New for 2022

Headed south for the first of three nearly consecutive monthly sunshine cycling (and WFF) camps. Didn’t leave NoVA soon enough and had the pleasure of being present for the biggest snowfall in quite a while – nearly seven inches of heavy snow. Must say, not a lot of fun. Another, smaller snowfall was forecast for a few days later but that would be after my departure date. Primary purpose of the initial camp was to lay the groundwork – base miles – in preparation for randonneuring events. Additionally, registered for three official events: two 200K brevets and one 300K brevet.

Plan was long rides, century +, on each weekend day with easy 90-minute recovery and 50–60-mile rides during the week. Received a handlebar bag for Christmas and experimented with storage of gels, bars, and powder in the three different places now available (handlebar, seat, jersey). Also incorporated different food options – PBJ sandwich, thick ham chunks, Fig Newtons and SiS’ Energy Bakes. Refueling will be critical during 7-14 hour cycling days and relying only on SiS and GU gels may lead to unpleasantness. Long rides always necessitate 4 water bottles, 2 on the frame and 2 behind the saddle: two filled with plain water and two with SiS Electrolyte powder.

Completed several solo 120+ mile rides without much concern. Found that taking more frequent breaks, 4-5 versus 2-3, appeared to reduce both physical and mental fatigue. Actually stopped and ate my PBJ sandwich at the Historic Downtown Kissimmee Lakefront Park overlooking Lake Tohopekaliga (or Lake Toho) on one of the rides. As there’s minimal elevation changes in central FL, Z2 efforts equate to mid-19 mph averages. Depending upon wind speed and direction, averages will fluctuate.

First official randonneuring event was the Tavares – Polk City 200K Brevet. Start point was Wooten Park about a 60-minute drive from our FL retreat. Roll time was 0700 so it was a moderately early morning but not dreadful. Stayed overnight in Tavares as the 300K the following day had an 0600 start. Who knew but Tavares is America’s Seaplane City, at least that’s what the signs proclaim. As proof, there were several seaplanes, on the water and parking lot, at the park. Sunrise on the lake was very peaceful. Sign-in, introductions, etc. was all before sunrise. Quickly discovered that there was one other newbie – the remaining 20+ riders had various years of randonneuring experience, many of them successfully completed the holy grail of randonneuring, Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP), and most knew one another. The cyclists came in all shapes and sizes (but not colors) with bikes to match: road, flat bar, recumbents. So, randonneuring events are not races, but are timed, without SAG support or organized rest stops. Instead, there are control points which may be informational (e.g., posted business hours of the establishment at the address serving as a control point) or a place of business that will stamp and/or initial your brevet card. The intent is to provide verification that you successfully rode to each of the control points (or at least visited each control point) and annotated the brevet card appropriately (i.e., arrival time at each control point, answer to an informational control point, and stamp or initial at a standard control point). Self-supporting is the primary theme – carry what you need or plan for refueling stops along the way. Fortunately, many of the control points are at gas stations or other business that offer food and drink. Ensure your bike is in sound condition as there won’t be an on-site mechanic. Cue sheet format also varies – some leaders only make paper cue sheets available so know how to create your own gps file while other leaders offer both digital and paper variants.

It was still dark at roll time so everyone had head and tail lights on, steady light. Apparently blinking lights are frowned upon. On-time departure and easily made my way towards the leading cyclists. Grupettos hadn’t developed yet as it was a long string of solo riders. Took an early photo detour at the Port of Mount Dora for what? Yep, a mini light house. By the time I returned to the road, my position in the group was much further back. Blew by the first information control but took notice of the construction material used for a mailbox. Yes, Clermont does have hills – rollers mostly, but lots of them. The area had the most cyclists not participating in an organized event I had ever encountered in FL. Small and large groups, solo along with 2- and 3-person groups. Quite amazing actually. Eventually caught up with a mixed group of fairly strong riders – not really sure how I caught them as they set a pretty decent pace. They rotated through leading while I just stayed in the back sucking wheel until the next control point – just around the corner from the southern terminus of the Van Fleet Trail.

