Powderhorn 24 2012 Race report

This year I competed in the Powderhorn 24 (2nd Annual), a community bike race in a checkpoint format around south Minneapolis. Approximately 275 bikers, 12 unicyclists. I have to start with how fun this thing was. Great. I cannot wait for next year. And at 15 dollars to register including a shirt and breakfast, as cheap as a big race will be.

Logistically, the race featured 3 checkpoints to hit around the city, then return to the start/finish before hitting the next lap. The checkpoints could be reached by any streets desired, but had to be hit in order. Teams could be 1-6 riders. One rider on the course at a time, how many laps can you do in a day (7pm-7pm). The lap was just under 5 miles and included any and all normal traffic/lights/pedestrians (No closed roads). The start finish was on the greenway, a rail to trails path that’s cut a story deep into minneapolis that doesn’t have any motor traffic. There were also bonus points at certain times durring the race, some on the course and some slightly off the course. Things like writing a poem about the race, posing for a picture as neptune, scoring a goal playing bike polo, taking a community rental bike for a lap, and doing a bit of yoga.

We had 3 uni teams. The power team “All Wheel Drive”, featuring Scott Wilton, Dave Krack, Dan Hanson, and myself. The underdogs with a chance team “Those Guys with One Wheel”, Joe Lind, Elijah Parker, and Rob Muellerleile. And the Lets have a lot of fun and see how this turns out team “Balance in Powderhorn”, Garrett Macey, Connie Cotter, Dani Chevalier, Ben Khoeler, and Roger Magnuson. Yes, I might have stacked the teams a bit. Yes, I think everyone had a good time anyways.

Coming into the race I was pretty worried about dissappointing my teammates. 2 weeks ago I was in to the doctor for an infection on my leg that made it difficult to walk or stand or ride or sit without pain. I hadn’t ridden my coker at all for the first 2 weeks of June. I was sure I was going to let my team down. Thursday morning Dave got into town and my team went for a training ride around the course, totally about 22 miles. We talked strategy, nutrition, and did a little sight seeing. At the end of the ride I felt okay, like I wasn’t about to torpedo the team.

Friday rolled around and Scott, Dave and I showed up to check in around 4, then went grocery shopping and had dinner. Dan and most of the other unicyclists pulled in around 5:30 and we hung out until the start. Dan pulled first lap, and came back in an impressive 22 minutes. Scott was out next, with an impressive 18:30 lap. Looking at the map while Scott was out I realized that the suggested route had a little more elevation change than was ideal, and so suggested a route change to my team. Dave opted for the suggested route for his first lap (~24 minutes). I tried it out and was very pleased, but still only pulled in a ~24 minute lap. As the laps rolled on I think we converged on a preffered route, one that I didn’t see a single bike take. I got passed frequently and quickly about 3 blocks before the divergence and almost as frequently saw the same people at the checkpoint, 7 blocks after the split. Every time that made me feel good about my route decision. Dave was told after the race something to the effect of “Man, I followed those uni guys every time. They’d always turn off somewhere and Bam! skipped all the hills.”

We rolled the same order, switching every lap through the night. Scott consistantly pulled down 19-22 minute laps, Dan pulled 21-23, and Dave and I were solidly in the 23-25 minute range. This gave us about an hour and ten minutes off every lap, which worked well. I didn’t sleep. Scott pulled our only double around 6am because he felt great from a 10 minute yoga break. 7:00, Breakfast. Waffles, Yogurt, Granola, meat/cheese, fruit, juice. It was amazing not to have to worry about it. Around 9 Dan had to leave for the day, so from 9am-6pm we ran a simple Scott, Dave, Me rotation. This cut us down to about 42 minutes off between laps. This felt too close to me, but we all continued to pull the same lap times. From 10-1 we had to work the computer updating the online scoreboard, and we swapped out on that too. Ride, 5 minutes off, work the checkpoint until the next rider was back, get ready to go.

Around 1:30pm I saw the only close call of the race, a bike passing at about 18 miles an hour and turning to chat with me almost took out a pair of pedestrians. I yelled pretty loudly when I saw it, and it was a 3-4 inches from disaster. I caught up a quarter mile later after the turn around to chat with the biker, and she was still amazed our bad-assery. She seemed a little shaken.

