Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Race Report: 12 Hours of Santos

Final report for operation catchup! Our newest rider chimes in with his report for the 12 Hours of Santos. Ladies and Gentleman, presenting
, The Boyco's Report....

A Packed Pit Area
The 12 Hours of Santos is Florida's premier endurance event. There are always big crowds, a lot of racers, excellent, technical trails, and the weather is generally nice (if not absolutely frigid). Eric Norris and I wanted to try out a Co-Ed team this year and were fortunate enough to get Josselyn Gutierrez of South Florida and Zee Cakmis of Jacksonville. Both are very fast ladies in the State Series and we knew we had a chance to do well and, more importantly, have a good time.

I've found that It's always going to be a long, stressful week at work whenever you have a big race on the weekend. The more time you need to prepare for the race, the more tasks you'll find yourself needing to accomplish at work. This 12 hours of Santos was no different and after an incredibly stressful week, I managed to leave work early (at 12:45 instead of noon as hoped for) and finally leave the house by 2:30 (instead of straight onto the turnpike from work). My sister and I split driving up the van, which really means I paid gas and tolls, she did all the driving. It was expensive, but was (probably) worth the hour of sleep I managed to get.

Sleeping Arrangements
We finally reached the Vortex Pit around 7, found Eric Norris and the excellent camping spot he snagged for us and proceeded to put up the tent and meet up with the feminine half of our team for dinner. Eric ordered a pasta dish that sounded like an amazing thing to eat, but an awful idea for a pre-race dinner (classic Norris). After the week I'd had, I figured I was entitled to eat something that, despite dubious nutritional value, was going to be healing for the soul.

Yes, it was amazing.

We went to Wal-Mart afterwards to get several missing items and which was actually a lot of fun and involved a lot pointless meandering and cracking jokes. We got back to the Vortex, sat around with a fire and had a beer with the Tall Club (you might know them as the perpetually drunk and speedo'd single speeder crushing it at the FSC series) and shared a few laughs.

We spent a night freezing in the tent which culminated in a very early morning rain shower to prove the tent I borrowed is not very water proof. We woke up, made a whole pack of bacon and a few scrambled eggs before the propane tank ran out of fuel. Hard times.

We got ready for the race and I rode the first few mile of technical singletrack. I immediately got that "this is going to be really ugly" burn in my legs which made me laugh a bit because we weren't even racing yet.

Bikes lined up for hte LeMans Start
The start is a LeMans run up a hill. I lined up at the very front (not sure why) since I am considered the fastest runner of our team. At some point everyone shuffled up about 20 feet immediately followed by Dave Berger of GoneRiding telling everyone to go back 30 feet. Once we settled down, I was (naturally) at the very back of the group.

Dave blew a whistle and we were running. So many people clustered into a tight space plus my position at the very back rendered any running ability useless. I managed to sprint through a few gaps here and there, got to the bikes and stood around uselessly when I realized I wasn't sure where my bike was. Damn, so many bikes on the ground! I finally found my bike, started running with it and attempted to jump on. This part is blurry but I remember actually getting on the bike (second attempt), hearing Joss yelling at me to go while jumping and screaming, and I slammed my knee into the shifter. I got into the trails, and immediately had to slow down due to the heavy traffic. I was slightly annoyed but ended up being happy as this allowed me to ease into the race as opposed to going straight into the red.

Eric Norris
After awhile, it started to spread out and we were finally racing properly. To make a long story short, we raced for the next 12 hours - duh. We were initially top 5, eventually moved out to 8th (or just 7th?) before slowly coming back to 5th. We sat around, eating, enjoying the sun's heat and each other's company, eventually starting up a grill and eating some hot food. My other sister in Gainesville came by and brought a lot of very welcome goodies: Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle, frozen burgers, and some fancy beers.

Mike Boyco
Towards the end, we did some mental calculations and tried to figure out who would race the last lap. Eventually it was decided I would do the last lap. As I stood at the transition area trying not to shiver too much from the cold and thinking about going back to the fire, Norris rolled up and told me he had just passed two co-Ed teams! We knew we'd been in 5th, we might have just made the podium! I took off like a rocket and hoped no one would catch me. You can imagine my disappointment when a member of the Dirt Devo Junior's co-Ed team passed me shortly thereafter like a much faster rocket passing a much slower rocket that is realizing just how slow it is. *Sigh* I guess we might still have 4th. I finished my lap, met my team at the start/finish, chugged the most delicious and refreshing beer ever and proceeded to change out of my sweaty clothes. Later on I realized that the Dirt Devo rider was actually lapping us (damn). Those kids are truly talented and their lap times prove it. Also, I felt better as I hadn't actually lost us the podium; we were never in contention to begin with. We held on for 5th, solidly one lap ahead of 6th, one lap behind 4th, out of 19 co-Ed teams. So, still something to smile about!

We stayed up pretty late, eating, drinking, and trying to stay warm. We laughed a lot and had a great time. The 12 hours of Santos is always a great time and continues to be one of the best can’t-miss races in Florida.

Happy Trails,
The Boyco

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