2015 Powderhorn 24 Recap

Author’s request: please bear with me on typos, etc., my hands are still a little numb/shaky from the poor choice in gloves, so this may have some weird typos in it. I’ll try to catch it all in revisions.

This is a great event and this year was better than last, even with the weather and all the little things that went wrong. And like most 24-hour events, it’s a bit of a crucible — you learn about yourself and grow during the process.


It was hot. Damned hot. Mid-90’s both days, and mid-70’s overnight. With the heat index on Satuday, it was easily 105°F out on the course. In 24 hours, I drank approximately 12 liters of water and 6 liters of Gatorade.

The team composition this year was the same as last — me, Matt, and Ryan. The other similarity to 2014 was that I was the only one who was on-site for the entire thing. Ryan no-showed, and Matt ducked out a couple of times (once to sleep at home, once to grab a drink with his fiancee).

I had a great time, and I put down a TON of laps for my team, so I was feeling pretty good.

The Course

The route is detailed here. The climbing really starts at Checkpoint 2, which is conveniently placed at the bottom of a climb so you lose all your momentum, and then the fun increases on 40th Street with a good climb up to Cedar Ave (short/steep), and then a longer more gradual climb up to 11th Ave.

What Went Right

My fitness was definitely good this year — on Friday night, I was feeling great and was motoring through my laps like nobody’s business. Saturday as the day dragged on, my lap times fell into the 22-minute range, and by my last lap, I was close to 25-minutes. My last lap finished with 10 minutes to go on the event clock, so there was no sprint like last year.

Sleep went pretty well, too, this year. I got a lot (comparatively) on Friday night, when I assumed Ryan would be showing up on Saturday morning, and Matt was supposed to be back at 6 or 7 in the morning. I slept about 4 hours and woke up feeling mentally sharp. The body hadn’t quite recovered, so I had a hard time finding a way to sit and my legs were a little sluggish when I rolled onto the course.

What Went Wrong

  • Teammate turnout, but we’ve already covered that.
  • I forgot a toothbrush, which left me feeling pretty gross all day.
  • Food — I was counting on Taco Cat to have a tent there again this year, and as a result, had to resort to eating some pretty bad choices until I remembered Freewheel’s deli counter around noon on Saturday.

Lessons and Learnings

A day at a 24-hour race is like any other — things will go right and things will go wrong. The only difference is that they’re in much more stark relief when illuminated by a long stretch of physical suffering. The highs are high and the lows are low. But what I had reinforced is that it’s easy to bounce back from small shit.

Repairs Needed

So the ride, overall, wasn’t bad. Overnight, my rear wheel started going out-of-true, and I had that tweaked at the Freewheel location on the Greenway, which was a great excuse to get food, water, and an ice-cold Coke. A few hours later, the front wheel started going out of true and getting worse, fast. The result: busted spoke nipple. Back to Freewheel. Bought some SkratchLabs stuff, which always hits the spot.

There were other annoyances along the way, but mostly I have a short laundry list of things I need to tackle in the coming week or so to get this sucker back into a good place:

  1. Eliminate creak from saddle. (Easy.)
  2. Eliminate creak from front end. (Moderate.)
  3. Tweak rear derailleur adjustment. (Easy.)
  4. Replace bar tape. (Easy, but annoying.)

Nobel Prizes for Awesome

  • The race organizers, for doing it again, and making it great.
  • The guy doing popsicle hand-ups on 40th Street on a hot Saturday afternoon. I wanted to hug you man. You saved my life.
  • The lady doing popsicle hand-ups from the back of a rolling Big Dummy on Saturday late afternoon. That bomb pop was pretty much the best thing in the history of ever.
  • Matt, for pointing out that we need a bare minimum of 4 teammates next year. I agree. I’m going to start planning for 2016 soon.
  • The staff at Freewheel — Gary for truing my rear wheel on-the-spot and getting me rolling quickly. And the other dude, about three hours later, for truing my front wheel and replacing my broken spoke nipple quickly and getting me rolling again.


The system says we finished 39 laps, I thought we only banged out 37. Last year, with three teammates, we did 41, so I’d call it a hell of an improvement either way. (For 2015, Matt did 15 laps, I did 24.)

Next year, I’d like to have a team of six — four riders, one person to handle volunteer duties, and one person to act as a gopher/runner to do support stuff (like go for McDonald’s breakfasts, bring me a toothbrush when I forget mine, etc.), and hell, as long as I’m dreaming, a masseuse on the team would be pretty fucking awesome, too.


Next year? HELL. YES.

I think this is going to be my regular mid-August event.

Anyone know of any photo albums online? Get at me.

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