wow...my legs hurt today!
This is my 5th year to enjoy this race! I have been doing it since it was around and Brian's right...it keeps getting better and better! I have done it solo once(never again) and been on teams the 4 times. Either way is super tough both mentally and physically!
My first year was the horrid 72 hours of rain at clear springs...those of you who were there, i don’t to remind you but for those who weren't, let me just say that it rained for the 2 days leading up to the race and rained the whole time during the race...we also were doing 13 mile laps at the time...my team DNF'd due to lack of proper equipment...my brakes ripped through my rims cause my brake pads had completely disintegrated and were exposing the staples which acted like knives cutting through warm butter...it sucked!
My solo attempt was the next year...it was brutal! I ended up riding with someone who had done several solo races, so I thought I would just hold his wheel...mistake! After riding 9 out of the first 12 hours...I was completely shot! I sat down and never got back up!
Now, I'll give you all my perspective on this whole 24 hour deal from my team's point of view for this year... We have had great luck over the past several years at this race...Indian Cycle has taken the 1st place trophy home for the last two! We have had a core group of riders who have been on those teams, but some of them decided to back out for whatever reason...! So this year I had to make a new team...before anybody had dropped off the team for this year, I had one goal, get the core together, make it stronger and WIN! With that in mind, I called my good buddy wesson and asked him if he wanted to ride or help this year...he gladly answered "help"...so he was to be our team mom...the other racers were to be Max, Brad, myself, and the newest addition...BETZ! I knew that with that group of 4, we would be unbeatable...lots of good speed, lots of experience and some first time motivation coming from Betz...well...First, Max backed out...ok, I'll get Wesson back on the team, cause he was there last year and did great plus he's got such a great outlook on things, he makes a shitty situation funny! Wesson didn't really want to but stepped up to the plate and did a great job! Then, Brad dropped out...good lord...so I called Tanner, who was on the team last year and had done great but I knew he hadn't been riding as much but still decided to ask anyway...he said yes and was fired up...it's easy to be fired up 3 weeks before hand! So there you have it, our team was finally formed...Me(6x 24 hours races), Betz(newbie to 24 hour race), tanner(2x 24 hour race), and Wesson(3x 24 hour race)...The La-a Blazzers! The days leading up to the race were fun. We are all compiling lists of stuff we need/wanted and delegating them out to one another...that list was pretty funny! there was lots of talks about the what's, when's, and how's but for the most part it's pretty simple...racers go one after the other with ABSOLUTLY no down time at the transition area! (more to come on this) So Saturday finally gets here and we all show up about the same time at the campground...with a ton of stuff...way too much, but that's a good thing at these types of races! Since I was team captain, I guess, I had elected Betz to go first, me second, tanner 3rd, and Wesson last...but Betz was too nervous to go first and Wesson didn't want to get stuck doing an extra night lap due to light issues...so we shuffled things up a little...me first, betz second, wesson third, and t dog last... Once the race started, it was all about riding that bike! First set of laps went well...we had created a small gap on the first 3 laps but lost it all on the 4th...we managed to rebuild our lead some but lost our gap when we had two back to back chain breaks! Then night came...it was still a very manageable race even though we had our hands full, I was still optimistic! We were tied around 11p! I actually turned my second night lap with 2nd place...we stayed tire to tire the whole lap...we had built a small lead with wesson going back in the woods and then disaster hit! Just as I lay down for a few minutes, I hear this puking noise...I tell myself that it isn't one of my team mates...but it was...T Dog was fading fast and I knew we were in trouble...I had never had to fight with less men! Wesson and I talked and almost decided that we going to just call it and chill...pretty crappy on our part...Betz was out in the cold, dark woods and we didn't even go up to the transition area to tell him...just waited on him to get back to camp...well, once he got back, he was not happy! He told us he was going back out and for one of us to be ready...I was shutting down but Wesson, like always, stayed positive! Wesson, got me up and made me drive him to the trailhead to do his lap...I still wasn't sold on the idea...mind was playing tricks on me...I got back down to the camp and laid back down for about 10 minutes...Betz got back and was very nonchalantly talking me into doing another lap...I didn't want to at all...BUT, i summoned up a little strength and suited up, turned my 5th lap! The race was all but out of hand by this point...I think BC told me we were back by about 50 minutes...too much to pull back...once daylight got here, I found new life! Wesson finished up a nice, steady night lap, which was the last dark lap of the day, so I was turned out on to a new day with new light...I wanted to stay smooth and steady...I finished up and Betz went out. Wesson and I decided that I would do the next lap to build any lead possible on 3rd place then let him finish up on the last lap as more of a joy ride...he was getting tired...so I turned another...thinking that this was going to be my last lap, I tried to go out and do a little faster lap...turned in a 55 and though I was done...BUT, while we were waiting on Betz to get back for Wesson to go out, we noticed at the transition area, 1st place was really only up about 10 minutes up on us...after several slower laps form them and a few faster laps from Betz and I, we were WAY closer than I thought...so again, wesson talked me into going out and giving it my best to pull the leader back...I turned in a 53 minute lap and pulled back over 7 minutes from Team Buckwheat but to no avail...they won by 3 minutes...wow, what a close race!
It was a lot of work and fun at the same time...thanks brian for this experience!
JUST for a little shout out to the ladies...Clair on her big solo effort and the cougars...way to set the bar!