I departed the control point before the group I was riding with as they had just obtained drinks and food and weren’t leaving for a bit. Setting off solo, a 5-mile TT effort on the trail enabled me to catch up with the lead group where I stayed for the duration of the ride. As most of my previous rides were solo efforts, it was truly a pleasure to ride with others. The rest of the 200K passed quickly while fatigue wasn’t an issue. Rolled back into Wooten Park a little after 2 pm – not quite 6.5 hours to cover the 200K (shhh, the distance was a little short but don’t tell anyone). Made the final entry on the brevet card and slipped it through the cracked window of the organizer’s truck. Changed out of the cycling attire and had a couple of beers and chicken sandwich with the other members of the group. Went back to the start area and listened to other riders as they finished and turned in their brevet cards. Weather forecast was taking a decidedly negative turn and many folks who originally planned to ride the 300K the following day decided against it. There would be a much smaller contingent – maybe as many as 10 or a few as 4.

The hope, not really a sound plan as the results are outside of your control, was to get as close to the turn-around as possible before the winds shifted to a rather stiff, easternly flow. Initial forecast called for wet and wind. Back at Wooten Park around 0430 for the Tavares – Pine Island 300K Brevet. Weather stayed dry until a couple minutes after the 0500 start time. Started with a few sprinkles off and on for the first hour or so. Only 5 of us departed at the designated start time and it would spend the next 12+ hours with Recumbent Man who has a long history in the recumbent industry and actually has his own line of bikes. The weather wasn’t a factor until 90-minutes in and then it wasn’t much fun for the next 45 minutes. The rain wasn’t pleasant but the wind was brutal. Crossing the Little lake Harris Bridge was the worse. It was dark, raining, but the wind was relentless. Didn’t feel like there was much pitch to the bridge but the expanse was completely exposed to the conditions and Mother Nature wasn’t going to lose an opportunity to demonstrate her potential. Recumbent Man slowly pulled away as my speed dropped to 8 mph but effort increased to 3 w/kg. Finally crossed over after 20-min of stinging rain and buffeting winds (ok, felt that long but was only 4 minutes). By 0930 the rain had stopped completely and the sun even make a brief appearance. Had a little over an hour of mostly headwind before reaching the turnaround at Pine Island. The causeway still showed evidence of flooding as mud and plant debris were prominent and a short section still had one lane covered with an inch or so of water. The park at Pine Island was closed so we stopped for a bit outside the locked gate before heading back. The first four controls (3 different establishments as one location was both an out- and return-trip) were now shuttered businesses; likely victims of the pandemic. Thankfully, the event organizer was waiting at the third control and we were able to replenish our liquids. Learned that one of the riders who started at 0500 stopped for breakfast and waited out the worst of the rain and a group of 4 started once the front moved through.

Recumbent Man is quite a strong rider and I shamelessly sucked his wheel on the return trip. Had no energy to take periodic turns leading and the rollers were a struggle. He just chugged along and would soft pedal until I caught up. Was flabbergasted to learn his power output was 60-70 watts less than mine to maintain a similar speed. We’re fairly close in weight be significantly less aerodynamic drag on a recumbent. Never truly felt like a full tail wind heading eastward but it certainly wasn’t a headwind either. Final frustration was Wahoo Roam battery depleted as we left the last control – mile 149. Rather disconcerting and a little anxiety provoking to ride the final 37 miles without map, speed, distance, or any other ride data available. Definitely needed to find a solution for battery life as there were other, longer rides (400K and 470K) rides on the calendar. We departed Wooten Park in darkness and we returned with lights piercing the gloom although we arrived just past dusk about 12.25 hours after leaving. A total of 186 miles in just under 10.5 hours of moving time. The other riders weren’t expected back for another several hours. Quickly changed into warmer attire as temperature was dropping and the wind continued to blow. Walked across the street to O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and had dinner, fish sandwich and fries, with Recumbent Man.

Not a terrible first experience with Randonneuring Brevet’s although consecutive days of riding more than 120 miles is more challenging than consecutive century rides.

