Cool 24-hr Race 2010
May 1-2, 2010
"We choose to race 24 hours. We choose to race 24 hours in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
--John F. Kennedy (mostly), 1962 speech at Rice University
This was our first 24-hour race as a 2 man team. I had done a few 8-hour races, the last one being solo. This was a little different.
We arrived with my travel trailer on Friday the 30th, and setup our pit and got the bikes ready. We took a pre-ride lap in the late afternoon on Friday, going really slow and checking out the nuances of the course. As I had done the 8-hr solo on this course in October 2009, I was intimately familiar with the 11.5 mile route. It had rained the Wednesday before, but high temps and strong winds dried out most of the course. Most of it. There were several really snotty sections, and those would get worse as the event progressed.
Start time was 12 noon on Saturday, with the solo 8's and 24's going off first. Mark started for our team, as this was his first real race and I wanted him to get that experience. Plus I knew it would not do him any good to sit and stew for an hour if I had started. So off he went.
The first few laps went pretty quick - I turned in a 1:03, 1:05, and then a 1:06. Mark was a little behind that pace but was riding strong. He had a couple minor falls, but did not get hurt (except maybe the old pride). We had previously mapped out a preliminary schedule of laps with projected start and end times based on estimated average speeds. We decided to each do one night lap at first, then double up twice overnight. My first night lap was a 1:13, which I thought was a little slow, but turned out to be the fastest.
The course did not improve, at least in the sections that were already muddy. We put on dry socks before each lap but less than a mile in your feet got soaked. So as the night drug on and the temperature dropped into the low 40's, hands and feet started getting very cold. We wore sleeves and tights and while my core temp while riding was fine, extremities got very uncomfortable.
The trailer was very convenient, allowing us to manage our nutritional needs and lie down for rest. When I finished my night double, I got extremely cold and was shivering uncontrollably for a time. The trailer heater was cranked up full blast and eventually I warmed up and slept for about 20 minutes.
We had no crew support, which made things much more challenging. At home, Dale was taking care of our 1-month old baby, so she was up most of the night as usual. She was able to figure out when I would be in the pits overnight, and called my cell a few times which was a huge morale boost.
Sunrise was a very, very welcome sight. Mark was out riding at that time, and it got light about half way around that lap. The warming temps were also very welcomed. Neither one of us payed particular attention to the scoreboard, although I snuck a peek and discovered we were in 5th place in the early morning. That was right in the middle of the 9-team category. Our riding buddies Dan & Jason were in 3rd, and they were going strong. Way to go Guys.
Mid-morning on Sunday, we started trying to do the math on how many laps were ahead of us. You'd be amazed how difficult simple tasks become when you are near exhaustion! We got it figured out, and realized there would not be enough time for an 18th lap as planned. So, the last two laps, we were able to more or less "relax" and just get around the course.
I rode the final lap for our team, a semi-respectable 1:18. All I could think about was "don't do anything stupid" and hoping I wouldn't have a mechanical! I got around, and was greeted by Mark, his wife, and Dale. My Mom and son were back at the pit hanging out, and I very much wanted to get back there and see him. Our team wound up in 4th place, Dan & Jason took 2nd by a very slim margin. Woo hoo!
Final stats: 17 laps, 194.3 miles, 23 hours 17 minutes. Mark did 9 laps, I did 8.
This was a great first time out for both of us. We got pretty lucky with no major mechanicals, no real physical problems. Both bikes, and both sets of lights performed flawlessly. Will we do another 24-hour race? Heck yeah! Bogg Mountain in July is next.