(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?