The secret of discipline is motivation. When a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself. -Alexander Paterson
Every race you do, you must take away something from it. Learn, develop and strive to be that much better the next time. Often the fight you are picking is with yourself. To be a better rider, a better person.
Last Friday I went up and setup our camp with the help of pit boss, Kimberlee. She graciously drove an extra hour each direction so that I had an extra set of hands to setup three tents and carry everything I would need over the next 2.5 days.
Once everything large was in place and I helped a bit with registration I pre-rode the course very slowly. I have learned the course pretty well over the past year but making notes of sections to take slow at night, pull off’s incase I needed to stop for food, etc etc.
The biggest thing I was debating was if I wanted to wear a Camelbak or not. The temperatures would be hot which means I should drink more water, but it also means the Camelbak would be adding a ton of heat to my bag during the day. I finally decided I would start with the Camelbak and see where it took me.
Last Minute Prep
After pre-riding and seeing how slick the roots were going to be at night I swapped my front Michelin Wild Race’r for the Maxxis Ardent. My new Powertap rear wheel had the Wild Race’r on it, which I would run during the day, swapping to the Fulcrum Red Metal XL wheel with Ardent as I entered my night laps.
I putzed around camp the morning of, moving things around, preparing some bottles, and keeping my brain occupied.
My goal was to look at the 24 hours in 4 blocks of 6 hours. My lap times stayed consistent but my pit times were getting longer. My wrist were killing me as I was taking the downhills pretty darn fast (it really is the only thing I’m good at) and I kept forgetting to take out some PSI everytime I came through the pit. In the first lap I also quickly realized my normal staple drink of Perpetuam wasn’t sitting well in the heat. Even though I have used it for hundreds of miles this year in training, my stomach wasn’t liking it. Around lap 3 I left my Camelbak at the bit and switched to only carrying one bottle of water, a packet of gu chomps and a gel flask. At the halfway point I would stop and down some gel, drink half my bottle and fill it back up.
I needed to switch shorts, my wrist were causing my hands to lose grip on the bars, I probably wasn’t getting enough food, I needed to find my groove.
Lap 7 is when I put lights on. The Seca 1400 was absolutely freaking awesome. I should have had it on my head, not my handlebars. I always use my main light on my helmet, almost never running it on the handlebar. For the first lap I figured I had enough day light to get through and could just run it on my handlebar.
3/4 through the lap, just as you start pointing downhill for the last section, I caught something on a tree. Feet before the rock garden. As I was thrown hard to the ground, my head hit hard, followed by my shoulder and hip. I knew I had to get out of the way, I was in a blind turn and it was dark. If I didn’t move I would get run over. I pulled myself and the bike off the trail to take an assesment of damages. My arm was killing me, my left ankle was killing me from being stuck in the bike as it turned around, my shoulder and collar bone didn’t seem broken which was my initial thought. I started talking to my bike, willing it to simply get me down the mountain and back to my pit. It did just that. I don’t remember much about getting down the mountain. I pulled into my pit and never would leave it again.
My race was over.
The medics checked me over. My shorts and possibly jersey were ruined. I still haven’t checked over my bike. I remember sitting, shivering, in shock. Trying to make light of it all. Faces of my pit crew, the race director and my family all staring at me in the candlelight. Everything hurt. Looking back now I’m glad I didn’t get it in my head to get back on the bike. As it is now 3 days after the race, it still hurts to walk and my body is super banged up. My biggest fear would have been in the slippery night I would have gone down again, or jerked something the wrong way and been left sitting out on the side of the trail waiting for the 4 wheeler to come get me.
One of the guys on the crew, Ben, was keeping my moving lap times. He didn’t show them to me when I was riding but I looked at them the next morning. I was consistently turning hour lap riding times. This isn’t pit times, as those got longer and longer, but the moving time. That made me happy to see. That motivates me to strive onas on Saturday night as I sat there, I never wanted to ride that trail again.
Last year I did 8 laps over 24 hours, sleeping about 7 of those 24. This year I did 7 laps in the first 9 hours. That’s improvement in my eyes.
I need to continue to work on climbing, dial in exactly what I need as the hours go by from food, to chamois selection and motivation.
Thank You Notes..
Though I was only on the bike for 9 hours I owe a great amount of thank you’s.
Kimberlee – Next year she will have a shirt that says pit boss. The only person I trusted as my brain went mush. From food, to entertaining and grounding as the hours went by.
Ben – pure entertainment, time keeper and comedian. He is also really good at putting away a tent!
George – drove up to help and ride with me in the middle of the night. Unfortunately I wrecked out just as that was supposed to happen. He also checked on our dogs and fed them.
Family – It was great to see my parents, they had never to been to an event like this so it was stellar that they could drive down and see what I do for fun.
Wes – The mechanic of the hour came at the exact moment I needed my rear wheel changed and cranks checked over. Next year I need him there the whole time!
Hampton Inn Wilkesboro - The clean sheets and shower were much needed after the abuse I put myself through.
Jason Bum – Race director and stand up guy. He puts on a great event and does it with a smile.
Chris Strout & Family – Chris was a stellar motivator as he hit lap after lap with his solo efforts. His wife Kim and kids were motivating just for being there, smiling and encouraging.
Lizard Skins DSP Handlebar Tape Review
Details from Lizard Skins:
2.5 mm thick for that extra bit of comfort. At 82” of lengththere is ample length for any bar & 50 grams per set
When I first saw the Lizard Skins handlebar tape popping up in the local bike shops I was intrigued. Anytime a company comes out with a product that is twice the price of their competitors they are either idiots or they have some amazing technology worth the cost.
