24 Hour Champion Challenge (recap)
Had posted short recap earlier, but when I read it I realized how tired I must have been 'cause it was all jacked up.
What a race. My last Solo of the year and I wanted to well. I gave it my all but came up short of the box. This was a LONG course. 13.5+ miles per lap, with 2 big rock gardens, 1 rocky technical decent, some fast down hill double track, sweet single track (that included a smelly deer carcass that I got to smell 11 times) and a BIG ass climb up to the top of the mountain and the finish.
My buddy John secured a SWEET pit spot right on course about 1/3 into a lap. Wifey and Tom would never even have to leave the pit (unless of course things got shitty, and they would).
Photo courtesy of Love2ride.
Weather was perfect. About 75 degrees and bright blue sky. There were 14 solo starters and a bunch of duo, 4 and 5 person teams as well as corporate class.
All lined up for the Lemans start (can we stop this ritual?). I was at the front. Why I don't know 'cause I would be dropped like a hot potato as soon as the whistle sounded. Up a short grassy hill and a flat, but long run around the lake that would take us to our bikes.
Felt great once I got on the bike. Was cleaning most everything with ease and had a nice pace going. I had my first crash of the race when we hit the rock garden and some dude in front of me took some hay-noose line, crashed and I had to bail. F!
Rock to thigh, ouch!
The first 4 or 5 laps were like clock work and I was pretty geeked up. Wifey was doing a great job handing off bottles, refilling my bladders and giving me food. John B. had to DNF due to vomit and chills but stuck around and helped me out a ton. Thanks John! Tom came around 7 or so, and was there though the night to help with bike repairs.
Around lap 5 John let me know that I was hovering between 2nd and 3rd place. I was motivated but knew that there was a long night ahead.
Once the sun went down things got bad. The temps dropped, the mountain dew was getting things slick and I was underdressed for about lap and half with my teeth chattering so hard they hurt. THEN On a flat section of double track I decided to take a different line between a huge mud puddle and a tree, slammed into a rock fell hitting my side super hard on some rocks, hyper-extended my thumb and fell in said mud puddle. Ouch! I hurt so bad it took my breath away.
I got up and started to move on. Shifted and CLUNK! my chain slipped into my spokes. I knew right then I had bent my derailleur hanger..FFFFFF! Took me about 5 minutes to get the chain out from between the spokes and cassette. Had to do the last huge climb without all my gears. Not happy. Made it to the finish, clocked out and rode down to the pit. Tom put the bike on the stand, I got my spare hanger put on while I ate some horrible Raman noodles and drank a Red Bull. Tom had it changed out in now time. In fact it was so fast when I clocked back in the woman joked about what a short rest I took.
Then on my next lap I got a front flat. F! Always fun at night. I got in 1 or two more night laps and then on the final climb I witnessed an INCREDIBLE sun rise. Good morning!
I was now loosing mad chunks of time. My body was falling apart. My legs were bruised and battered from about 6 crashes and it hurt to move them at all. Then I came by the pit and Wifey told me I was 14 minutes behind the 3rd place rider and to keep pushing. If she only knew. 14 minutes seemed like an eternity.
When I hit the 2nd half of the course I just fell apart. Bonked hard! Walked along muttering like the crazy drunk guy on the corner. I must have looked horrible 'cause when one rider past me he actually asked If I might I need medical attention. Nice.
I SOMEHOW made it to the last big climb. Wifey met me half way up told me I was an half hour behind of the 3rd place rider and had 4th place locked. It was 11:30. I was done. I was physically, mentally and emotionally spent. I sat in the grass with Wifey about 50' from the finish unitl 11:55 I rode up to the finish and chatted with some other racers until clockin in at 12:00. Fin.
I would finish 4th out of 14 starters. Completed 11 laps and rode roughly 150 miles. Disappointed? Yes. Proud that I finished again? Yes. Ready for more? Hmmm lets get a week of recovery in but I think you know the answer.
I know this recap sounds pretty negative. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast. Got to hang out with some great friends meet new friends and ride some great trails. I have a lot of work to do for next year. Not sure what I can do. Ride more? More gym time this winter?
Congratulations to Fatmarc, who's team finished 1st at Seven Springs. I actually got to meet Marc. That was nice. Also congratulations to Jeff Kerkove on his win out in Iowa and to Sologoat, Ernesto Merechin on this 2nd place at Worlds. Great job guys!
No race photos yet and I don't have any picts of vomit like Kerkove posted (nice.) but I have some picts on my wounds. These are just two...
Open sore and bruise on side...
Rock on Mr. Bruised Hand!...
This quote comes from Wifey (a.k.a. JoErin) after I asked her what one of my saddle sores looked like:
Me: (pointing to sore on naked butt cheek) What does this saddle sore look like?
Wifey: It looks like a 4th butt hole.
Wifey: Yeah, cause the other two sores look like butt holes 2 and 3.