Testing the new bikes

May 1, 2008

The new bikes are finished and ready to race! We decided to build them up and do a "test race" on them immediately (as in the next day). We would say that they passed!

The race was Cohutta 100, the first race of the NUE series, but with the 24 hours of Vail Lake following one week later, we decided to race the shorter versions–the 65 mile race (Eddie) and the 35 mile race (Namrita) to shorten the recovery time. While it isn't ideal to race with brand new equipment, we didn't have a choice. We did get in a pre-ride of a small piece of the race course on Friday.

The weather was 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) and sunny, and the trails were in perfect shape. However, I felt horrible! I was really nervous because my legs couldn't climb, and I just generally didn't feel prepared to race. I had never raced any length of time under six hours, so the 35 mile race was definitely an unknown for me. Eddie said to not worry, though, because the "worse you feel the day before the race, the better you feel during the race". I'm not sure if that is true or not, but I decided to go with those words of wisdom anyway. Fast forward to race day...

Eddie's Cohutta race report

My plan was keep pace near the front of the group and then attack with about 20 miles to go on some of the steep pitches. I started off well, but about 10 miles in I flatted, my CO2 would not work, and I had to run about 1/4 mile to get to a pump. Luckily, I was that close and not way out in the backcountry. I chased pretty hard after that, but never came in contact with the front of the group.

The mud and rain slowed my progress, and I miscalculated my nutritional needs. This made the second half of the race challenging. On the positive side, I had no more mechanicals despite layers of mud caked on, dried and reapplied for hours. The new Vassago Optimus Ti frame was outstanding, and I think the most tested part of this race was the Hayes Stroker brakes.

Toward the end of the race, I was so unfocused and on the verge of bonking that I ran straight into a large branch laying across the trail. I never even looked up and my face brought me to sudden stop. That woke me out of the bonk-induced daze I was sinking into and I charged on. My result was nothing to brag about, but it was a good shake down experience for the next week's 24 hour race.

Namrita's Cohutta race report

The 35 mile race started after the 100 milers and the 65 milers went off. It had just finished raining, but it was still cloudy and damp. I looked around and recognized a few people, but not too many. Most of the people I normally race with were racing the 100 mile course. I was sort of out of my element amongst all these cross-country racers but I didn't let it worry me. Normally it takes me three hours to just warm up, so I didn't have big plans for this race. I just wanted to race smart and see how much I could push beyond my typical "endurance" pace. The course starts with three miles of pavement, followed by roughly 30 miles of singletrack, and ends with two miles of flat pavement.

I started off at a decent tempo pace on the road to warm up with, and went into the singletrack in seventh place. It wasn't long before I had passed four of the women, and I was feeling good so kept motoring along. I never saw any of the women again until the finish line. I desperately didn't want to get caught by anyone on the last two miles of pavement but it was certainly a possibility since I was on a singlespeed. I spun my legs off with Eddie's voice in my head coaching me through perfect pedal strokes to the finish line.

I came in third with a time of 3'19", nine minutes off second place Ursula Sandefur, one of the top local pro women. I was real happy with my result and still feeling awesome after crossing the finish. Fourth place came in just a minute or so after me so I was glad that I hadn't let my guard down earlier, otherwise she surely would have cruised past me on the final pavement section.

I podiumed in the coed singlespeed division, where I also placed third overall (first female). I really loved the short race format, and if I ever find that I don't have enough time to train for the endurance stuff, I'd be happy racing the shorter distance races! My bike felt amazing and I sure hope this race is a sign of things to come for me this season!

Eddie's Vassago Optimus Ti

18" Vassago Optimus Titanium frame
Hayes Stroker Trail disc brakes (white)
WTB Shadow saddle
Thomson seatpost
WTB Weirwolf F and Exiwolf R tires
Ergon GR2 grips
Crank Brothers Directset
Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals
White Brothers Magic 80 29er fork
American Classic 29" MTB Wheels

Namrita's Vassago Optimus Ti

16" Vassago Optimus Titanium frame
Hayes Stroker Trail disc brakes (white)
WTB Rocket V SLT saddle
Thomson stem and seatpost
WTB Weirwolf F and Exiwolf R tires
Ergon GP1 grips
Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals
White Brothers Magic 80 29er fork
Stans No Tubes wheels (coming soon)

Thanks to Vassago Cycles, White Brothers, WTB, Ergon, Crank Brothers, Hayes, Thomson, Tifosi, Dedicated Athlete, American Classic, Paceline Products, Addictive Cycles, Wobble-naught, and 55nine Performance for the support on this one.

Next up...Granny Gear's 24 hours of Vail Lake in Temecula, California!

Stay tuned for more!
Eddie and Namrita O'Dea

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Eddie and Namrita O'Dea are two married racers balancing the demands of professional racing and training for and even the promoting of endurance races. The duo will travel the US national circuit of 24 hour solo events while dropping in on assorted 100 milers and 12 hour races in between. Follow both into and throughout 2008 as they pursue their roles as spouses, team-mates, co-promoters and yes, even co-business owners.