The following weekend included a drive to Gainesville for the GCC Horse Farm 200K Brevet. A more civilized start time for this ride but temperatures were much cooler than in central FL. The high never reached 55° with a brisk breeze.  Less than twenty folks showed up at Depot Park for the 0700 departure. Didn’t recognize anyone from the previous weekend’s Brevets out of Tavares. Most of the first seven miles were on paved trails; first the Downtown Connect Rail Trail then the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. Once the route turned on to the roads, seemed like everyone was a number: two-digit, three-digit, with and without cardinal and ordinal prefixes, and -st, -rd, -th, or -nd designations. There were even a couple of gravel (sand really) sections that also had numbered names. Have no idea if there was an over-arching naming plan or strategy but there didn’t seem to be any glaringly obvious explanation. Regardless, the mostly rolling roads fronted numerous horse farms. Conversely, there were also roads that seemed to serve no purpose as there were no homes, businesses, farms or any other reason for establishing a given paved route. The paved description was overly optimistic in many places. In fact, the gravel roads were in better condition than several of the bituminous thoroughfares. The day’s ride would be a mostly solo affair as there was no contact with any other participants after the first control point at mile 19, except one gentleman I passed around the 80-mile mark who was completely lost. He didn’t have a GPS and was using a paper cuesheet. Refer to my previous comments about numbered street names and add that not every intersection was adorned with a street sign. Returned to Depot Park around 3:15 after covering 125 miles in 7.5 hours. After the two weekends and 3 brevets, confident I could survive a Grand Randonee and completed the reservation for the Treasure Cove 1200K in May.

Finished the January FL training camp after cycling for 1,586 miles in 87:19 and expending over 44,000 KJ including my first 3 Randonneuring Brevets.

Returned to primary residence for next 2 ½ weeks and spent most of the cycling time inside on Zwift. Did complete all 8 stages of the Tour de Zwift. Absolutely no motivation to ride for hours on the trainer. Unfortunately, only able to ride outside twice with one of the rides being gravel. 

Back to FL for another 300K Brevet and 100-mile Dirty Pecan gravel (more dirt and sand really) ride. Returned to Gainesville for the Hart Springs 300K. Stayed at the Quality Inn which is very much a misnomer as it was actually anything but. Somehow the reservation was for a smoking room – was told the hotel was sold out and no ability to change. However, upon check-in, was able to switch to a nonsmoking room. Apparently there were cancellations but the parking lot did not seem crowded. A sign in the lobby informed patrons that the hotel had stopped serving breakfast in January 2022. Really? Made it through 2 years of the pandemic but then stopped? Strange. Start point was a small strip mall next door but no parking allowed in the lot. Recognized a few familiar faces as everyone gathered for the 0500 departure. No Recumbant Man today as he was off competing in the 12-hours of Sebring (how far can you ride in 12 hours).

Still experimenting with bar and saddle bags – purchased a bigger saddle bag but it didn’t fit well attached to the behind the saddle water bottle cage. Improvised by using a bungee strap but still wasn’t the most secure. A few miles in, someone from behind mentioned something fell out of the bag. Stopped to investigate and being mostly unknown – no one else did. Wasn’t sure what dropped out but assumed it was a couple of gels. Later discovered it was both of the CO2 cartridges. Good thing I didn’t need additional air in the tires! Secured the bag the best as possible and TT’d it to catch up with main group. Around 20-mile mark, hit a pothole, bump or something and both rear water bottles jettisoned – turned around to look for them. It was still dark, as the first 2 hours were, used the headlight to facilitate the search. Eventually found both but the lid to one was broken. Required a 9-mile TT to catch up with lead group of 7 others. Riders from the group kept dropping and eventually rode solo for a stretch. Returned to a group of 3 others after stopping to refill the water bottles and finished 11:36 hours after starting: 10:01 hours to cover 185.4 miles, 3,051 ft of elevation, 18.5 mph avg, 6373 kJ. Weather was significantly better than the previous 300K!

Concluding event on this stay was the Dirty Pecan in Tallahassee. Available distances ranged from 50-200 miles. Briefly considered the longest distance but wisely selected the century route. Brought the Topstone gravel bike down specifically for this event. Dry and sunny conditions for a gentlemanly 0800 start time. It was a good route, not much traffic on the paved sections and virtually no vehicular traffic on the gravel or sand. To be honest, never noticed any pecan trees but then I didn’t stop to actually look. Would’ve enjoyed the ride much better if there was less sand or had a different set up. A couple of the long, sandy stretches were just brutal. 33mm tires with 37 psi wasn’t the right call. Sand was deep and soft. Lost track of the number of times all momentum was lost and tipped over. Initially it was somewhat amusing but the humor had completely vanished during the last 6-mile stretch. Needed a mountain bike or 2-inch wheels and probably 20 psi. Forced to walk long stretches as unable to remount and get going again. Fun meter was most assuredly pegged. This wasn’t cycling but someone’s idea of a very poor joke. At least the final stretch was on pavement but added at least 45 minutes to the duration of the ride/fallover/walk event. Failed to mention it was a completely unsupported event: no mechanics, no rest stops with refreshments and nothing at the finish line. To be fair, it was certainly advertised that way so it wasn’t a surprise. Nearly 7.5 hours later, completed the 104 miles, 3,530 ft of elevation; 15.1 mph avg, 4349 kJ. Roam indicated a moving time of 6:52 but don’t know how much walking time was captured. Want to return for this event but bring different tires!

