......of a 24 Hour mountain bike race.
Man, let me tell you, I'm sore. I hurt in places I never imagined I would hurt. I have cuts and bruises all over the place too. And to top it off, I have yet another new appreciation for mountain biking......even with crashing twice and being crashed into once.
First off, let me give out a huge thanks to Johnny C. for putting this team together and providing housing for all of us - Johnny, myself, Kareem, Jim and Dave. His help and organization skills are second-to-none. He is not only da man - he's Super Stud! And, of course, his lap times during the race showed us why. This guy is one of the coolest guys I've ever met in my life too, so I feel honored to know him.
For me, this was a race of fun, persistence and fatigue. It was fun, but the course wears on you. The first part of the course has a bunch of these little steep hills that just grunt away at you - with names such as Hurl Hill. Then you hit the Twisties - singletrack downhill with lots of little switchbacks here and there. Then you hit the fireroad descent and you really fly.........and finally, The Grind. The Grind is one of those mindless fireroad climbs that is just relentless......not steep......just persistent......goes on and on. And it actually can wear away at you mentally.
I ended up doing 4 of our 21 laps - one in the afternoon, one in the evening and two in the morning. I was very very lucky in that I didn't have to use my lighting system once during the race. I was spoiled - Kareem, Jim, Dave and Gianni flew the laps through the night. The astonishing thing to me were how fast these guys were riding. They were just super consistent(read - quick) during the full-moon night!
Instead of a novel, I'll go ahead and list the things learned, seen, pondered upon, etc. during this race:
- Lighting systems in this race are very important. Our team hit lighting problems through the night. Lights broken, died, not working properly, etc.
are my new miracle supplement - I thought they were snake oil at first.......not now. After suffering severe cramps during lap 2, I took them for laps 3 and 4 and was crampless the entire time. I am now a believer.
- Have your bike ready to go prior to leaving your house. And if you're not running disks, make sure you adjust the toe-in on your pads........or you'll drive the racers nuts with your squeals(as I found out with my extremely loud front brake! Hee hee).
- I have a new appreciation for The Stick
- Rich Thurman's 42-minute night-time lap blows my mind.......that guy is not human.
- Kareem is FAST on a mountain bike!! If you ever get a chance to ride with him, you better hang on 'cause he'll blow your H2O cages off. Jim too - those two guys move on a mountain bike.
- Chicks who race mountain bikes while wearing G-strings are an amazingly effective distraction while climbing The Grind hill.
- Broken collarbones happen when you hit fireroad ruts on the downhill section(hope you heal quickly!!!).
- The main requirement for being on the winning WTB team is to weigh 120 pounds, have less than 1% bodyfat, and average less than 46-minute laps consistently.
- Although very painful to watch, the solo 24-hour riders are quite amusing to talk to after 20 hours of racing. Try asking them what their name is, and see how long it takes them to respond.
- Being interviewed by 4 PowerBar Research folks from England about why I believe cake frosting is the wave of the future in cycling supplementation was, well, kinda cool in a way. Of course, they better give us a cut of the profits!
- I need to practice mountain biking more - especially downhill singletracking. For some reason, my body kept needing to crash on that section.
- It dawned on me this morning that while a big chunk of the country was finding out who won a million bucks participating in immunity challenges
and working as a team(or not), the five of us were recovering from our own challenge.......and really living life instead of watching it on the tube.
- Teammates rule!!
- If I could, I would sign up for next year's race tonight. It was that much fun.
So, in short, my lap times were nothing special - slow compared to some of the other guys; My MTB skills need some work; My mountain bike is in need of a bath; I haven't even unpacked yet; I'm still sleepy; and I'm badly in need of some Advil or something to relieve the pain.
Most of all, it was an experience that you have to try at least once in your life.....especially if you are a cyclist. Keep an open mind going into it, learn from it and come back from it knowing what to do next time........and the fun you had at the time. It truly is a blast.
Looking forward to doing it again next year.
Thanks for reading this long report!