Friday, August 23, 2013

Chris Evans wins Black Bear in record time

Dave Johnson (left), who won the Black Bear Bicycle Tour four times, finished second this year to Chris Evans, who won in a record time of 3:36.09 for the 102 miles. Both are standing behind Chris' carbon fiber Quest; Dave's Great White is behind them. Photo was taken after they finished.

Thanks to Tedd Wheeler for providing some of the information and to Donna Wheeler for taking the photo

Chris Evans, 45, of Flint, riding his carbon fiber Quest velomobile, "won" the Avita Water Black Bear Bicycle Tour July 28, 2013, finishing the 102 miles between Grayling and Oscoda in a record time of 3 hours, 36 minutes and 9 seconds.
Second fastest was David Johnson, 56, of Olivet in his Great White two-wheel streamliner, 3:43.25. It was the fifth time Dave has run the Black Bear and the first time he didn't win. He held the previous record of 3:37.39, set in 2004, which was the first year he participated.
Officially, there's no overall winner and no special award or trophy for being the fastest overall. Chris won the recumbent class and Dave finished second.  The only other rider in the recumbent class was Tedd Wheeler of Reed City, who rode his Alleweder velomobile, finishing in a time of 5:20.41.
Third fastest overall was Joshua Forsyth, 22, of Chesaning, who won the men's age 18-30 class in a time of 4:09.33 and fourth fastest was Rob Selley, 62, of Grand Blanc, who won the men's age 61-70 class only 2 seconds slower, 4:09:35. There were 267 riders.
Chris also rode his Quest in 2012, winning the recumbent class in 3:49.1. In prior years, he rode his NoCom low racer, but never was able break 4 hours.
Quest velomobiles are made in the Netherlands and by Bluevelo in Toronto, Ontario, which made Chris' vehicle. Dave's Great White streamliner was built many years ago by Rick Wianecki of Okemos.
Here's Chris' account of this year's Black Bear, from the Bentrideronline discussion group:
Yes, Dave and I stayed together all the way to McKinley which is roughly half way. I set the pace as requested by Dave. We were smoking past paceline after paceline like they were planted to the ground.
We both started at 8:25 a.m. The first riders in groups of 10 started at 8 a.m. We both passed everyone well before reaching Glennie. I started pulling away from Dave on the uphill grade leaving McKinley and continued to pull away at a speed of 27 mph until the grade flattened out again and it was back to a solid 30 mph until the downhill grade started, which ended up being a solid 43 mph until the first large climb, which I believe is "heartbreak hill." That hill was 6 mph all the way up.
Dave said he saw me cresting the hill when he was just getting to the climb. After that he didn't see me again. When I hit the final left turn onto River Road, the time was showing just over 3 hours elapsed time with a little over 15 miles to go. I cranked it up to 32 mph with some speed bursts of 34 mph and held it the entire way with exception of the downhill going by Old Orchard Campground, which was 52 mph top speed.
The distance traveled was 102.48 miles, with an elapsed time of 3:36:09. That is the fastest 100 miler I've ever done. There was a slight quartering tailwind of up to 10 mph later in the race, but I don't think enough to have made much of a difference. I'm chalking up the better time this year to a better rear tire selection, cooler temperatures, Osmo hydration and a combination of GNC drink mixes. I felt awesome during and after the ride..... not tired or whipped feeling at all.
The GPS showed an average speed of 28.45 mph.

You can read more at:

And here's Dave's account:

Start time 8:25 a.m. was nice that Chris and I both had the same start time. I hope future rides can have the same 8:25 a.m. start time.
I remember the first 50 miles going by quickly because I was just having fun riding behind Chris. On some downhills I would have to brake a little to keep from passing. Sometimes I would be eating or not be paying attention and he would begin to pull away until I pushed hard and caught up. 
Then outside McKinley I developed a leg cramp and had trouble pedaling. Going thru McKinley, a gap opened up that I could not close. From that point on I could only see specs of white on the long straightaways. My leg cramps continued to get worse whenever I had to pedal hard.
I've decided this is from not enough miles in Great White this year, only having done Calvin's, Waterford and several rides from the house. I have more miles on single bike and weekly spinning classes at the gym.
On the two large uphills my legs went into total spasm, but for some reason with both legs feeling like they would lock up and shut down, I was able to climb the hills, in pain, at a 6 mile per hour pace, same pace as other years. 
On the last stretch of River Road, I was only able to maintain about 26-28 mph. After seeing Chris topping the last major hill I knew he would finish really close to the course record. When I finished 5 minutes off the record and Chris was already in, I knew he had the new record. This was the fifth BB for me, finishing in 3:43:45, which is four seconds slower than the last time I did it in 2010. The first time I did it was in 2004, with a time of 3:37. Looking forward to next year...