Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wausau24 Part 1 Racing the Sunset

I am not sure what it is about 24 hour racing that keeps me coming back for more, but it takes a strange and rare breed to get excited about sitting in the saddle for over 24 hours.  During a race like this you can go from high heat and humidity to cold and rainy at any given moment.  Rocks become slippery after being ridden over by hundreds of different tires.  Roots become slippery, rocks and logs become dislodged and branches come out of nowhere to slap you in the face.  Day turns into night and corners become blind.  As the 12 hour racers finish, you see less and less people and you find yourself imagining things and at times talking or even singing to yourself.  The air becomes chilled and some fog sets in and you can't tell the difference from the fog or dust.  Bats from above diving down all around you as you jump in and out of the singletrack. As each stop through solo row goes by I feel a little better each time until at one moment it all goes south and a break was much needed before things turned for the worst.  I rested and shook off the stomach bug, drank some coffee and rode into the sunrise.  I managed to get in a few more laps and at a pace that rivaled that of my early afternoon laps some 18 hours earlier.  I began my last lap and took each section one at a time saying to myself  "this is the last time through this section and that section"

This years' Wausau24 was something I will not soon forget.

With the new sherrif in town organizing the race after the epic fail of a certain east coast promoter.  The event was in great hands with Adam Schmidt, Josh Halverson, and course designer extrodinare, Matt Block.  These guys did a hell of a job and without charging an arm and leg.  I am looking forward to doing this all over again in 2011 as I complete my transformation to a 24 hour racer.

I set up my pit along solo row once again and began to get everything set up and ready for the race.  Jason had my bottles set to go and was helping with the fundraising efforts prior to the race getting started.  I was really expecting and hoping for some great things this year as I was helping a friend (Tim Wissbroecker) with his mounting expenses stemming from a hit and run accident that left him with multiple fractures and other damages that will take an exstensive time to heal.  After suiting up and doing a quick interview with a local news station I applied a healthy dose of chamois butter and jogged to the start line, it was time to get some. 

I was glad to see so many familiar faces and some old friends that have previously boycotted the race.  The pre-race chatter was so loud that we couldn't hear the national anthem or the countdown.  Before we knew it the time was here to run to our bikes.  I stayed comfortable and jogged easily to my Mamasita, which proved hard to find considering the amount of them at the race and even having the green Ergons.  I found my bike though and continued on my lap.  I tried to keep my pace and not worry about the team riders busting out of the gates as I know that I had over 24 hours to ride my bike and it does me no good to push the pace this early on.  The only regret came in the form to the entrance to #3 the first time across Redbud Road where I got stuck in a log jam of sorts on the first rock garden and again on #1.  Across Redbud again and into #6 things began to string out a little bit and I was getting a rhythm going.  The doubletrack to HoChi was still wet which made the climb up HoChi really interesting to say the least as I've seen so many different lines through the rocks, but I used my typical line through that section and through #12 and was home free for lap 1.  Lap 2  started off with me and a few others taking the wrong turn into the first section of singletrack, but I had Brett in front of me leading the way through singletrack and made up all of the time we lost as that dude can ride the hell out of singletrack.  from the top of the gravel climb and out by checkpoint charlie I began to have conversations with Scott Cole as he was helping his brother Mark along to his 8th place finish in the 12 solo (nice job Mark).  I mean out of nowhere he would show up and keep telling me to stay consistent and that is a phrase that stuck with me all day long. I had a couple of bad laps somewhere during the normal lunch hour time I would take on 12 hour race, but I remembered to eat more at that time and not stop and luckily there was some tylenol around to help with the correllating headache.  I got back some of the time lost while being in a funk and I was bridged up shortly to Salsa Pro Danielle Musto.  We continued to chat during the next couple of laps which was refreshing considering I've been kind of bored riding by myself for a few laps prior to that, but when I stopped to get my lights she continued on to her pit and that would be the last we would see of each other till the awards as she took the 1st place spot on the box in the womens 12 solo (great job Danielle).  Now it was nightfall and this is when things began to get quite interesting.

To Be Continued.......