Return to NoVA for more 200K and 300K brevets, hillier versions this time. Reality is far different than the plan as weather didn’t cooperate. Mornings were chilly – below 40° – which ruled out morning rides and temps didn’t get comfortable until mid to late afternoon. Neither of these conditions were suitable for work or good riding as traffic became an issue. Didn’t participate in the first planned event, don’t even know if it was held, as it snowed in that day. Severe motivation challenges riding around Makuri Islands on Zwift watching the snow fall. Not feeling 3+ hour indoor rides so did mostly ~2-hour rides incorporating longer tempo/threshold intervals.

The first northern randonneuring event was the Warrenton 200K. It didn’t necessitate a hotel stay but did require an early departure from the homestead as it was nearly an hour’s drive away; thankfully start time was 0700. There were only 6 other riders which meant another long, solo effort. Jettisoned a water bottle from the saddle cage riding over rough pavement on a short, steep descent within the first 7-8 miles. The other riders caught and passed me by the time the water bottle was retrieved. Frustrating that all water bottles don’t have the same dimensions. Not referring to the number of fluid ounces a bottle holds but the diameter or circumference differences. Some bottles fit snugger than others. Will have to continue searching for a remedy to cure ejecting water bottles. The route covered a fair bit of familiar territory in Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, and Madison Counties. The route very nearly went by a parcel of property in Hume that we considered buying. It did go past the start/finish point of the Tour de Madison ride. Overall it was a pretty good route; more climbing than the ridewithgps file indicated but no real climbs per se, just lots of rollers. Covered the 127 miles and 10, 721 ft of elevation in 7:41 (7:04 of moving time), 18 mph avg, and 4,965 kJ.

The following weekend was the Warrenton 300K. Start time of 0500 meant departing home around 0330. Intent was an early bedtime but after noticed major differences between the gps file and the cue sheet. Began editing the gps file to match the cue sheet until the app locked up – dummy me hadn’t saved the changes so started over. Eventually gave up the effort and went to bed around midnight. Who needs sleep the night before a 300K ride? A few more riders than last week showed up for the start with some being repeat customers like me. Country roads in the wee hours of the morning are really dark. The first 30 miles of the route was mostly the same as the 200K the previous week but felt different in the dark. Failed to bring lighter lenses for the sunglasses so rode without them until sunrise. Knew there’d be a price to pay as wind wreaks havoc on my eyes – look like a stoner after a weekend binge. Purchased ball bungee cords to secure the water bottles in the saddle cages. They work. Too well. No pulling one out on the move. No concern about launching one though. Used the power cell to keep the Roam and PowerBeats charged. Have to have gps and music! Again, more elevation than the gps file. Also rode through two different snow squalls. Not a fan of snow in late March. Don’t drink nearly as much in cooler temperatures. Need to pay more attention to hydrating as still expending the same amount of energy. Concluded the ride with the last 12 miles or so into a headwind. Not a nice way to end. Finished the 186 miles and 16,085 ft of elevation in 11:23 (10:32 of moving time), 17.7 mph avg, 7419 kJ.

