my sunglasses but the blurry vision continued.  Right outside of Boonville I felt my glasses start to fog.  I took them off to let them vent, but it was actually my eyes that were foggy.  It was so bad I couldn't even see my computer when I looked down at it.  Eventually the fogginess went away, but I'd never experienced the lens of my eyes fogging up so severely. 

I'm having to stop once every 1.5 hours to pee.  It's a balancing act.  I don't want to stop and waste 30 seconds but it's a sign that I'm staying hydrated.  The cold has helped in this area and I'm not having to drink as much as I would on a hot day.  I can feel, however, that my wool baselayer is soaking wet from the sweat.  Rice cake, stand up on the pedals for 15 seconds, switch from hoods to drops, drink, dodge downed limbs, soggy sections of trail.  260 normalized power avg.  I might be quitting soon. 

I roll into Hartsburg (population 108) at about 111 miles.  Frustrated and angry and worried.  I'm not having a very good day on the bicycle.  The previous leg was a tough one physically and mentally.  I contemplate calling it quits and heading home.  My food/hydration is good.  But my body just can't respond.  I can see concern on Biff and Brett's face.  Brett keeps spirits high, moves fast, and gets me set to start back out on the next leg.  The stretch from Hartsburg to Portland will be beautiful continuing along the Missouri River, and I'll finally make a more easterly turn and get a cross tail wind.   Unfortunately my mind can't see the beauty, I'm not even sure I can finish this stretch.  But the trip to Portland was different somehow.  I felt strong-ish.  I spent most of the leg in my drops, aerodynamic, and moving fast.  Turned my music back on, and roll in 10 minutes before they expect me.  They jump out of the car and scramble to get me set to go back out.  Brett tells me I averaged 20 mph that stretch.  It was to be my best 40 miles of the day.  149 miles in, 91 to go.  

Along the Missouri River my Garmin somehow misread my speed.  It consistently showed in the 14-16 mph range on the screen, while I knew (maybe more like hoped) that it was incorrect.  Occasionally it would jump to 18-20 mph for a short few seconds and then back down.  In the end, I assume that the northern bluff line and tree cover along the river blocked gps to the extent that it couldn't read my speed correctly.  But at the time, it constantly screwed with my mind to the point I had to change the screen on my Garmin to stop showing my current speed.  

The mental darkness returns during the leg from Portland to Marthasville.  My legs ache, my back spasms, neck is stiff.  My mind is a mess.  Conflicting voices asking to stop, and demanding to go forward.  Quitting is NOT an option.  Eat a rice cake.  You are behind on drink, down a full bottle pronto.  I begin to feel my rear tire bottom out on bumps, and look down to see it slowly losing air.  My mind can't figure out how far I am from the next checkpoint.  Should I try to make it, or stop and refill the air?  I procrastinate for what seems like 4 hours.  Finally, the tire is low enough that the decision is made for me.  I stop, air it up, and get back rolling.  Around the next bend are Biff and Brett waiting in Marthasville.  189 miles down, 51 to go.

 It's flat as a pancake from Boonville to the end in Machens.  But the long straights of trail give the elusion of elevation.  It constantly seemed like I was going uphill even though I wasn't, and it messed with my mind constantly over the next 9 hours. And the mindset of "flat is easier" doesn't add up on the Katy Trail.  I could count on a four-fingered hand the amount of times I was able to coast during the entire 240 miles.  By the end, I was begging for a hill to climb so I could coast down the backside of it.   

The next leg will take me 38 miles from Marthasville to St Charles and the 227 mile mark.  I am starting to sniff the end.  My body feels like a hammered dog turd, but my mind begins to sharpen.  I know I'm approaching the finish.  I spin through agriculture fields and open space, and a tailwind.  I'm optimistic about upping the tempo.  But in these open spaces comes endless soggy trail.  I curse aloud at the trail, as if it's trying it's best to slow my pace and kill my will.  I curse it over and over.  I yell primal curses in the air.  No one is around to hear it.  My pace slows.  My resolve doesn't.  The sun is dipping low in the sky as I begin to enter the metro area of St Charles.  The trail traffic thickens with people running or riding after work.  I roll into the next check point on fumes and literally stand like a zombie as Brett and Biff put a vest on me, a light on my bike, new bottle in my cage, squeeze 2 GU packets into my mouth, and push me off into the last 13 miles of trail.  

