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rob hawks

rob hawks

7:43 PM on Sunday, August 11, 2019   •   Edited

Never a given

On Tuesday, I'll leave for my fourth crack at riding PBP. I fell short in 2007. In 2011, I tried the 84 hour, morning start not knowing if I was making a mistake giving up what I then though was 6 hours of riding time when I had never finished a 1200km before. I finished with 4 hours to spare. In 2015 I rode again, taking the same morning start and 84 hour limit. I was confident but not certain I'd finish. Was 2011 a fluke? I had gotten a late start to training that year owing to a broken foot during the early winter. I finished with 8 hours to spare.

A lot has happened since that 2015 finish. In 2016 I was hit by a truck. I still have wrist problems from that crash. Later that same year, I began what has been a 3 year experience with plantar faciaitis. At it's worst, I couldn't wear shoes, spent months in a walking boot, and tried taping, cortisone shots, PT, shockwave treatments, acupuncture, and more. Nothing worked. In 2017, in a stupid bike crash I broke my elbow. During all these medical mishaps and maladies, I found out I had arthritis and the beginnings of spinal stenosis. In 2018, I was diagnosed with asthma and before we figured out how to manage it, I DNF'd a 1000km and had a really rough time on a ride above 9000', and adjacent to the fires in California last November I had a lung infection. I started the new year on the bike at probably the lowest ebb that I can remember.

Training with a coach began slowly in December, continued slowly into February and I only felt improvement in March. I finished all the qualifiers needed to for PBP 2019 and registered. Then, in July, I was hit with a case of Achillies tendonosis. Pretty much since this began I've had to back off all training assignments and ride by feel. I am currently pain free when riding, which is great. However, I have not washed away all doubts. So, I'll start PBP with this in the back of my mind and I'll probably hold back during the ride.

Here is the link to track me during PBP:
My start time is actually Monday morning, 05:00 on August 19th (currently a 9 hour difference, so 8pm, August 18th PDT). The 80 and 90 hour riders start the night before on Sunday.

(Ed. Note: They farmed out the tracking to a vendor and the vendor must have hard coded the event as a 'race'. PBP is not a race.)