The week after that was a change of pace: the Appalachian Journey (AJ) Duo-Long Doggie Gravel Race. As the name implies, it’s a 2-person race, mostly on gravel roads, down in Floyd, VA. Data file from ridewithgps was grossly inaccurate both in terms of percentage of gravel (20% vs ~80%) and elevation (9K vs 13K). Teamed with another rider from the local bike club and spent the weekend in Floyd. Made the 4-hour drive down on Friday to be ready for the 0700 start. Teammates were supposed to stay within 15 minutes of each other but the organizers wouldn’t know until the finish line. It was a little chilly to start, 39°, but no wind. The climbing started early and continued all day – crossed the eastern continental divide twice as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway. Initially headed east, into the rising sun which reduced visibility. Gravel riding, for me, is mentally exhausting, as well as physically demanding. The technical (and sketchy in several places) descents, steep and rutted ascents required constant vigilance to select a manageable line to stay upright. I failed once early on and went down softly on a right-hand turn going from pavement to gravel. Recovered quickly and didn’t lose too much time. A couple times later, attention waned on climbs and drifted too far to either side of the road and forced to clip out to prevent unintended entrance to the surrounding forest. Pitch was too steep one of the times and had to walk uphill a bit until able to remount and resume pedaling. The course had more pitches exceeding 20% in a single ride than ever experienced. If Roam gps data was accurate, there were more than a couple stretches greater than 30%. Things were going well until just before rest stop #2 (we didn’t stop at the first one) at the 34-mile mark. Teammate got a stick stuck in the chain and snapped it (the chain, not the stick). While he tried to fix, I proceeded to the rest stop to inquire about mechanical assistance. Sorry, none to be had but they were fixing pancakes. Naturally had to try one – quite tasty! Extremely fortunate that a couple stopped, had a quick link, and was nice enough to give it to my teammate. Easily lost 15-20 minutes for the repair but we weren’t in it to win. Must say the food offerings were not just the typical cycling event fare but each one we stopped at had unique offerings. Even had a thimble-sized shot of moonshine and baked potato wedge upon cresting one of the climbs. Around the 80-mile mark there was a 50-ft river crossing where water was above bottom bracket height. Too murky and wide to carry the bike across so we stayed to the left and made it across. Absolutely despise, wet, cold feet. First time using a camelback for fluid replacement. Much easier to drink on the go without worrying about grabbing a bottle. Also didn’t have to worry about launching any rumbling over bumpy terrain. There were many strong female riders – a couple were much better at descending. Had spectacular views up, over and around the Blue Ridge Mountains. We finished the 110 miles and 13,582 ft of elevation in 9:56 (8:45 moving time), 12.6 mph avg and 5986 kJ. We finished 6th in the over 40 category. Not too bad. It was probably the most challenging cycling event to date. The route had everything – long climbs, short steep pitches, 40+ mph descents, smooth, sketchy gravel, frozen puddles, a river crossing, and great rest stop offerings. The soup, cornbread, cookie and beer at the end were pretty good too. It’s definitely an event to keep on the calendar.

Last spring biking escape to FL for this spring was the next weekend. Initial plan was to drive down with the Missus and stop in Atlanta to catch a Braves game. Work conflicts delayed her departure (on the positive side, she was now flying round trip as opposed to driving/riding along with me) a week. I executed the plan solo. First time to Truist Park – pretty nice but weather wasn’t, mid-40s and windy. At least brought the winter coat along. Braves won although the bull pen almost blew it. Continued the drive after the game and arrived early in the morning. Plan was for this to be the last big mileage push in preparation for the Treasure Cove 1200K in May. Plans don’t always work out as intended. Came down with a bug of some kind that knocked one weekend out and went to Disney’s Hollywood studio the next one. Well worth it to spend time with family. Still cycled 720 miles over 17 days averaging 42 miles/day which includes two days off. Also, able to host another NoVA cyclist for a day who was down at Disney to support his daughter at an international cheer competition.