The 13 miles from St Charles to Machens is a blur.  The trail was a mess of leaves and downed limbs.  The sun is gone and darkness returns.  Not once do I look down at my Garmin.  Barely holding on for the end.  I feel as though I'm going 8 mph, but hope it's more like 20.  Mumbling to myself.  How close am I to the end?  I come upon a road block on the trail.  #@$% I've taken a wrong turn, gotta back track.  I turn around and begin to backtrack, when my phone rings.  It's Biff, "You are finished.  That was the end of the trail.  We can see your bike lights, but are stuck at a stopped train on the tracks.  Take a picture of your bike with the Machens sign and then start heading our way."  I pause for a minute, look for the Machens sign that I missed, and marvel at the anti-climactic ending to an epic day.  I take that picture for my pseudo-proof of completion, and start off in the direction of the car headlights.


I set off to break the fastest known time on the Katy Trail, and despite the physical problems I had was able to get it done.  But in the end, I gained so much more than just a silly FKT.  I got to experience glimpses of a beautiful trail in the heart of America, one that I'll soon return to in order to ride on a multi-day trip to enjoy in much fuller way.  I also got to experience a true test of my limits, and to find out what I'm truly made of.  Stubbornness, iron will, resolve - whatever you want to call it - got me to Machens on a day when I probably should have called it quits early.  It was good for my soul, and I found out a lot about myself that day.  I would encourage you to do the same in life.  

239.07 miles, 13:08 moving time, 18.2 mph avg, 13:32 elapsed time, 235 Normalized Power, 10,739 Kj, 41.8 degrees avg temp, Garmin File
Massive thank you to Biff and Brett for taking time out of your life to drive and support a friend in this stupid crazy selfish endeavor.  I am grateful for you guys and your help.  You are a true testament to selflessness, and the definition of what we strive for at DNA Racing.

FULL GALLERY BELOW


#okbeermuda

A few months ago someone had the bright idea of riding our bikes to visit 3 different breweries in Oklahoma.  We would hit Anthem Brewing in OKC (one of our team sponsors), Marshall Brewing in Tulsa, and Choc Beer in Krebs.  We'd call it the Beermuda Triangle, it would be a grand total of 381 miles and we'd try to squeeze it into one day of pedaling...

Fast forward through many weeks of message threads about sore undercarriages, who's going to drink a beer at each brewery, logistics, and wagers on who will make it and who won't.  
Saturday, November 7, at 4 am:
We start off the chilly fall morning with 11 anxious riders.  Aaron has an event in Tulsa today and will ride up with us and stay there.  And Joey can only ride the first 30-40 miles with us, so he gets us rolling and sets pace for the first couple hours.  Once we roll out of OKC, the dark and cold sets in.  It's in the upper 30's.  My choice of clothing is wrong and I'm shivering.  Not the best way to begin 20 hours of riding.  At mile 30 we stop for a natural break and I grab more clothes out of the van.  Back at it.

click for full image views

We begin with 11 from Anthem Brewing

A few hours in and the sun peeking out

Early morning sun as we make way to Tulsa

It's hard to prepare for a ride of this length.  I'm not a big mile rider, so I had done what I could to throw some longer rides into my training.  I hadn't ridden anything over 100 miles in 2-3 months, so last weekend Paul and I rolled 160 on a Sunday and felt pretty good.  Unfortunately that wasn't even half of the Beermuda.

The sun rose at mile 60 and I finally got some feeling back into my feet and hands.  We were clipping along at a decent pace on a somewhat hilly route, as we dealt with a light head/cross wind from the NE.  This early into the ride, spirits were high.  Joking, laughing, playing around.  At 10 am we roll into the Marshall Brewing parking lot.  121 miles, 20.1 mph avg.  Bathroom.  Re-apply chamois cream.  Shed some clothing.  Eat.  Grab full bottles.  Drink a beer.  Chat with guys from Marshall.  Take a picture.  Put lights on charger in van.  Back on the road.