Around 2:30 I finished our 50th lap (250 miles), and with 4 and a half hours left we realized that if we kept pushing we could hit 60. We kept pushing. Around 4 we realized we could hit 62 laps, we really kept pushing. Dan was back when I came in from my final lap around 5:45, and I was excited to send him out on our lap 60. Dan finished our final lap, #62 (a little over 300 miles), about ten minutes before 7.

One thing that our team did was not pay any attention to how many laps each of us had done. The whole time through all I heard us talk about was how many laps we had done, not each of us had done. It was only after the fact that Scott figured the total milage, he did ~95, Dave and I did ~82, and Dan did the rest.

During the awards we all got called up to the front for some appluase, and the same prizes that winning teams won, A growler and some champagne. They definately invited us to have our own category next year, and I’m going to do my damnest to make it happen (with the people for it, too).

Results: http://lapper.herokuapp.com/leaderboard

Pictures in the Post your latest ride thread: Pictures of your latest ride

Final group picture (and others in the set, among all the others)

And finally, I feel much better about my next 24 hour race coming up, the MN 24: Minnesota 24 Hour Race, Redwing Minnesota.

PS. I hope Scott, Dave, and anyone else who rode will add to the thread.

Fantastic! Great format for a 24 hour event. Congratulations on passing 300 miles :slight_smile:

Great effort. Well done.

Wow, that sounds like a really fun event! Congrats on all of your groups’ success. I would definitely enjoy an event like that if it were around here.

Hopefully I can get some pics up later.

Great write up Max!

I did have 2 close incidents during the race- 1 with an indecisive squirrel, and one with a lady who nearly was gone with the Schwinn. She pulled out about 200ft in front of me, moved to the far right of a wide road, and cut hard across about 2 lanes worth of said road into my path. A quick dismount and run out saved the day.

A huge thanks goes to Max for pulling this together!

A huge thanks to Scott for lending me his ungeared 36 with 100s.

A huge thanks to Dan for lodging.

ALL the uni riders did a tremendous job. The Twin Cities unicycling natives and immigrants are an awesome crew.

One last thanks: The organizers of the Powderhorn 24 did a tremendous job of making the race fun and competitive. It really struck a balance between the two. I likened the race to a polite 24 hour alleycat. We were on open roads the entire time so the racing isn’t for every unicyclist, but those who are good at riding in traffic found it to be a blast.

Excellent report. I was one of the bicyclists in the race, and it was always a bit of a morale boost to see you folks doing this event on unis. Not sure why, but it really was.

I got to see a couple of events at nationals here in Madison last year, but it was still amazing to watch you mount and dismount those things, not to mention the mad skillz on display while riding them. Coming off-road from 11th into the start/finish CP for example. A little disappointed that I didn’t get any good photos of your crew, but hey, I was a little busy myself!

Kudos from me also to the organizers of the Powderhorn 24. It was my first 24-hour race and was an absolute gas. Hope to see you all there again next year!

Michael Lemberger
Madison, WI

Max, great report! Man that sounds like a fun event. Congratulations big time to your team riding an amazing 62 laps. And Those Guys with One Wheel knocked off 50 - and Balance got 48. None of the uni teams were anywhere near last place - very nice.

I love 24 hour racing but have never done one with laps as short as this or on road. That is a great rule having just 3 checkpoints and leaving the route up to you. I did a sailboat race like that once.

Nice work on the 100 miles in a blazing fast time Scott!


Admitting you have a problem is an important first step:). Now just lose that other wheel and your all set! Our boys must have made quite an impression for you to sign up with us just to let them know. Welcome! You live in a popular city for unicyclists. Show up for the next club meeting and I’m sure they would loan you something to try and ride. Get into it!

Nice write up Max!

Yes, I was impressed. I was pacing one of the unis down 11th at about 11pm and was surprised to look down at my GPS and see ~20mph. Pretty cool…

It’s also funny you invite me to join the herd, because a couple of my neighbors were the organizers for nationals. One of them just learned to ride at age 51, so I may just give it a shot at age 44. We’ll see!

In either case, I firmly believe that 1, 2, or even 3-wheel geeks can live together in peace :slight_smile:

Super thanks to Dave for coming out, and To the organizers and everyone that worked us seamlessly into the race.

Nathan, Thanks for fetching the other teams’ scores, I meant to do that.

Things I need to do next time:
Invite more people!
Not try to sleep, it just won’t work.
Pre-make the peanut butter sandwiches, make some grilled cheese.
Not ride offroad the next day, that was a mistake.