Just getting around to posting my final notes about the 2009 Tejas 500.
At the request of my crew, I ordered a couple more batteries and chargers before the race. Rob at DiNotte knew I’d had problems mounting my 600L on my road bike with aero bars and called when he got my order and offered to upgrade it to an 800L for about the same price. The 800L is awesome. Not that the 600L isn’t bright, heck I rode ROF with a 400L, but the 800L is amazing. I felt like I had to dim it for approaching vehicles. The new quick mount is much simplified and improved. Why anyone attempts a 24+ hour bike race that doesn’t allow following car support with cheap lights is beyond me, but there were several riders out there with nice bikes and poor lighting. I will and have raced on an old bike before I will race again with poor lights.
Because there was so much traffic on the course, (Honestly more traffic than anywhere I’ve ridden all year. I felt like I was riding on the freeway.) I left my 400L taillight on flash mode all day to help make myself more visible. I use it on almost all my training rides. As other cyclists have said, if a driver hits me at least I don’t want them to be able to say they didn’t see me.
For MTB racing I need a headlamp, but find it unnecessary on the road so to save weight on my neck I did not use a DiNotte on my helmet. Instead I installed a Knog Frog. It was perfect; enough light to see my HRM, bottle cages and drivetrain, with negligible weight. I know it sounds silly, but during the ROF I actually had problems getting my bottle back in the cage at night with only a handlebar mounted light. The disadvantage to this setup over using a DiNotte 200L or 400L on my helmet is no backup light. If my handlebar mounted light had failed I would have been left with the equivalent of a mini mag to limp home with.
Drymax sent me some socks to try at the first of 2009. At the time I thought I was going to be running more. That didn’t happen, but the mini-crew Sport and Sport Lite Mesh have become my all time favorite, hate-to-ride-without-them, road biking socks. I don’t sweat a lot so their moisture wicking capabilities aren’t as important to me. What I think is great is that they fit perfectly with no lumps or bumps. After several hours any imperfection in a sock will start to irritate my feet and I’ve had absolutely no issues since using Drymax.
I’d won some Smith Optics Redline Max sunglasses earlier in 2009. Fashion-wise the red mirror lenses wouldn’t be something I would normally wear, but my other glasses were really hurting my ears so I tried the Smiths. Ah relief!! Much less pressure on my ears and they stayed in place better too. The super dark lenses were also a great relief for my eyes. Way to go Smith! Redline Max are probably the most comfortable pair of sunglasses I’ve ever owned. Now I just need some clear lenses so I can use them at night.
I will never again underestimate the value of warm food during a long race. Jen used a Coleman stove at Targhee and ROF this year and my mid-night pasta and soup entrees were always warm. That made them much more palatable and rejuvenating. It was nearly impossible for my mom to keep any food hot using thermoses and a microwave in a 3rd floor hotel room a mile away.
I picked up a slightly used Hobitat 6 at the REI garage sale for 100 bucks. It was good to have a tent with plenty of room for sleeping, sitting and storing gear. It was so humid and cool at night that everything not in the tent was covered with water.
For the most part, I enjoyed the course. It was very well marked; no cue sheet required. Not only were turns marked, but so were large potholes and other road hazards. The pavement was also clean. It seemed that the director and/or volunteers had spent some time clearing gravel off the road. As I mentioned above, there was lots of traffic; especially Friday morning. We were riding on fairly narrow roads and it was not unusual to be passed, in either direction, by vehicles going 80-90mph. (My guess based on assumptions that most of the slower traffic was traveling close to the speed limit.) The drivers were very considerate. I think only one vehicle in 40+ hours did not give me at least half a lane when passing.
I did have one weird experience. A half-full can of beer was thrown at me from the patio of the Storiebook Cafe about 2am. Fortunately their aim was off. The Storiebook had live music earlier in the evening and a big sandwich sign out welcoming the TT riders so it was doubly strange to have that “greeting” from their patrons.
That’s it for 2009 races. I may do a brevet or two in New Mexico before the year is over, but mostly I’m just happy to be home for awhile.