A quick refresher at Marshall Brewing

Still looking good at Marshall, 120 miles in

Ricky persuading them for a second fill

Constant eating and drinking during a long ride like this is mandatory.  Once you find yourself in a deficit in either category, your day will soon be over.  We had all committed to "drinking when you see someone else take a drink" and eating every 45 minutes.  I was trying to drink 3 bottles of Skratch or water per hour, and keep my food intake super high on rice cakes.  The support crew was invaluable to this endeavor.  Drop back to the van, grab a couple bottles and food, then back up to the group.  

Down to 9 riders and the leg to Krebs would be 130 miles, flattish, with a cross tailwind.  I had been staying on top of my feed/drink and was feeling great.  We rolled down the east river trail through Tulsa and eventually made it out of the suburbs.  A couple of mechanicals early had us stopped and I was growing impatient.  The more stops, the more time out on the road.  And stiffness sets in.  I prefer no stops, especially with our support crew available to help and pace a rider back up to the group.  Call me the Stop Nazi, but let's GET BACK ON THE ROAD. 

Ricky and Evan doing the pace setting

Ricky showing Evan his rice cake smile

Way too many stops for my liking

Pete had planned to ride part of the way to Krebs and then help out with support, and at some point he jumped in the van.  The pace was fast and a number of times a request to slow down a bit was granted.  Evan and Ricky had planned to jump in the car at Krebs, and they were taking on the lions share of pace duties.  And they were making us hurt.  At around mile 180 we hit gravel, to a flutter of groans and expletives.  I can't remember how many miles it was, but amidst the disappointment from everyone else it ended up being my favorite section of road of the entire day.  We found pavement again and made a quick nature stop, and I chatted with Biff on his moto.  He proceeds to tell me we are only 34 miles from Krebs.  Doesn't sound right to me - my Garmin says we still have 50, but he's the one with the high end GPS device.  I spread the word and morale hits the roof.  We jump back on the road and start to skirt around Lake Eufala on our way to Krebs.  31 miles later I'm not seeing any signs of Krebs, when Biff pulls up next to me and says "19 miles to Krebs" and drives on up the road.  This marked the start of the darkest hour of the day for me.  I had backed off my nutrition knowing that we'd have pasta waiting for us in Krebs, but I think the mental hit was what affected me the most.  Instead of 3 miles left, we had 19.  Ricky was pulling on the front and I spent the next 45 minutes zoning out on his rear tire.  Tunnel vision.  Darkness.  Just get to Krebs...     

Unexpected and welcomed gravel

Gravel ending, back to pavement

Making our way around Lake Eufala

The team van protecting our backsides 

Sun dipping lower as we inch to Krebs

My darkest hour, the final 19 miles to Krebs

Food and beer was waiting for us at the Choc Brewery.  I tell Biff that I want to kill him but give him a hug instead.  250 miles, 20.9 mph avg.  Ricky gets in the car.  Evan is in the parking lot puking up the 30+ Skratch Labs cookies he ate all day.  Chris gets in the car.  Waddell gets in the car.  I eat ravioli, bread, meatballs.  15 minutes later I'm starving and eat another Bearded Brother's bar.  The longer we sit at Choc, the more I feel like death.  Like a terrible hang over, but worse.  The sun is setting.  Body is broken down and having problems regulating temperature.  I'm freezing.  I put on my down jacket.

It's now Paul, Laurent, Chad and Me.  Oh, and our three saviors Andrew, Katy and Brandon.  They drove to Krebs from OKC to help us with the last leg of the trip, and I could not have been more happy to see them.  From here on out I'll call them the Trifecta.

