GrassMoots rider Dave Gensch has the enegy of a man half his age. He just never seems to stop racing and riding no matter the season. Just when we think he might be done for the “season” he rattles off another 12 or 24 hour race. Always the diehard. He writes in this week on the 12 HOURS OF PENITENCE……
I was not far into the first lap when I realized what a struggle the day was going to be. My energy was good, but my lungs felt full of fluid and my legs were empty. I had raced this race two years ago and felt confident in repeating 5 laps and maybe even shooting for a 6th. It was quickly evident that 4 might even be a struggle.
Penitente Canyon used to be a rock climbing weekend road trip for me in high school, so it is always a treat to come back to this special spot. I showed up a day early and was able to relax and set up our camp. The night was cold enough to freeze the dog water and I was glad that Amy and our boys spent the night in a Buena Vista Hotel.
The 17+mile course is quite “Western”! With almost no double track, the very technical course climbs just shy of 2000’ of vertical each lap and the down hills bring no reprieve or rest. Each lap takes just shy of two hours and gives little opportunity to re fuel. By mid morning the forecasted winds started to increase as the pace out on the “prairie miles” decreased.
Amy and the boys showed up, and with Jeff, did such a great job of keeping freshly made food ready for me each lap.
By mid afternoon my already empty legs protested each pedal stroke and the head wind eroded what was left of any positivity I had. There just simply was no chance of a 5th lap this year which did not sit well with me after Jeff and my family had come all this way to crew for me. Fortunately, the up to 30 mph wind gusts crush all of us, and I was able to pull out a third place finish.
Some events have more magic, some have more perseverance, and sometimes they are just a pure struggle from start to finish. I might have had a fleeting moment inspiration or excitement but it would be counterfeit to expound upon them. Jeff, you rocked it as always and Amy and the boys, thanks so much for hanging out in the cold and wind. Nic D and the Aloha crew, you guys saved my race and thanks to Moots and Stio for all their support.