I had an absolute blast at PIR for the 10th Annual Human Powered Challenge. I have never raced before and it is a lot of fun racing on a recumbent lowracer. The two events I enjoyed most were the 5 lap (~10mile) Time Trial and the 1 hour mass start Road Race. The picture above is me chasing Joe on the straightaway, I was unable to catch him though a mechanical issue did sideline him later.
The time trial was more about solo effort just hammering away on the course to get your best possible time. The road race was more interesting. It was set up to be a 15 lap course for the leader, estimated at roughly 1 hour of time. Once the leader finished 14 laps we were all given the white flag to indicate our final lap had started.
The start was cool, we all spread out at the starting line, the count down started and we shot off the line. I darted out right away, the small drive wheel on my raptobike accelerates very well. I had the lead momentarily for about 100 ft, Michael Wolfe and Phil came by me on the outside, they were hammering away fighting the headwind. I was unable to latch on to them, they dueled the entire race finishing within 1 second of one another. Rob English screamed by on the outside as I was watching Michael. The Kohan father and son team must have passed me at this point but I didn't see them. The headwind right out of the start point was hurting me so I latched on to Jeff Willis and Todd Harley on their front faired LWBs. Jeff was pulling so I just joined the train. I had my heart rate monitor on but wasn't watching the data during the race, instead I was just keeping an eye on my speed. But looking at the data afterword I can see exactly when I passed Jeff. Jeff bonked at around the 3rd lap, he had been riding with the Velomobiles earlier and hadn't eaten or hydrated well. I pulled hard to catch up to Todd as he had pulled away while I talked to Jeff for a second.
I pushed hard to catch up to Todd and really enjoyed the relief from the wind when I got behind him. We stuck together for one lap and I then pulled away when rounding the corner into the straightaway. The raptobike accelerates on turns so I used it and Todd and I rode side by side passed all the observers waiting at the start of lap 5. From this point onward I was on my own. Startle caught up to me on the backside of lap 5 putting a 6th person ahead of me. I wasn't able to keep up with him on his Fujin. I tried for a bit but he was too strong and pulled away. I kept an eye out for targets and focused on the next target and catching up as I raced. Trikes, Faired LWB (though I never saw Jeff or Todd again), one VK2 with a tailbox, all fell behind. I got passed a few times by Rob English and by Michael Wolfe and Phil. I was very talkative, I said a word or two as I passed people and always shouted something out to Lonnie as I passed him at his corner position on the far side. I screamed, grimaced and performed as I passed the spectators. I wanted their encouragement as it really helped me push myself.
Around lap 10 the Kohans caught up to me a second time, they rocketed by but I managed to push myself to latch on for 1 mile (1/2 a lap). They were organized and were sharing pull duty as we turned into the wind. I lost them as we entered the straightaway just before the start line. I was surprised at the end as I saw a couple of trikes to pass that I hadn't seen before. These guys were hammering away on three wheels. Very impressive riding but I managed to reel in all the trikes before I finished the course. In the end I finished 7th in my class with a time of 1h:05m and 13 laps.
I have caught the racing bug and now need to work on my diet and training more. This is a huge amount of fun that I recommend to anyone.