The Unforeseen Challenge Before The Race
Less than a week before Hoodoo 300, I encountered an obstacle that would test my resilience and determination. Just five days prior to the race, my support crew, who happen to be my wife and son, fell ill with norovirus. It was a harrowing week, trying to balance taking care of them while making sure I didn’t catch the virus myself. The commitment and support of my family were unwavering, and miraculously, we all made it to the start line, a feat that felt like a triumph in itself.
The Race Day: Hoodoo 300 Begins
When I finally arrived in St. George, Utah, the excitement set in as I observed the beautiful, rugged landscape contrasting dramatically with my home in Santa Clarita, California. The race morning had me up at 4:00 a.m., going through a pre-planned ritual to ensure I was physically ready for the long day ahead. And then, at 7:00 a.m., amid an air of nervous excitement, the race was on.
The Initial Ups and Downs
The first few miles of the course offered a neutral start, where I struck up a conversation with Damon Sullivan, another cyclist who was also in for the 300-mile solo non-stop race. The weather was comfortable, but I knew the heat would soon start to rise. True enough, 8 hours into the race, the temperature had reached nearly 90°F.
Struggles Along The Way
By mile 80, I had started to feel the toll on my body. I had fallen behind on my nutrition and hydration, and it impacted my performance significantly. I was forced to make an unplanned stop at my support car to recover. My ambitious goals for Time Station #1 and #2 were slipping through my fingers; I was off by more than 30 minutes on each. Yet, in the face of physical struggle, the breathtaking scenery of Utah reminded me why I love this sport.
Dark Roads and Inner Battles
Post the second time station, I realized that I would be descending through the unfamiliar roads of Cedar Breaks in the dark. The descent was challenging, especially because my hands started to numb due to a combination of the cooler temperatures and my grip. To add to the difficulties, I had a puncture scare but, thanks to my tubeless setup, the issue was resolved without much hassle.
A Bittersweet Finish
The final stretch of the race was quiet, lit only by a beautiful moon that set just before I crossed the finish line. I completed the race in 22 hours and 19 minutes, far longer than I had hoped, but crossing that line was a victory nonetheless. Despite its challenges, it was the toughest yet the most rewarding course I’ve ever ridden.
The Real Heroes: My Support Crew
When we finally returned to the hotel, it seemed my crew was even more exhausted than I was. Their support was unwavering, even in the face of their recent illness and the long, taxing day. I owe a huge part of my completion of this race to their tireless support and encouragement.
I’ve been through many tough double centuries and training sessions—whether it was riding to Mt. Pinos and Cerro Noroeste, or preparing for the grueling Eastern Sierra Double Century—but Hoodoo 300 was a league of its own. I faced several obstacles, from health scares in my support crew to challenging physical and environmental conditions. Yet, here I am, grateful and stronger, thankful for the love and support that got me through, and proud of the incredible journey that was Hoodoo 300.
As the saying goes, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. And what an unforgettable journey it has been!
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