Final tune-up was the New Oxford 600K; a two-day event nearly splitting the distance evenly with northern and southern legs starting at the same point in Sterling, VA. Day 1 covered mostly familiar roads north through Leesburg, VA and Frederick, MD onto New Oxford, PA and return. Start time was 0400 and while the initial route wasn’t new, experiencing them in the darkness removes most of the familiarity. Couldn’t understand why so many houses seemed to have all interior lights on at 0500? What gives? There were about a dozen other riders but nearly all of the ride was a solo effort. Temperatures weren’t bad but still had a light jacket, knee warmers, gator for the head, and full fingered gloves. No major climbs but all of the ups and downs add up over 300K. The control point for the turn around was the Déjà vu Coffee and Bakery in New Oxford, PA. Had to try a muffin, and a new flavor at that: apple peanut butter crumb. Not too bad but a little dry and the crumb had an odd taste. Route wasn’t a complete out and back as the return trip to Frederick was different. Completed the 198.53 miles (new longest ride) and 13,792 ft of elevation in 13:09 (11:43 moving time), 16.9 mph avg, 7746 kJ. Spoke with the event organizer for a bit about the next day’s ride. Mentioned previously that randonneuring brevets are not races but they do have time limits. They are (in hours and minutes, HH:MM): 200K (13:30), 300K (20:00), 400K (27:00), 600K (40:00), and 1000K (75:00). That meant the cut-off was 8 pm on Sunday to complete the remaining 177 miles. Apparently, one (or more) of the other riders talked about departing shortly after finishing the first leg. That was crazy talk. Why? Choices were get a hotel room locally or head home (~40 minutes away) and sleep in my own bed, start at 0600 and finish well within the proscribed time. The event organizer looked at me like I had two heads. My thoughts were why intentionally sleep deprive yourself when there’s plenty of time to finish at a leisurely pace. Guess that’s just not the way it’s done. Will have to have more detailed discussions about other unwritten rules and strategies/approaches for PBP. Decided to go home, have a good dinner, sleep at start early the next day. Self-imposed start time kept changing but eventually settled on departing the house around 0130 and begin the ride upon arriving at the start point. The Missus was surprised, but glad to have me home but mentioned crazy, whacko, out-of-your-effing-mind, and other phrases when informed of the next day’s plan. Primary reason for leaving so early was an effort to finish before rain came. The turnaround wasn’t an issue but the start/finish was expecting rain in the afternoon. Not the preferred conditions to conclude a 600K event. Regardless, started the southern leg of the 600K at 0215. Another first – longest time riding in the dark. On the positive side, sunrise in NoVA is about 40 minutes earlier than FL this time of year. Warmer starting temps even though beginning nearly 2 hours earlier. Long sleeve base layer, knee warmers, very thin arm warmers, and light, long fingered gloves. Route went through South Manassas, Linten Hall, Bristow, Fredericksburg to Woodford and back. Less elevation than the previous day but Fredericksburg was much hillier than expected. Legs weren’t overly pleased to be riding again and head was a little foggy due to insufficient sleep. But, good practice for Treasure Cove and ultimately (potentially) PBP. Generating 3 w/kg was a peak effort and unable to maintain it for any appreciable amount of time. Climbing out of the saddle was even less effective. Any incline exceeding 7% felt like an HC climb. Some type of event set up was underway in downtown Fredericksburg headed south. A few hours later on the return trip discovered it was a road race. Just leaving the downtown area, a long line of kids, probably 8 and under, came barreling around the corner running down the home stretch. Have no idea of the event distance but pacing strategies ran the full spectrum. Had a bit of a head/crosswind on the way down but knew it would become a tail/crosswind on the return trip. A lot more coasting and soft pedaling today. Had the longest stop at the final control point, a Sheetz gas station, a mere 23 miles from the finish. Refueled with water and G2, finished the last half of my PBJ sandwich and had a banana nut muffin. Mine are much better. Learned several new things standing outside the store eating and refilling my water bottles: GrubHub makes deliveries for Sheetz; CBD Chew Pouches are a think, and; Sheetz offers French Fries monthly subscriptions. Endless fries for $9.99 a month with one caveat – orders must be 2 hours apart. Suppose it’s not a bad deal if you live close to a Sheetz and the fries are good. Felt the freshest during the last segment of the entire day. Unclear if it was the ingestion of calories, favorable wind, or knowledge the end was not quite in site but not very daunting either. Wind really pushed headed up Loudoun Country Parkway. Felt the first patters of water droplets around 1:00. Evolved into a light drizzle by 1:15. Thought that would be the extent of the rain as it appeared to stop headed east on Waxpool. However, the heavens opened up shortly after the turn onto Pacific for the last 2 miles. Actually stopped and pulled out the Gore ShakeDry rain jacket that was stuffed beneath my jersey all day. Didn’t want to end the ride drenched. Finished the ride around 1:30, covering the 177.5 miles and 9,196 ft of elevation in 11:15 (10:04 moving time), 17.6 mph, and 6,295 kJ. Again, not a race but finished first in 33:30; 6 ½ hours under the time limit.

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