I am still amazed at the people who go out and are able to do the 24 hour events solo. Personally just being on a 5 man team was a huge effort for me.Ã‚Â An endurance race like this is more than just an effort of physical endurance,Ã‚Â you also have to deal with the effects of sleep deprivation,Ã‚Â and there are a lot of logistics which you don’t think about.Ã‚Â Food was one issue which I goofed up on.Ã‚Â My total times were improved slightly over last years but not as much as I felt they should have.
Lap 1 (11AM) – It was fairly cool outside all day Saturday with a nice cool ocean breeze blowing all day long. On my first lap I really poured it on as hard as I could, in retrospect perhaps I should have taken it a little easier so I would have a little more energy later on in the race. Since this was the second lap the field was still packed fairly tightly and I wound up spending a lot of time and energy passing people in the Couch Canyon area. I even passed a couple people going up Hurl Hill. Next came Skyline Road which is a rolling ridgeline fireroad that goes mostly downhill. I’m not generally a fast fireroad descender but I discovered that if you get your weight way back like you are doing technical descending you have a remarkable amount of control and actually accellerate faster than pedaling while flying over loose gravel and small ruts.
Next is the Contour trail and Ewok Trail, these are the parts of the trail where my riding really shined the entire ride. The rolling singletrack on the contour trail is very much like the Connector Trail in Auburn only not quite as flowy. Almost every lap I would wind up catching and passing at least someone on this section. Ewok trail is simple a fun little mile long series of switchbacks which spits you out on the bottom of The Grind… the climb out.
My first lap I just hammered up The Grind as fast as I possibly could. No strategizing, just grunting up. I had a goal in mind for how long I wanted to take to finish the lap and I knew the bulk of the time would be made or lost on that climb. I was doing very well until about 2/3 of the way up the climb my chain dropped into my spokes while I was downshifting. I fixed it pretty quickly but I lost some time and I also lost my momentum. It cost me even more time while I got my rhythm going again. Finally I crested the hill and cut across to the bridge and around the infield. 56 minutes for my first lap… better than last years best lap by 1 minute. Not as good as I hoped but an improvement anyhow.
Lap 2 – Second lap started sometime around 4PM and even then it was still quite cool outside. I was still feeling fresh and again I went out hammering as hard as I could. On my second lap I took it a little easier and used my granny gear a bit more though in the beginning of the ride. I wound up running up the last 1/3 of Hurl Hill and it didn’t seem to cost me much time. Somehow I managed to finish my second lap only slightly slower than my first, 57 minutes.
Lap 3 – 9PM OUCH, somehow this lap was much tougher than the previous 2. I used a loaner bike from Kona and it was a little heavier than my Titus which might have played a part in it but mostly I was just beat. Also,Ã‚Â thoughout the lap I was belching and had an upset stomach,Ã‚Â I think I had eaten too much and improperly before this lap.Ã‚Â I was in granny gear early and often in the Couch Canyon area and ran/ walked up most of Hurl Hill. I also had a mechanical on the demo bike which was frustrating. On the climb right before Hurl Hill the chain fell into the spokes as I was downshifting… Grrr I’d just fixed this on my bike now I’m having the same problem on this one!! On Skyline Road though I was faster than on the Titus due to slightly better travel and use of the big chain ring (it’s chewed up too much to be of use on the Titus). Also on the singletrack the extra 2″ of travel in the back really sucked up the breaking bumps. Going up the grind hurt a lot though. Again I was in granny gear quite a bit and on my first two laps I had stayed in the middle chain ring for almost the entire climb. I finished this lap a full 8 minutes slower than my previous one at coming it at 65 minutes.
Lap 4 – 2:30 AM Wow,Ã‚Â what a difference 2 hours of snooze makes,Ã‚Â I was feeling much better on this lap.Ã‚Â I was also back on my Titus.Ã‚Â While I was still in granny gear for most of Couch Canyon I rode all the way up Hurl Hill and in general I was feeling much better than on lap 3.Ã‚Â In fact this lap I found myself in a really strange mood,Ã‚Â perhaps it was the lack of sleep.Ã‚Â I was actually singing to one of the solo riders on the Hurl hill climb trying to cheer her up.Ã‚Â The climb up the Grind was surreal.Ã‚Â I turned my headlights off and just did the climb by moonlight.Ã‚Â The combination of the moonlit view of the valley with the full moon,Ã‚Â and the riders rolling up the hill in procession was breathtaking.Ã‚Â I waxed poetic about it to other riders and just really enjoyed the ride.Ã‚Â I thought I would do much better than on my 3rd lap but I only finished it a minute faster,Ã‚Â rolling in right at 64 minutes.
Lap 5 -Ã‚Â 8:30 AM a little more sleep after the last lap but not much.Ã‚Â Stuffed some eggs into my stomach and some oatmeal but not too much,Ã‚Â after that 9PM lap I wanted to make sure I didn’t overeat.Ã‚Â Somehow even at 8:30 in the morning Sunday was much warmer than Saturday.Ã‚Â Most of the lap I was feeling quite well and I managed the climb up Hurl Hill again on this lap.Ã‚Â The rest of the ride wasn’t very memorable at all though.Ã‚Â I just remember as i was climbing up the grind “Please, please someone else do the final lap”.Ã‚Â There was just enough time after my lap for one more lap and when I had left I said that if no one else did the last lap I would.Ã‚Â Fortunately when i got over the hill Jim was waiting for me at the bottom.Ã‚Â My time for my final lap:Ã‚Â 63 minutes.
We got out of the event pretty quickly after it was over.Ã‚Â Char had most of the camp packed up and after Jim came in from his lap Char and I hit the road.Ã‚Â These 24 hour events are a lot of fun and my team was a great help.