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24 Hours of Moab/National Championships Race Report

By October 14, 2009March 22nd, 20176 Comments

Yuki, Eddie, and I got out to Moab on Friday. Jeff got there a day early to set up camp and get things ready (thanks for the support, Mr. Kerkove!) Upon getting to the venue, we headed out on a pre-ride. I was really glad we did, because there were a couple of spots where I actually stopped to scout out the best line. I have heard mixed reviews of the Moab course, but I actually thought it was really fun! There was a good mixture of technical riding, and fast sections to keep your head sane.

Here is a video of the pre-ride. You can see me stop a couple times to “look over the edge.” I am happy to say I cleared most of the technical sections on every lap (of course, minus nose dive). They tech sections were super fun at night, and didn’t seem quite so bad because you couldn’t really see all of it! Just stay loose, speed up a little bit, and shred!!!

There was one hike-a-bike section called “nose-dive” where I was less than graceful. Semi-slippery bike shoes and having shorter legs made things difficult… but funny for spectator.


Check out the sequence Ultra Rob took!
Ultra Rob Photos

Ultra Rob Photos
Insert funny sound effects

Yuki started for us, and I’m glad he did! Instead, I tried to hang from the running boards of the FJ taking video.

Ultra Rob Photos

This is called a “Lemans” start for those of you who have never been to a 24 Hour race. Everyone has to run a short distance, then get their bike and go. It splits up the field.

Very soon, it was my turn to head out on lap 1. I told myself, “Don’t go out too hard.”

I wore an assortment of fun socks for the day laps on Saturday. 🙂

I, of course, went out too hard on the first lap. Not having much high end fitness this year, I blew up and was trying to just turn it over to get back! I was snappier on the pre-ride compared to the first lap.
Devon Balet's photos
Coming in from lap 1. Thanks for the photos, Devon!

We made the swipe/baton exchange, and off Yuki went.

People were coming in with the baton in THEIR MOUTH, would give it to the official who would hold it in their hand, to their teammate’s hand, and eventually to their teammate’s mouth to do the exchange again. I am amazed more people didn’t get sick. Do you know where that baton has been?! I saw one guy who had his bike shorts rolled to look like underwear, and he was storing them in there. That poor official had to handle batons from all sorts of dark places.

Eddie was racing a solo.

Ultra Rob Photos

Yuki out on course
Ultra Rob Photos

We settled into third place and remained there for the remainder of the race. For my second lap, I rode at a comfortable, hard pace and had the same lap time as my first lap. It was much more enjoyable!

Devon Balet's photos
Rolling out for lap 2.

Devon Balet's photos
Eddie O’dea, digging deep.

The sun started going down on lap 3 for me. I brought my lights (I was running a handlebar and helmet light). My handlebar light didn’t work… the battery fell off and the mount wouldn’t stay still. I felt really great on lap 3, but unfortunately got kinda lost. I followed someone off course and before I realized what was going on, I was way off course, and had to hike back through the desert, looking for a light in the distance to find the trail again. After that, I only trusted myself and looked way ahead for reflective arrows. I pinned it the rest of that lap in order to make it back in time.

Ultra Rob Photos Thanks for Ultra Rob for the photos!

Devon Balet's photos
Yuki heading out on a night lap.

Lap 4,5, and 6 were also night laps… there are more hours of darkness in October! I was happy that my night lap times were pretty consistent. When I was about to come into the exchange area at the end of Lap 6, Jeff was on the trail. He said, “Don’t cross the line! Wait. Stop!” I knew something was up. Jeff said, “Yuki is sick.” I immediately remembered how sick Yuki was at Park City from bonking and dehydration, so I was glad that he stopped. Lap 6 was a tough one for me. I was actually bonking pretty badly, and I hadn’t slept all night (which is what I expected). During that lap, my eyes weren’t focusing, I was having difficulty riding – I felt like I was going to collapse. I ate 3 gels, and a nice guy gave me Clif Blocks. I held myself up on my bike walking back to the tent. Been there more times than I like to admit… I just needed food. I said, “Ok. I just need to maybe sleep for 30 min -1 hr, eat food to get my blood sugar stable again, and then I will go out and ride the rest of the race (It was like 5:20 AM at this point). We were down by about 20 minutes from 2nd, and it was the men in the two teams ahead of us making headway. All of us ladies were turning over very close lap times. I knew I wouldn’t catch 2nd, but I did not want to get caught by 4th.

Jeff went to the timing tent, and discovered that 4th place was having a tough time and was 5 laps back from us. When the sun came up, he checked again and it was the same thing. There was no way they would turn over 5 laps in the remaining 5 hours of the race, so we were set for 3rd place. I didn’t have to go out for 5 hours alone (although now I am wishing I had, just so there was a more climatic end to the race for us!) I simply went to the exchange area, and finally clocked in from lap 6.

This is going to sound sick and wrong, but this is the most fun I have had at a 24 Hour race! I love racing duo!!!! Yuki and I traded off every lap. The hard part about 4 person teams for me is that you get like an hour or two of sleep, and have to drag yourself out of bed to get on your bike. That is more painful to me than riding more laps and not sleeping.

Then came the next hardest part – waiting for the awards! Granny Gear does it so you can leave on your last lap at noon whereas other promoters do it so you have to be in BY noon (so the race is noon Sat to noon Sunday). This ended up pushing the awards to 3 PM. By the time I got to bed on Sunday night, I had been awake for 40 hours straight with a 1 hour nap. I was falling asleep for a split second standing up!

Rebecca Tomaszewski and Dax Massey took the win for the mixed duo. Eszter won the solo women’s race!!!!! Tostado took the men’s win! Troy Barry (Promoter of Pierre’s Hole 100) and Cary won the men’s duo.

Devon Balet's photos
Podium. Heide Volpe and Mario of Sho-Air were 2nd, but not pictured here.

More photos and videos to come from this race… I will post them as they come in!

Thanks to Yuki for being an awesome teammate, and thank you to Jeff for supporting Eddie, Yuki, myself, AND running the Ergon booth. That is no easy task… probably harder than doing the race!
Devon Balet's photos

The event was awesome. Granny Gear did a good job, and the volunteers were hard core (especially the midnight to 7 AM shift).

This closes the book to the 2009 season. Time for a few weeks of doing whatever I want, and then training for 2010 will commence. It’s been a great year! Thank you so much to everyone who helped make it happen, and to you, my blog readers, for the continued support!


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