This recap of my second ultracycling race, the Hoodoo 300 in August 2018, was originally posted on the Tucson Masters Cycling website shortly after the event. Its been expanded a bit here and some additional photos and retrospective observations added. Hoodoo was a great event and experience, and was the catalyst for re-energizing my dream of attempting RAAM someday.
Leaving Panguitch (156 miles), there is a tough little climb as you gain 2000′ up into the mountains heading toward Duck Creek. Bill Packard (Phoenix) and I must have passed each other 6 or 8 times through here as we both suffered a bit and had to stop for food. Bill had been hovering 3 minutes up on me most of the last 160 miles
Turning left towards Mammoth Creek, we joined the Tour of Utah Stage 2 route. I picked up a baggie of potato chips from my crew, and started down the Black Rock Canyon descent, named for the young lava flow defining the left side of the road. I was in a rush by this point, hoping to summit the top of Cedar Canyon so I could descend into Cedar City before dark. Descending Black Rock Canyon at 35-40 mph, eating potato chips, I looked to the left and there was the cliffs in Bryce Canyon, brightly lit with the red sunset across a huge meadow with a herd of antelope! Epic… 180 miles, 11 hours on the bike, descending into the evening, 57 years old, still moving well and feeling good, wildlife, awesome scenery. That made the top ten list.
The crew finally arrived, more bottles, more snacks, and I headed out solo, while they crew got gas, and had the most delightful time blasting down the gentle descent toward Newcastle. This was the first moment where I was really certain I had this-I would finish. Soon, the radio announced the crew had rejoined, and they took up follow, with twin orange lights on the roof, and the slow moving triangle. Oddly, Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk” popped into my head. It would become a bit of a touchstone keeping me rolling through the night, over the final two climbs, and back into St. George. It’s a great little tune.
Looking back, Hoodoo was a great confidence builder. Finishing my first 300+ mile seemed to most be to an audacious goal. I remember telling a racing friend of mine who said it "seemed like too much", that if it did not seem like too much, it would not be what it is". Planning, preparation, and execution led to a successful ride. My original plan to do Hoodoo 500 in 2019, RAW in 2020, and RAAM in 2021 was accelerated as a result. Now the goal is RAW 2019.
My RAW Story, Day 47. 165 days, 17 hours to RAW 2019.
My interest in ultracycling dates back when I first started seriously riding a bike in college in the early 1980s. This is my RAAM story preparing to compete in the Race Across the West in 2020 and RAAM 2021.