This was to be the only event not “on or up” the Auto Road. I added it as a little bonus since it was held at the base of the Auto Road and put on by the same great folks at Great Glen Trails.
I had been working on Coach Al and my buddy, Rod (my mountain bike riding buds) to put together a team for this race. It did not take that much convincing, and they put together a 4-man team.
One of the neat things about the 24 hour race is you camp out Friday and Saturday nights. The field at the base of the Auto Road is transformed into quite a tent city! Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I enjoy my “gear” and this was a great chance to pull it ALL out . With the truck all packed up, and the ATV in tow, we headed back up for the last time this year .
We grabbed a nice spot and began setting up camp for the weekend. Rod followed us up and was there to help out (after figuring out his own tent).
Al and his son AJ showed up a short time later. We were also treated to the company of my Sister, Marcy, and her husband, Phil. We had almost as many supporters as we had riders ! The weather looked great and the riders headed out for a course recon lap.
The course was very dry (a first for me!) and had a few nice changes from years past. Still 8 miles with 1500′ of climbing each lap (which meant a lot of walking for this single speed rider). Even the dreaded “plunge” was still there but with some steps built in…
I came into this weekend like I have for most of my events this year.. with the attitude of “well lets just ride and see how it goes.” I might ride 1 lap or 23, I will not know until I get on course.
The race started at noon Saturday and Al (the first rider on “Team Pursuit Fitness”) and I lined up for the “Le Mans” run around the pond, then on our bikes and on the course.
The first lap is always interesting. All the riders are bunched up and trying to seat themselves. We started at the back and slowly picked off riders. My legs did not feel all that great as I made my way around the course. I started down the “plunge” (about 3/4 mile from the finish) and caught the edge of one of the logs and blew out the bead on my front tire. I stopped and tried to fix it but the tire would not hold air so I walked the bike in… not a great way to start my first lap of the race, but again, I have 24 hours to finish this! Luckily Phil found that I just had some tree bark in the tire bead and once removed, I was good to go! Back out on course… I ended the day with 4 laps and some very tired legs. I showered and had some dinner, still unsure if I would even head back out on course at all.
In the meantime Al, AJ and Rod were picking off laps and having a blast! Both Al and Rod got in some night riding, Rod called it a night around midnight. I was in bed around 10pm .
I awoke to the sounds of Rod getting ready to head back out on course, not sure of the time. Sas and I got busy cooking up some breakfast. Bacon, eggs and yes SPAM as well as a few pots of coffee. I love breakfast!! Meanwhile my Sister Marcy was tirelessly making sure no one in our group finished a lap without her there to cheer them on! Man talk about support! It is hard to explain how nice it is to be greeted and cheered for after a long lap out on the course!
I enjoyed a great breakfast with no real plans of riding any more.. Just kind of enjoying the whole weekend for what it was. After breakfast, Rod came back in and Al suited up and headed out on course. I grabbed my camera and headed out to get some shots of him.
After running around trying to get some pic’s of Al, I decided maybe I could jump back on my bike and get in another lap or 2… So out I went..
Can you say deer caught in the headlights
The first two laps went pretty well, I even got a chance to help Coach Al with a broken chain. The third lap was a little tougher…. I was starting to think maybe I could get in 4 laps if all went well…. but just into the start of the lap I lost my water bottle.. not good, as it was starting to get warm out… I was also starting to cramp a bit. With about a mile to go, I got a rear flat tire. I ride tubeless with tire sealant, but the hole was too big for it to seal. I had a tube with me but decided to just try and ride it in as I kept adding air with my pump. After my first lap issue with the “plunge” I decided to take the walk around route for the rest of my laps..
Time was ticking and I was not sure if I would get in my 4 laps before noon. If you come in just before noon, you can head out for one more lap, however there is a time limit of 1:15 pm. My plan was not to head back out for a 5th lap but the type A in me still wanted to finish under 12 noon … just because . I added more air at the timing tent and headed back out for my last lap. Besides the cramping, I still felt pretty good, much better than the day before. About a 1/2 mile into the lap I was losing too much air so I decided to add my tube to the rear tire, getting worried I would not make my 12 noon goal. I changed it, and off I went. The first few miles of the loop were almost all uphill with most of it too steep for me to ride on my single speed bike. After all the “hiking,” I cramped so bad on a flat section that I fell off my bike. Both calves and quads locked up like they never have before!!! It has also started to rain out for the first time of the weekend. I sat there in pain, I could see the finish tent across the field even though I was only 2.5 miles into my 8 mile loop, and thinking I could just limp in and forgo this last lap. But I decided to give it a little more effort. I really wanted to finish this last lap, so I collected myself and got back in the saddle. I still had a few twinges but overall was holding off any more cramps. The last two laps I rode almost all the hills I had walked the day before. I was still putting in some pretty fast laps for SS. Walk/ran the last long hill and rode in with 5 mins to spare. I was totally shot but very happy with my effort and weekend, mission accomplished!!!!
Here is my file from the weekend…
We spent the afternoon repacking the truck and headed off to the Eagle Mt House for a comfortable bed and a nice shower.
It was a great weekend and I feel so lucky to have Sas with me to share this event with!
Love you hun!!