Sunday, September 12, 2010

12 Hours of Pitch Black Singletrack

(Pic Would Go Here But THEY Want $20 Bucks For It)

The cheerful and recovered author paid the price to get the win at the WEMS 12 Hours of Pitch Black Singletrack.  You see, this 12 hour solo event wasn't quite like the others.  The race started after sunset and finished just after sunrise from 8pm to 8am.  This was a new journey for me despite all of the night hours I've been fortunate enough to ride in the darkness. 

I had to start fast and finish fast all throughout the night and usually I am used to already having good knowledge of the course and have sections already picked out to drink, recover, and hammer to put time into the field.  The race started with the typical run to the bikes where I swear I had to be the last one to get mounted and on my way.  Luckily for me the leadout was flat and long where I picked up at least a dozen spots and passed some of my competitors flying up the first long climb.  I settled into a pace with Tim Bates, who was racing 3 hour solo.  I had my fair share of mistakes on the course while feeling it out and really got frustrated with my tech skills.  I did manage to settle down and began to start tilting my line of sight upward and that seemed to make a difference.  All too often you get caught looking at your front wheel and where you don't want to go as opposed to looking ahead and where you do want your bike to go. 

The rest of the first lap went okay and got a sense of what sections will be hike a bike due to keeping the bike in working order and also to save energy.  My lights were almost ridiculous and really didn't have a need for bar and helmet light and powered one off completely and the other was only on at half output.

I made a plan in those first few laps as I caught and passed several others out there on the trail that I would only be making two stops.  The first would happen 4 hours into it to switch batteries and took advantage of the time to drink some boost and eat a banana.  The same would take place on the 8th hour where I drank two boosts, ate a banana, took some ibuprofen for the my ailing knee.  I dealt with the annoying soreness of my right knee for as long as I could handle it, but as would go with any bout with tendonitis it got to the point where I couldn't turn the cranks.  At about hour 10 the sun tried to sneek a peek over the horizon and I discovered that I could make the knee work as long as I continued to pedal.  This became really difficult while decending and the pain on the upcoming climbs would be insane to the point of almost being unable to make it up the climb.  The first sustained climb on each lap never hurt as I could pedal all the way to the beginning stretch of it, but some of the others you rolled into the climb and the sharp pain would get worse and worse.

Laps came and went and by the time I came around for the 12 lap I had it under wraps, but now it became a sense of pride and sticking it out for another lap and only finished about 6 minutes off the pace of my first one.  I came across the finish line as the winner traveling 89 miles at night in 11 hours and 33 minutes.  Now it's time to get some at cheq fat.  I have big plans for that race as we have a history.  Who is up for a blizzard challenge?

Wausau24 Part 2 Looking Back and Time for Breakfast

A blog I wrote on July 27, 2009 shortly after the titled "24-9 A Catastrophic Failure" ran its course as did the short lived battle with mono, I ended that post with "Redemption will be the word to describe 2010!"  Little did I know how real that statement would become.  As I ponder and gather my thoughts of what the night laps had in store for me I now realized that I am getting better and better with each passing 24 solo event and that sickening feeling holds off longer and longer each time I do one.  I hope at one point I wont get the weird dizzy spells and naucious feelings, maybe next year? 

Anyway, the night laps went pretty well.  I would have good laps where I cleaned each section with ease, but there were times where others kicked up rocks and dislodged logs and I wisely jumped off to save myself and my bike.  A fog started settling in but my lights were doing the trick.  I was quite pleased with the performance of my light setup and the burn time.  I came and went through the pits the only time I sat was when it was time to change batteries so killing 2 birds with one stone seemed appropriate and I was still in the right frame of mind that I could sit and not quit.  I continued to click off laps and then the big one came.  at around 5:30 or so I became very dizzy and sick to my stomach I thought I was going to get sick, but I did lay down for a little while, made a visit to the bathroom and got back out there.  I wasn't sure what to expect but the lap times of the last three laps were pretty good and rivaled that of my late afternoon lap times.  Then out of nowhere my wife shows up with coffee and that was exactly what I needed and I finished pretty strong.  I wasn't completely destroyed at the finish but was looking forward to having some RedEye goodness added to mix. 

I was quite pleased with the outcome this year at the Wausau24, but will look to continue my improvement into next year as I will be back and looking to improve on my top 5 finish.  The most important thing, I raised roughly $1,200 for the Wissbroecker family.  I am very thankful for all the help this year.  Jason kept the bottles filled and the lights charged, John from Sprocketz supplied more than I asked and was a great supporter for the fundraiser.  Of course my wife for putting up with my training antics and supplying coffee in the early morning hours.  Kevin at RedEye for the post race brew.  Thanks to Muddy Paws for resurrecting a race and doing an excellent job I only hope it continues to be as successful if not more in years to come.  Matt designed a killer course can't wait to see what's in store for 2011. 

Now it's onto some wems races and cheq fat.  After that I will continue to work on my trails in Bradley Park and work on getting two races scheduled to occur there hopefully in 2011.