For the third round of the Florida Endurance Series, we went all the way down to Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah. The last time I was down here was during the FSC season, which ended with a cracked rim on my single speed. Hoping for better luck this time, I rode down early morning the day of the race to get setup and check out the course. Instead of a 6 hour race like the first 2 in the series, this one was actually a 30 or 60 mile race, so of course I was racing the 60 mile option. The course was actually backwards from what we raced in the FSC season, starting immediately with a jump section and into some serious punchy climbs. I realized on my pre-ride at dawn that position was going to be important early so I planned to pin it out of the gate.
This race was a little different too with the start order. The 30 mile racers went out first in a mass start, then there was a 5 minute gap until the 60 mile racers and relay team racers went out. When the whistle blew we all went out pretty hard, and 30 seconds in I saw my first crash in a loose corner. Everyone was trying to make sure they got a good position early so they didn’t get stuck in traffic, but mistakes were made. I was pushing probably a little too hard, watching crashes around me but halfway through the lap I dialed it back a bit and settled into my endurance pace.
Amelia is a really cool trail system with lots of big berms and climbs, then dumping you into natural woods and roots. From what I understand it looked much different before the hurricanes, but I’d never ridden it before that so this is all I know.
After a little while I heard a familiar voice, my friend Philip who always battles it out with me in these races. We rode together for a few laps, competing and trying to chase down those in front of us but always friendly. The pace was so furious early that we thought perhaps those up front couldn’t hold it all day, and turns out we were mostly right.
After a few laps riding together I took a long pit stop and Philip rode away. That ended up being a gap I couldn’t close later, as the heat and hills started to take their toll. Late in the day I started dousing myself with ice water to try and cool off, and for the last lap I just gave it everything I had left in the tank. It ended up being good enough for 4th in class with a couple of strong locals showing up just for this race and dominating.
It was great to see our other BikeMinded friends represented well on the podium in the team divisions, crushing lap after lap all day long as well as just being the biggest cheerleaders ever for each other and for all the racers. Many first time endurance racers were out there, learning about how to pace and hydrate on a 60 mile race versus shorter races they’d done before. It’s a whole different ball game when you’re endurance racing versus cross country, but I think everyone had a great time and there was such a good crowd out there cheering each lap.
Amelia was the 3rd race of a 4 race block in the first 2 months of the season, so not much time to prepare before the big one: 12 Hours of Santos in Ocala… Thanks for reading! Jemma grabbed a few shots at the race, so be sure to check them out and use them for your latest bike race profile photo! We really hope you enjoy them, check out the full Amelia 30/60 2018 Endurance Race Gallery and sneak peek below!