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24 Hours In The Canyon Race Report

June 5, 2013

If you’ve taken your bike in for service at Lamar, you’ve probably seen Andrew Andress behind the service counter. Andrew’s always smiling and always has a great ride story to share. He recently did the 24 hour race 24 Hours in the Canyon in Palo Duro Canyon and true to form, here’s his race report!

24 Hours In The Canyon Race Report

The weather was better than expected for June in Palo Duro Canyon as a cool front blew in the morning of the race keep the temps below 90, and it actually got close to 50 in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The Canyon is so beautiful, and a memory I will never forget is being on my bike to see the sun set on the canyon…and still being on my bike to see the sun come up (2 of my fastest laps were at sunset and sunrise).

On the start line in Palo Duro!

On the start line in Palo Duro!

We had a 4 mile mass road start where myself and Rocky Gingg (winner) began to find our pace and we spent the next 4 hours pacing out laps with minimal stops, mainly just taking a hand up at the end of each 8.5 mile lap. I made a dumb mistake of not putting on sunscreen, and I could tell I was getting fried by hour 4. So I made a longer pit stop to get sunscreen on while Rocky kept going. At this point the sun had really zapped some energy, so I slowed my pace and started taking about 5 minute breaks between laps. As I was doing this Rocky kept his pace and by 7pm he had a full lap on me (I learned quickly how a little time compounded very quickly over a race this long).

I had a great pit crew consisting of my brother Aaron and his wife Brenda. Brenda was busy mixing bottles for me the whole day and into the evening until she had to get some rest for her 6 hour race that started at 6 the next morning (she won!!). Aaron was a great motivator and watchdog for me throughout the whole night. He was keeping a close eye on Rocky each time he came though, timing his pit stops, trying to read his body language, and giving me time splits. And most of all yelling “Get your ass back on the bike!!” At one point about 17 hours in I came through and said I wasn’t feeling so great and he said “Quit feeling sorry for yourself and go ride your bike.” Which was somehow exactly what I needed to hear.

As daylight started creeping into the canyon it brought some fresh energy to my legs. I could feel that my sunrise lap was a solid pace, and I was hopeful that it would set the tone for my final six hours. As I came in for my pit stop, Aaron told me that Rocky had just took off 3 minutes prior. Hearing that was a shot in the arm so I made it a very brief stop grabbed a fresh bottle and two Honey Stinger waffles for “breakfast.” I bolted out and by the 4th mile I had Rocky in sight. He saw me chasing on a long switch back turn, I was really hoping he was fading as I made my attack. But Rocky, being the machine that he is, was able to put the drop on me and leave little doubt that he had the legs to win.

That effort to chase him stole whatever energy the sunrise gave me. I pedaled out three grueling laps between 7:45 and 10:15. My brother gave me a good pep talk and told me I needed to get in 2 pretty hot laps before the 11:40 cut off time to make sure I at least retain my 2nd place bid. I found some energy and hammered out a 48 minute lap which I was excited about and was really looking forward to going all out for one final lap…But the race officials made an unannounced decision that the cut off time would be changed from 11:40 to 11:00. I came through at 11:03 with no intentions of even stopping and I was baffled to hear a race official yelling at me to stop as I was going out for my last lap. Whether I liked it or not I was done.

Andrew (L) takes second in Palo Duro!

Andrew (L) takes second in Palo Duro!

All in all it did not change my position, and there was no way short of a mechanical that I would catch Rocky. I was a little disappointed that I was unable to match his lap count. BUT, I am overall thrilled with my results, so happy to have accomplished every goal I set out for the race. And I am so thankful to God that I was able to compete for the win, and that I have such a great family to help me push through.

I have an entirely new perspective on what 24 hours even means, and I look forward to my next race!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Mike McElveen permalink
    June 14, 2013 9:32 pm

    Way to go, Andrew! Staying up 24 hours is hard enough without racing a mountain bike in Palo Duro Canyon. If you race the four fall TMBRA races you’re going to be amazed how the 24 hour race resets your thermostat. Keep it up.

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