Looking Back at my First Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race
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.