Somewhere out in the high desert of Tuscon was a small oasis called 24 Hour Town. After a few days of pre-riding the course and selling mucho Ergon product, race day had arrived.
All the people at the start. It was mass running start, so I was holding Yuki’s bike while he sprinted like the wind.
The 4 of us entered the 5 Person Co-ed Category. There wasn’t a co-ed category for 4 people, so we were already down 1 person. No worries though, because we were there to have a good time and get in a few laps to build fitness, and of course, mingle with all our racer buddies! I was upset about being sick for the race. I haven’t done a 24 hr race since 24 Hr Nats in 2006. I have done well in all the 24 hour team format races I have done and wanted to do my part, so I was definitely beating myself up a little. I raced for the first 12 hours.
Yuki turned over a smokin’ fast first lap leaving me a good starting position for my first lap. It was really tough. I haven’t done any intensity since September, so going at a time trail effort in February is pretty much the most self-inflicted painful thing I can do to myself. And pain it was, I was drooling, grunting, making faces. It was sexy. I tried to stay out of the pro guys way who were coming up like a freight train behind me. I also observed how sloppy I was on the singletrack at warp speed – I get more smooth in zone 99 as the season progresses. I think the lap also hurt pretty bad b/c I didn’t do any openers leading up to the race, trying to conserve my energy.
I know I probably shouldn’t post a proof, but this pic is too funny not to post.
For my second lap, I decided to back it off and ride in zone 4 because it was more comfortable for my fitness level, and the lap was 100x more enjoyable. Of course, there was a ton of traffic on the course which also forced me to slow down, but I had the most fun on lap 2. I came in just after dark so the last 10 min or so of the lap were a little… uhh… dark.
Lap 3 came at 10 something at night. I was amped to go. The problem was that when I tried to push down the gas, the engine turned off. My HR was super low (back to the problem I was having the last 2 weeks – the fatigue monster) and I couldn’t push very hard. The effort level was that of my last lap – AVG HR of 187… but this time, my AVG HR was very low zone 3-161. Halfway through the lap, my arms and legs were shaking and I felt as if I’d have to get off and walk. I just had to finish the lap… and that I did. Immediately I got off my bike and walked back to the RV. It was the first moment that I felt I was hampered by being sick. My coach, Jeff’s coach, and I decided I needed to rest after midnight. The guys switched over to 3 man rotations while I tried to rest. Through not so restful sleep, I got up at 5 AM, hoping to get out to do another lap. I was nauseated, flushed, and weak. Jeff took one look at me and said, “I really don’t think you should go out for a lap. You don’t look so good.” I was super bummed, but I knew he was right. I spent the rest of the morning supporting the guys and making food so they’d eat. It’s hard to eat deep into a 24 hour race. Nothing sounds good…so sometimes you have to rely on the olfactory lobe to whet your appetite.
Dave Wiens’ last lap.
Jeff going out on his last lap at 11 AM the next day.
Forward to 27 seconds. I know… I do not have a steady hand. Oh well.
We ended up winning the race! Yuki, Jeff, and Dave held so strong for the last 12 hours of the race. The team in second place consisting of Jen and Dave Wilson definitely made us work for the win. They were awesome and I know they were racing a man down as well. By the end, as a team, we had raced 21 total laps giving us the overall win for the 5 person category, and 4th out of all categories.
Thanks so much to my teammates, all the volunteers at the race, everyone who came by the booth, all the people who cheered for us, to Epic Rides, and to our wonderful sponsors!