Our own Nancy Guth went out this weekend and won the 24-Hour Bike Challenge in Michigan with a 349.5-mile ride. It was her second consecutive championship and she surpassed her 340-mile ride last year. Chris Ragsdale, a randonneur from Seattle, set a new men’s overall record with 502.6 miles. To read more, click Here
June 21 Update: Nancy’s Story
We are back to work, home safely after the time of our life in Michigan ! We (John, me, Marta, our Marine Captain daughter, and her friend) drove last Thursday afternoon to Ohio, then left early Friday morning for the race site in Michigan (Middleville). We arrived at 2:00 PM, set up the van at the BEST site for race strategy (good sites are hard to get, it is all in the timing). Then while John tuned up four bikes the girls went for food, made sandwiches (10 for the next 24 hours) and chatted with many friends arriving. Then dinner and to bed in the tents we set up at race headquarters. With over 300 tents and RV’s, it is like a huge playground.
The sun came up early, I was trying very hard to rest but was so nervous, it was hard. Breakfast, dress for a 24 hour stretch, and it was time to get on the bike. I was called to the front (over 400 riders from all over the world) and had the huge honor of leading out as number one. What a thrill to have 400 of the strongest racers in the ultra world behind me…felt like Tour de France winner (mmm, that may not be appropriate)…
It was HOT, bright sun, high 80’s, and very humid Michigan weather all day. I was praying for a cloud or some rain, anything to cool me off. John and I rode the first loop, 121 miles, steady and moderate. We finished the “big” loop at 2:30, and started the intermediate (23 mile) loop by 2:45. We rode two intermediate loops, and John felt it was time for him to rest to prevent another nausea bout. It was so hot, he was feeling weak. He rested with some ice packs, and I went on for another 23 mile loop. I then did one night loop, for a total mileage of 200 by 8 PM. At that time, john came back on the bike and joined me, for a warm evening ride. The night loop is 7.5 miles, and we continued in a big square all night. We disciplined ourselves to only stop after every three laps, which kept us focused, but also gave us water and coffee breaks.
By 3 am I was getting weak, and I stopped for about 10 minutes and sat down in the van. BUT, other riders were going on by, and I did not know where the other women were, so I got up and left John dozing for a few minutes. I found Bill Smith and rode two laps with him, and then John returned feeling strong. Even the night time was warm; for the first time in 10 years, I raced in a short sleeved jersey all night. I never took off my bike shoes until 8 am the next morning. John and I crossed the finish check point for the last time at 7:50, and I jumped off to see my brother (he drove from Colorado with his family). I was incredulous that I won over all High Mileage (female) with 349.5 miles. I was thrilled, with John, daughter Marta and my brother and family from Colorado at the award ceremony. What an honor!
Monday afternoon got back to Virginia, eager for Marta to see her little boys, and our grand kids! Marta had wanted to race with her Mom before she turned 30; she will be 30 in August so she was running out of time! She did one big loop, one intermediate loop and three night loops before retiring visiting with everyone, and a few hours sleep. She is an active duty marine, with two little boys under three, so has little time for cycling training. She had a wonderful time and can’t wait for next year!
Ride Safe, take care, and I hope more of you can join us next year!