The Huracan 300 was a hoot. The best way to describe this race, an ultra endurance mountain bike marathon race. It was unbelievably hard and just what I needed in preparation for the Tour Divide. Races like the Huracan attract only those few brave souls wanting to test themselves in such a way that could be defined by some as masochistic. Central Florida is very deceiving and threw down the gauntlet with obstacles such as: strong head winds, sand in every form, roots, unrelenting pace and yes, climbs. Hard to believe that flat old Florida would be difficult. However, my friends I challenge you to go run the course if you don’t believe me. I’m used to powering up climbs and recovering on the down. The Huracan would have none of that. We were pedaling the entire time and when you thought you could coast a bit, a headwind would sap all momentum. One of the reasons I traveled 16 hours to run this painful wonder was to use it as training for the Tour Divide, so I could practice the self-support mode and GPS navigation that will be required in the Tour Divide. I got plenty of practice with that, let me get that straight. The GPS threw a curve for me as I’m not used to using one in racing. I have been brought up in my racing to only use maps, but in the Tour Divide we are talking 2700 miles and you need to have a back up, thus the GPS. The Huracan had a lot of singletrack and that is where the GPS seemed to have some problems. Navigating through the labyrinth of singletrack caused confusion for Mr. Garmin. Sometimes trails would run along side each other and you wouldn’t know you were on the wrong trail until a half mile or so, which meant turning around and coming back to the junction to rectify the error. This led to me joining with two very strong riders through the night to be safe and compare notes as we navigated the course. Cricket and Jeff were amazing teammates. We had a ball out there in the swamps and sand traps. All of us are doing the Tour Divide, so we bonded on several levels. I originally started off in the lead for the first 30 miles and not being used to the sand and heat, I decided to let the following pack catch me and work together. Local favorite, Rob, made his move and the three of us chased him all night coming close at one point. In the end and after a hard push through the night without sleep, we emerged to the cheering of Karlos, the race director, and his girlfriend on several occasions, which relit our fires and pushed into the finish 300 miles later after 31 hours of non-stop pedaling with a 2nd place finish that is worthy of being recorded in the historical tomes of SPORT, which will be locked in a time capsule and sent into orbit to be found by some extra terrestrial beings. This will confirm the earthly humans ability to suffer and survive under incredible stress. We did see a 9 foot gator swimming in a canal and I swore I heard them rumbling in the bushes at night as we ripped through palmetto laced trails. In the end we covered 100 miles of single track, 100 miles of sandy dirt roads and 100 mile of various pavements. Couldn’t be happier with the result and especially for the first race of the year and for a race of this nature. I only got stronger as the race went on and I feel my fitness is where it should be, actually ahead. Thanks to Karlos for putting on a fun and very inviting race that had the feel of meeting up with your local training partners back home. Thanks to Rob and Dawn for the hospitality for putting me up the night before the race and the shower after. Thanks to Cricket and Jeff for the amazing teamwork to get to the finish and your unbelievable determination. Cheers to all the brave souls that lined up and gave it their best.
We did break the old record by 10 hours, another bonus.
The training has just started, so I must continue on and keep the pedals turning.