Over the next few days I’ll be posting rambling post, maybe gear setup thoughts and simply going a bit bonkers prior to my 24 solo race next weekend at Burn 24 in Wilkesboro, NC. (Ladies sign up, I need people to ride with in the middle of the night!)
A few more last decent rides left before race day. Tonights ride will be to test out light setups, battery burn times, and night setup. I’ll have a good amount of rambling thoughts after sitting 4 hours in the dark tonight.
If you are around tonight not doing anything, come ride with me! Will be leaving the house and riding down to North Meck Park. If you need lights I got a couple extra sets for borrowing.
Speaking of Lights.. Don’t Be Left in the Dark at Burn24
Long time sponsor of the Bike Shop Girl, Light & Motion is coming back strong in 2012 and there’s no excuse for you to be left in the dark on Dark Mountain. They’re bringing the goods for you to demo and keep the aliens at bay. We will have brand new Seca 1400s ($50), Seca 800s ($45), Stella 600 Duals ($40), and Stella 300s ($40) available to rent. A killer deal will be offered for anyone who wants to ride with a helmet and bar-mounted light – $75 for the race bundle, a Seca and Stella!!! All systems come with a battery and can be used as helmet or bar mounted lights. We also have additional batteries available to rent. Our friendly staff will help outfit you with lights, label your batteries, and give you tips to ride confidently and fast at night!
Reserve your rental by contacting Heidi at email@example.com. Let her know soon. The race is next weekend and it’s a long way from CA to NC.
Turn on the gas when the sun goes down for a chance to win your own Seca 800! The male and female with the fastest night lap will walk away with just that, a new light. If that’s not enough, pick up a coupon for 15% off your next light purchase from Light & Motion. Don’t be left in the DARK!
Lately when I race and people ask how it was I simply can’t answer as I don’t feel like I am really racing. I feel like I’m riding around in circles, trying to find the next gear within my own. I’ve finished mostly last for the past year of my cycling life. I argue with myself that this place is better than not starting which I had been doing for the year prior. I struggle with the mental piece, knowing I am better than this, knowing that I am the puppet master and only allowing myself to fall.
Racing for the past year has been motivation. At the finish line when I knew I could have done better, that is motivation. I pay the race entry fee so that the other girl doesn’t come in last, and that I get a small kick in the ego…large enough to want more, but small enough not to do anything about it.
Doing Burn 24 Hour was this. There were moments on the trail I was questioning my sanity. Especially at 11:30pm when the roots were wet, my chamois was sweaty and my glasses were so fogged up from the humidity I was simply praying the whole 7 mile lap not to bust my face open.
I question why I slept for 5 hours. I question why I didn’t bring my full suspension bike with more “wet root friendly tires.” I question if I could have done 12 laps instead of 8. I question if my pit crew thought I was a pain in the ass and realize how much I appreciate them.
Looking back at this event I question myself, my strength and my will to do better in life.
Maybe that is the point of racing? To question yourself and everything that leads up to the moment. How else can you become better if you don’t question and change yourself?
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.
The guys behind Burn 24 Hour race in Wilkesboro, NC are trying to get more ladies to enter their race. If you haven’t heard about this race it is THE 24 hour race in the southeast. Anyone that is anyone has raced this event during its lifespan. Now it is your chance to do it for 20% off.
The BMCC and the B24 want to see you on the trail. The women’s classes have suffered the last couple of years at the B24. We’ve set attendance records both of those years so there’s no excuse for you not to come race. After a brief hiatus, we’ve added the Women’s Duo category back to the fold. Currently, the solo female class is a no show but The Betty Project is back and so are the Dirt Divas to contest for the Women’s team podium. In efforts to entice you to to join the field, we’re going to reduce the registration fees for all lady’s categories. Enter coupon code BIKE SHOP GIRL to receive 20% off the current fees. After you register, check out bikeshopgirl.com for Motivational Mondays, product reviews, news, race recaps and all things relevant to women’s cycling.