When I first heard about the Powderhorn 24 race, I was really excited because I had heard so many good things about the race it was modeled after, Riverwest 24. I wasn't too keen on racing solo (there were categories for Solo Male, Solo Female, Team- Male, Team- Female, and Team- Coed) so I hooked up with Charlotte and we had a two-WTF team!
Race: You must stop at each checkpoint in order, getting a stamp on your manifest for each stop. You want as many punches/ laps on your manifest as possible at the end of the 24 hour period,while only having one team member racing at a time. To keep it fresh and to earn bonus laps, there were rotating bonus stops around the Powderhorn neighborhood, usually at a cool park or neighborhood business or organization.
Strategy: I think most teams had 5 or 6 people (you were allowed up to 6) so Charlotte and I didn't think we would be very competitive with a team of only two. We went into the race with the idea that we would ride hard, but non-competitively. We had never done anything like this before so our official plan was to "ride until we get tired," and then switch off. Other teams had spreadsheets to organize the times that they rode, but because we were traveling light with two we just winged it.
Spirit: The spirit of the race was what made it so special. PH24 wanted to get everyone in the community to come out, meet your neighbors, and cheer for friends on the race course. It was like a 24-hour block party! People were out cheering and supporting and encouraging us for all 24 hours! Casa de Grease Rag was on the course, and we had a tent city in my front and back yard. My neighbors noticed and came over to tell me... that they thought it was really cool and they wanted to know more about the race! So cool. Volunteers- you are beams of sunlight in the dark. Thank you for punching my manifest and feeding me pretzels and watermelon as I rolled through your stops. You are my heroes.
Our race: Team "Can't Catch This Snatch" started out with the mindset to non-competitively "participate", but that morphed into Charlotte and I riding as hard as we could for most of the 24 hours. Benefit of a small team: you get to ride more! Pitfalls of having a small team: you are pretty wrecked after 24 hours.
We did short, one-hour turns in the beginning, then started taking two-hour shifts so the other person could rest, and then we took some 3 hour shifts around 2-6am. 4-6:30 was my hardest shift. I just felt like it would never end! But something changed after my 3 hour nap, and by 11am I was fresh and ready to rock. The last few hours we were doing "hot laps"- We would trade off every lap, trying to maximize our resting and biking time. It was great!
Heart: I saw families racing together, solo riders and team riders pushing themselves, and even after we found out that Can't Catch This Snatch was the only all-female team, we never gave up trying to ride our legs off. Sure, we won our category by default, but we felt like winners, regardless. The dedication to the event that the organizers and sponsors (Freewheel!) showed was pure heart. Thank you for working 36 hours straight and organizing and executing everything perfectly for the very first PH24. See you next year!
Congratulations to all of the riders out there. Whether you participated non-competitively, or pushed yourself to the limit. You made this race a RACE!