Tuesday, June 23, 2009

24 er 12 hrs of summer solstice

This was to be my first attempt (and most likely last) at competing in a solo 24 hr mtb race. Training had been going ok, and I knew that if I paced myself properly I would have a good race. I wasn't expecting any fast performance, but I just wanted to ride the majority of the time.

The forecast had been looking bleak over the previous weeks, and raceday didn't disappoint! We started during a light drissle. A huge pack of over a 1000 riders started off. I positioned myself middle back to allow myself an easy start. It was a slow first lap as the packs thinned out. By the second half we were able to ride without any back-ups. The rain was stopping at this point and the trails were in decent condition.

The second lap was awesome. I was feeling fantastic just cruising around trying to be as smooth as possible. I was working on getting the best lines down as I knew that would help me in the late hours of the race. The conditions were mucky and by the end of the second lap my brake pads were toast. They weren't new. I made a quick stop and changed them out.

The third lap was a different story. The first 2.5km of trails had been chewed to pieces by all the riders. It was virtually impossible to ride that section. The mud was clay and stuck to your bike, eventually keeping your wheels from turning and adding 30pds! However, the 2nd half of the course was in good shape. I took a break for food after this long lap.

The fourth lap was much better. The trail was drying up and by the end I was able to get in a rythym again. The laps had been really slow and dusk was a couple of hrs off so I decided to stop and put on my lights. Good move. Over the last few km of the 4th lap, the rain started again slowly. By the time I got back on my bike it was pouring. This destroyed all of the improvements and took the good parts and turned them bad.

The RD's had taken the first part of the course out because it was unridable. I thought this would solve the problems. Nope! I ended up walking 90% of the 5th lap. Stopping every fee hundred meters to remove pds of mud. It was insane!!! I have never ridden/hiked in anything like it before. The 13km lap took me over 2hrs! I should've been able to ride it in 40min!

At the end of that lap it was nearing 10pm. I decided that I was going to wait a bit to let things dry out again before I went back out, and I had worn through another set of brake pads. I went down to the sporting life booth, and they were sold out of pads. They were waiting on a shippment from their store. I decided to grab some warm food from the chalet. As I was sitting there eating with some friends word came in that they were cancelling the race at midnight. I then debated heading out for another lap, but common sense prevailed. Stories of horrid laps were comming in left, righ, and center. The memory of my last lap was still fresh as well.

So that was that. I went to sleep! It was an interesting experience. I am humming and hawing on whether I want to give it another shot. We'll see. Props to the Chico guys for trying hard to keep the race going, and for having the guts to shut it down when they realized how much damage we were doing to the trails. Great organization, bad weather.

1 comment:

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