Second thing I saw was that the Lizard Skins company doing a great job with merchandising. They give shops that order a certain amount of minimum product a great eye catching point of purchase. It is a handlebar that allows a consumer to try out the tape, some even have pieces of all the colors and styles available, this is the seller. The tape is different and Lizard Skins knows this – allowing you to try it. It reminds me of the really nice tape you can buy for fancy tennis rackets. It is a bit tacky to touch and only becomes more tacky if it becomes wet. It really hits on the name of the company “Lizard Skins.”
There are many colors to chose from, along with the thickness of tape. 2.5mm is the one I went with for better shock absorption, but there is also a 1.8mm for those that like to “feel their bars.” The color, pink of course!
Long Term Review of the Lizard Skins Handlebar Tape
While my review package of tape showed up in early summer, I wanted to put the tape through its paces. As the tape is almost $40 to wrap a handlebar I wanted to make sure it was worth the cost and continued to feel tacky, padded and pink.
Every time I get on my cyclocross bike with this handlebar tape installed, I am impressed. 600 miles on the handlebars, and the pink is still going strong. A bit dirty, but still pink and tacky.
Not everyone needs to spend this much to wrap their handlebars. If you have a problem with sweaty hands, slippery handlebar tape, maybe have to wear gloves for grip, or you wear through tape a couple times a season.
This tapes for you.
I’ll leave you with this. While at my local cyclocross practice a friend and gear whore, George, saw my tape, felt my tape, asked me about my tape then quickly went out and bought his own tape (not in pink). We both realized quickly that it is durable and perfect for cyclocross.
Disclaimer: Lizards Skins provided this tape free for review, I wasn’t paid or bribed.
Several months ago I had a plan going into the 2011 season. It included a duo race at the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, a solo at the 6 Hour Grind on the Greenway, a ton of riding and then my first solo at Burn 24 Hour. As any good plan there was a few snags within this. My geared race bike, the Airborne Goblin, showed up a few weeks late which kept me on my fully rigid single speed for the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, and kept me from racing the 6 Hour Grind. I quickly started commuting on the Goblin and riding it everywhere possible to get used to the fit and gearing.
I’ve never done a 24 hour mountain bike ride on my own, I’ve never come close to that. Even with tons of great inspiration and information from sources like Rebecca Rusch and Team Ergon I still didn’t know exactly what my body would think or my mind would do. Doing my best to prepare myself I lined myself up with some of the best support and gear a person could ask for. Amazing lights from Light & Motion (Seca 700 and Stella 300.) A great pit setup and location, and a great prepared pit crew.
Preparing for a 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race
Friday I pulled a half day of work, finished packing up the little Jetta and headed up to Wilkesboro from Mooresville NC. Quickly setting up my tent in fear of the rain storms headed towards the race course, I can say the purchase of the REI tent and garage was one of my smartest moves this year so far.
REI Hobitat 6 Tent
Somehow I set up the tent all by myself, losing about 2 lbs of water weight in the process. Looking over my shoulder the whole time at the large RV that was simply sitting there with generator and air conditioning running. Jealousy ran through my head for a moment.
After helping Jason B. with race sign up for 30 or so minutes, I ran out of things to do. I finally sat there in my chair, sucking down water and contemplating my next move. Would it be to nap, eat more beef jerky or go find friends. I sat, and thought about my life until friend, em:pwr teammate and pit neighbor, Stephanie Cole, showed up. We quickly pitched her ez-up, sleeping tent and staked them all to the ground so we could head off to dinner.
What did I eat for dinner the night before my solo race? Really good ribs of course.
Morning of my Race
Sleeping in the tent the night before my race was fine. The weather was perfect and I was sprawled out across two sleeping bags and my Thermarest! The week leading into my race I did my best to be over hydrated. Counting bottles of water as I drank them at work, and having a water bottle near by at all times. I think this was a smart choice but at 11pm, 2am and 4am my bladder thought other wise. The idea of walking around in the dark to the line of port-a-jons, through a large mud puddle and having to wake up enough to do all these things…well it didn’t fly for me. Fortunately for me, I have been taught by my better half to pee in bottles. If you look at the tent photo above we had added a “garage” to the tent. Both sides zip down to provide shelter for the bikes, dogs or whatnot and additional room at night. It also provided a perfect place to “pee in my bottles” in the middle of the night. Between all my wake up calls, I think I filled two bottles and was thankful when 7am came to use a real toilet.
I did my best to setup all my gear, label my batteries, swap my tires from Small Block Eight to the most “mud tire” I owned which is the Bontrager XDX. Checked over my bike and laid out all my gear for the first couple laps. At around 10:30 my pit crew showed up, set up more stuff and prepared themselves for the next 28 hours of their lives.
Introducing my Pit Crew
Somehow I had recruited a few friends to come take care of me, entertain each other and really “hang out” for over 24 hours of their Memorial Day weekend.
Kimberlee - Chef, nutritionist, first aid and medical provider (all of these things came in handy.)
George - Engineer, official time keeper, and master scientist.
Benjamin – Comedian and pit jester.
The race, broken down into bite size pieces will be up for tomorrow. I’m still trying to process everything that happened in that short time span of 24 hours. What I did wrong, right and what I need to do better in life to get me further in racing.