John and Ann racing in Borrego Springs, CA during the 24-hour World Time Trial Championship. After covering 433 miles in 24 hours, the tandem duo of John Jurczynski and Ann Rasmussen won the age 50-59 mixed tandem category.
John’s Race Report:
Ann and I had a fun and successful racing experience in Borrego Springs, CA at the 24 Hour World Time Trial Championships, a non-drafting event. This course has been hosting the 6-12-24 Hour World Championships since 2011. We rode well and broke the tandem course record by 117 miles and won the overall tandem division with 433.2 miles. Granted, there were only four tandems in the 24 hour race, but we managed to finish more than 100 miles ahead of the second place tandem. We estimate that we finished the first 12 hours with about 240 miles, a number equal to the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association’s (UMCA) mixed tandem record. The event started at 6 p.m. which meant the first 12 hours were completed at night. Borrego Springs happens to be a designated dark sky community, so we needed good lighting to get us through the course safely. We were warned that if you went off the road, into the soft sand, odds were good that you would be going down. Given that my nighttime vision is less than perfect, we stayed clear of the road’s edge, avoided a crash in the first mile and were very pleased with our nighttime mileage. We calculated that if we could maintain or go even a mile or two per hour slower than our nighttime pace, we had a shot at the UMCA mixed tandem 24 hour record of 454 miles (FYI, “official” UMCA records are required to take place on a surveyed and certified course. This course was not certified.). Unfortunately, the second 12 hours turned out to be more about survival than racing. This time of year, our training is limited due to our work schedules, no local group rides and less daylight. In addition, for over a month, training temperatures have been cool to cold. As the sun came up in Borrego Springs, around 7 a.m., the temperature quickly rose from the mid-50’s to about 90 degrees for most of the afternoon. The heat, and probably under training, took its toll on us to the point that it became hard to put down enough calories and stay hydrated enough to perform as well as we were earlier. Ann and I compliment each other very well on the tandem. For example, she is a more natural hill climber and I am better on the flats and rolling hills; Ann generally performs better in cooler temperatures and I do better in the heat, etc. Due to the 90 degree temperatures, Ann suffered more at the end of this event, but amazingly stuck it out to squeeze in the extra mileage needed to crack 430 miles. We had to ride very hard for the last hour to accomplish this. As a result, at the finish Ann was very light headed. She worried that she might pass out and make a scene at the awards ceremony. Hence, our only regrets for the weekend were that our trip to Borrego Springs was too short and that we had to miss the awards ceremony. We wanted to spend more time with the other riders, and friends we have made over the years, and to be at the ceremony to thank Fred and Rick Boethling (the owner and executive director of Race Across America RAAM) and their team for putting on such a well run world class event. We also wanted to be there to applaud the other competitors. There were many world class endurance athletes at this event, including four 24 hour cycling world record holders. Seana Hogan, 6 time RAAM winner, set the womans course record at this event and Christoph Strasser, 3 time RAAM winner and RAAM record holder, smashed the mens solo course record. It was truly a pleasure to be on the course with these folks and all of the other like minded riders out there. John & Ann