Thursday, January 12, 2012

12 Hours of Amelia Race Report & Photos

Eric N. newest Eclipse Racing team member and blogger here for the race report from the electrifying 12 Hours of Amelia. After a week of bitter cold temps where Julio, stand-in rider Diego, and myself were training on what was with out a doubt the coldest ride of my short career just a few days prior to race day. However, we felt it was necessary for what we were getting ready to embark on. Or I suppose we just don't think things through very well sometimes. Ride first, think second?

The setting on race day couldn't have been better. High 70's to start the day, no wind, and not a cloud in the sky. OK, so the tent is up, coolers and chairs staged, ladies and gentlemen start your engines it's race time! Team drill instructor Eric G. had to unfortunately sit this one out, so Alex (after much deliberation as he was set on racing in solo class), Julio, Diego, and I were ready to rock and roll in Base 4-man class. So keeping the same theme for all endurance races there was the good ole Le Mans style start. This of course didn't bother me at all. Whatsoever. Why? Well, let's just say Alex was unanimously volunteered to start this race for us. Really at the end of the day, I think the Le Mans style race starts are for the mere entertainment of race coordinators. It really is a sight watching 100 guys in cleated shoes, tights, and odd shaped helmets run with serious intent across a gravel road.

All aging & old man jokes aside, Alex (love you Uncle) was able to get us out to a really great start! Through the first lap he found himself in the top ten alleviating a lot of unnecessary catch-up for us and pushed strong knowing the resting periods (beauty of team races) would be enough for him to keep it up throughout the day. With a total of 24 very prepared teams in our class we quickly learned we had no choice but to push it as hard as possible every opportunity we got and that's just what we did! As a team we were slightly anchored by my times even though I personally wasn't losing any spots, just hanging on for dear life not trying to let every one's efforts go to waste. Our stand-in rider Diego put up some very respectable lap times and we definitely enjoyed having him race with us in Eric G's absence. Really and truly, anyone that fills our cooler with cold adult beverages can sway us easily for a spot on the team and the all so coveted Eclipse Racing Team Jersey.

After hours of strategic planning, (sike, just trying to throw off our competition reading this) we had Julio right where we wanted him. Setting the fastest lap of the day for us, Julio was without a doubt pushing us forward and adding on to the great start Alex set-up. For most of the day we hovered around 10-12th place until our conditioning kicked in towards the end of the race. As the sun set, cooler weather set in with a slight breeze & all of our high carb drinks, gels, powders, foods seemed to kick in all at once. At that moment we had found our second wind. One of the fastest night laps in our class set by Julio gave us just what we needed to get into a comfortable 8th position. Post the thrilling night laps, there wasn't one person in our tent who wasn't volunteering to take the place of anyone not willing to go. We all agreed the night laps were some of the funnest laps we've done to date! We were able to hold on to 8th and finish the race there all holding our heads high. Quite an accomplishment considering my short time racing and with Eric G. out. This is just the beginning for 2012! Per our pact as a team, expect us to make some noise this year!

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