Pit stop for food and beer at Choc 

Refilling bottles with water/Skratch mix

The crew for the final leg to OKC

Our last leg to OKC was going to be 130 miles, all in the darkness.  Wheels roll.  I still have my down jacket on and am finally warming up.  I drop back and hand it off to the guys in the van.  Pace is good, the Trifecta are keeping us rolling.  But here is where the third and last leg of the trip became the most epic:  I get nauseous and develop a terrible case of heartburn.  Burps and farts, and even a few bouts of retching thrown in for good measure.  Eating is almost impossible, but I continue to choke down rice cakes and cookies because I know if I don't my night will be done soon.  On top of that, we are relegated to riding on the shoulder of state highway 270 for much/most of the way home.  Imagine 270 miles in your legs, dodging road kill, rumble strips, glass and God knows what else rural folks throw out of their cars, with only a 500 lumen light projecting off your handlebars going 40 mph downhill behind other riders who are dodging the same stuff without time to point it out to you.  All in a 2-3 ft wide strip of concrete.  Stressful.  Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the hills.  I had ignorantly not done my homework, and had failed to look at the gps file of the route.  So I had no idea that we'd be climbing more vertical feet in the last 130 miles than we had in the entire 250 miles before.  

At mile 318 Chad tells me he's done.  I yell "Noooooo!!!" but it's too late he's already hit his brakes and is getting in the car.  He had the legs and felt good in body, but his brain wasn't interested in 3 more hours.  Around that same time Paul's knee pain had advanced to the point where he's ready to pack it in.  I tell him he'll regret it if he does, and to drop back and grab some ibuprofen.  He does, and continues on.  Laurent is quiet and I can tell he's in a very dark place.  I tell him that quitting isn't an option but I think he's already resolved to that.  Tough as nails.  

The epic shoulder of hell on highway 270

The epic shoulder of hell on highway 270

Rolling through a small town late night

Rolling through a small town late night

Biff keeping our exposed side safe at night

Biff keeping our exposed side safe at night

The Trifecta pushes on.  They are doing the majority of the pacing.  The hills hurt and we ask them to slow the pace a bit on uphills.  The air is quite cold, and light winds.  My indigestion burns like I've never felt before.  I literally choke down another rice cake and drop back to grab 2 more bottles.  

Anyone who has ever done an ultra distance event (running, biking, paddling, etc) knows the cycle of feeling good, then bad, then good, then bad again.  At first the majority of your feelings are good with small bouts of bad.  The further you go, the more it changes to become the opposite.  Oddly for the Beermuda though, my darkest hour was about mile 230-250.  After that I felt like death when we stopped, but as long as we could keep rolling I felt fairly decent relatively speaking.  

Around mile 320 I started to sniff Oklahoma City.  When you've been pedaling for 16 hours and you only have 3 left, you can begin to feel the end.  At least that is how my mind was working at the time.  We had been sprinting city limit signs all day and now that Ricky, Evan and Waddell weren't with us any more I had a chance to win a few.  We hit Holdenville and I stomped on the gas for the win and post up.  Unlucky for me, it was just the Lake Holdenville sign and I felt like an idiot.      

Shawnee city limits, and morale is stoked.  We even roll by some people parked on the side of the road cheering for us as we pass.  This happens a few times through Shawnee and just east of OKC.  Seems as though they've been following our progress on social media and came out to cheer us to the finish.  Pretty cool, I think.  

Once we hit the east side of OKC, the pace quickens dramatically.  We are all quite ready to get home.  We speed at 30 mph through downtown as the bars are closing and people stand along the street wondering what is going on.  I'm sure it was a weird site to see.  Paul and I sprint the street to Anthem and roll into the parking lot, hug it out, and get off the bikes.  Done.  

In the pour room at Anthem we celebrate.  Hugs, pictures, laughs, beers.  Well, I only had a drink or two of mine.  Heartburn still had me in a world of hurt.  

An epic day like this doesn't happen without all the puzzle pieces coming together:  Incredible support crew.  Photographers - Biff and Andrew - documenting our story.  Breweries opening up their doors to us.  Riders pushing.  This is a day I won't soon forget.

Paul and Laurent at the finish

Finishing crew, #okbeermuda

Post celebration at Anthem

The final numbers

380.8 miles.  20.1 mph avg.  11 rice/bacon/egg/peanut butter rice cakes.  13 Skratch Labs cookies.  7 Bearded Brothers energy bars.  2 pints of beer (Marshall, Choc, Anthem).  67 bottles of Skratch drink/water.  1 banana.  1 unknown rice cake (Lumpy fed me from the moving van, last feed of the day).  Zero flats.  Half a tub of chamios cream.  476 smiles.