Saturday, September 25, 2010

24 Hours of Hanson Hills

I was looking forward to this race as it would be my first 24 hour attempt. I didn't know what to expect and my fitness was okay, not exactly where I would have liked it to be, but like most things, life steps in and takes away a little training time. So with that said, I was packing and getting things ready as early as 4 days before race day. The box was on top of the Jeep and I was ready to roll Friday after work.

I arrived in Grayling around 7:30PM and checked into my motel. Once I got settled in I decided to go to Glen's Market and get some 24 hour race day food. What's funny is that I normally wouldn't guy these items, so it was funny when I arrived at the check out and the cashier rang up, two Red Bulls, an 8-pack of small Cokes, a box of strawberry Pop Tarts, a bag of Fun Size Pay Day candy bars and bag of Frito's! With light batteries charging and all the junk food to fuel any endurance athlete, I was ready to go.

The alarm rang at 7:00AM. I look outside and it's cloudy and looks chilly. I immediately look at the weather on my trusty Droid X and see a large weather cell with some heavy rain not to far away and heading straight for us. I decide to forgo everything and go to the Hanson Hills ski area and set up the pit, which includes a tent and awning and a few extra things to make my next 24 hours easy. Just as I finish, the rain starts coming down and it's a steady heavy rain, whew! After I check my new home, I go back to my room and check out and get a little breakfast and head back to H.H.

I get back just in time to suit up, check tire pressure and take a last minute pee and head to the start line with about 8 seconds to spare, the gun goes off and our 24 hours of racing begins. I settle into a nice pace with a 12 hour racer setting a nice even pace, not fast at all which is good, I would hate to go out to fast. I follow my pacesetter for the entire first lap and there's actually 4 of us content to ride together, which made it pretty nice.

At the end of each lap, I would roll into my pit which was about 40 feet from the course and grab a new water bottle with some nutrition in it and maybe pop a couple Endurolytes, get back on the bike and roll. After 4 hours I take a little break, snap a pic of my pit and bike (see above) and post it on Facebook, I knew some of my biking buddies would appreciate a time out during a race to post on Facebook and it gave them something to talk about while SITTING ON THEIR COUCH!!! =;)

I liked coming in after each lap which took around 1:05 and actually getting off the bike for about 15-20 seconds and getting what I needed and then immediately back on the bike. I didn't feel any of the 4 hour blues, I felt pretty good, so that was a good sign, but this pace was slower than my 12 hour pace so I didn't expect it to be there. Where it did come was about the 8 hour mark, so I decided to take a long break and get my lights ready. When the time came, I was ready to rock when the sun went down. I only managed two laps in the dark and I was ready to take a long break.

As I curled up in my sleeping bag with a plan of getting up around 3 or 4 at the very latest I was having a hard time going to sleep, with noisy neighbors and loud music for the 24 hour competitors. So I didn't sleep much and I believe I finally fell asleep around 12:30AM. I woke up once and it was quiet, stuck my head out of the sleeping bag and thought that the weatherman was right for once, it was definitely in the 30's. So without hesitation, I got back n the sleeping bag and fell back to sleep.

I finally woke up at 5:00AM and immediately changed into dry warm clothes, the temperture was 33 degrees and the sky was super clear and I seen a million stars on my walk to the "Standings Board" to see where I was at. I was not to surprised to see I was one lap down in the Single speed category. I did a quick math calculation and figured I had time to do 4 laps and if I felt super good, maybe 5, but that would be stretching it. So I set out at 5:00AM, it's 33 degrees, pitch black and very, very lonely. The 2nd big climb of the course I come upon a cyclist, he's a single speeder, and happy to say, he's pushing his bike where I am riding mine. It happens to be the first place guy and I tell myself that "I'm riding, he's pushing and there's 5 hours to go and plenty of time to get the lead back. I am rejuvenated early on and it helps me with the next two laps.

I watch the sunrise on the tail end of my second lap and the sky change colors, it turns out to be a beautiful morning and the lights on the bike are soon turned off. I come into my pit, mix two bottles in anticipation of two more quick laps. It's funny, I have come to two endurance races and late in the game have found some energy to keep forging on!

I'm on my fourth lap of the morning and thinking if I hurry, I can make it into the start/finish in time to do another and hopefully secure first place. As I near the end, I have forced to walk the long last climb. I make it to the top and remount the bike and start pedaling. I look at my watch and realize that no matter how fast I go, there's no way I can make it to the start/finish in the next 10 seconds, so I just finish safely and roll in. I can hear Brent annoucing my name and saying something to the affect that time has run out and I missed the cut off just incase I wanted to do another lap. I wasn't to disappointed and I was ready to accept any placing I got.

As I rolled past the start/finish I ask where my nemisis was and he was actually within ear shot and shouted out, "here I am." He was changed into regular clothes and looked pretty fresh, so I assume that he stopped a lot sooner than I. I soon find out I got first place, beating him by one lap.

I managed 2nd overall in the solo categories, not to shabby for a 50 year old asthmatic on a totally ridid single speed!!!

I did learn a few things though. 1. Have your light scenario all worked out well before the race. 2. Frito's and their salty goodness hit the spot. 3. I didn't need any realy solid food besides that. I survived on few gels and Hammer nutrition, namely Sustained Energy and Endurolytes.

Ride safe!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Addison Oaks Cross Country

I like racing Addison Oaks for some reason, it's a nice "track". I signed up for the Expert/Elite Single Speed class, something I promised I would do last year. I was using this race as a hard training day as it was one week before my very first 24 hour race.

We lined up and there was 8 of us, which is a lot larger than last years entries. The gun went off and I settled into 4th place and kept the 3 in front of me in my sights. I watched them all gain about 5 seconds on each other and the gaps didn't change much until the paved trail at the north end of the park. Then it split up a little bit more, or should I say, I fell off a little bit. I was not worried, I was racing at my pace and was staying there, although I wanted to do some drafting, it wasn't imperative that I did or did not, it would just make my life a little easier.

A mechanical would take out the 2nd place guy and that would move me up to third. I could see the guys in front of me in one place on the second lap, but they were to far in front of me to make a run for it. So I settled in again and did my best to keep those behind me...well, behind me. When on the end of the second lap a single speeder come up on me pretty fast and I was ready to let him go by, he said he didn't want to and we flew through the single track in unison. We passed a few slower sport riders and kept our pace up, we came around the start/finish area and he kept up a nice pace and I slowed to grab a water bottle from a pit crew member. Got my mojo going again and I went back out for my third lap feeling good.

The third lap was good, on pace of the first two laps and I was feeling good and I couldn't see any competition coming up, so I was happy. At the start of my fourth and final lap I climbed the Water Tower Hill and caught a few slower riders. At this point I just assume they are leftovers from the Sport race, but I come up to a group of 8 riders in a single file line in the first single track section and no place to pass. This went on for the entire last lap, although it did slow my lap time down by 2 minutes there was no mishaps that I seen and the beginners were enjoying their foray into mountain bike racing...and that's what it's all about!

I ended up with 3rd place which was a pleasant surprise.

Ride safe!

12 Hours of Drummond Island

Well, it was a wet weekend up north and it didn't disappoint for the 12 Hours of Drummond Island. Although it did hold off until the later hours of the race it made the first mile of the course pretty scary, I crashed on my 3rd to the last lap, so I was a little apprehensive after that. Once the darkness came, I was done and only managed 7 laps.

The overall series is my number one priority and I didn't want to chance another crash and yet another injury. This has been the year of crashes and injuries for me and I was the only in my class, so I was unmotivated to go out in the dark. I will save it for another day.

Ride safe!