We had a mass start with both the 12 and 24 hour racers going out together.
My plan was to take the first lap at a steady if somewhat slow pace. It's been three years since my last 24 hour and the whole pacing thing was going to be a bit tricky.
Brandon stayed behind me during this lap and I'm pretty sure the pace was driving him crazy. In fact, we discussed out loud that the pace was driving him crazy.
Once we went through the pits at the end of the lap, Brandon took off and I didn't see him again until later in the afternoon.
During my third lap my back started really bothering me.
This was one of the things Josh had been concerned about leading up to the race.
It was a bit of a gamble as to whether or not 24 hours on the hard tail would be survivable.
In his all knowing way, he borrowed a thud buster seat post from Cullen and that pretty much saved the day! We switched out my seat post for the thud buster and Miss Tokyo between laps 3 and 4.
We also started having Josh roll my back with "the stick" each lap and then he'd apply a layer of biofreeze onto my lower back.
This routine went on for the next five hours. Each time I came to the pit we'd run through this drill and then I'd be back out for another lap.
For nutrition, I went with mostly gels with the occasional solid food item thrown in (hammer bar, pb&j, donut hole).
For hydration, we used nuun in my water bottles and just water in my hydrapak ( And every couple laps I would have a coke or a starbucks espresso double shot....delicious).
With summer now behind us, you could feel the night starting to take hold around five o' clock. Shadows were creeping into the trail and there was a noticeable cooling effect from the foilage.
After my six o' clock lap, Josh was ready and waiting with my lights. We affixed them to the handlebar and seat post and then I was back out for another lap.
When the 12 hour riders finished their race, we timed out a longer pit stop for me to stop for coffee and a hamburger. Disgusting combination in theory, but absolutely delicious in person!
This was about the time that the cats arrived on the trail. I swear that there were herds and herds of cats running around the trail where only hours ago there had been brown ferns lining the path.
Since night riding kind of freaks me out when I'm alone, I tried my best not to look around too much into the darkness. Especially behind me...I was positive that there were bears hiding in the dark woods behind me...
The night wore on and I kept pedaling. Occasionally one of the team riders would fly by or I would see a riders headlight through the trees where the trail almost overlapped itself, but otherwise I was alone.
Pedal, pedal, pedal...
My brain focused on the dirt ahead and the task of pedaling. I felt like a bike zombie.
When morning arrived, it was cloudy and overcast. There would be no sunrise lap, just an abrupt transition to no longer needing lights.
And then it was time for my last lap...
It felt like it took forever to complete this lap...
Goodbye hill I don't like climbing...
Goodbye hill I do like climbing...
As I returned to the finish line, Josh and Brandon were waiting for me.
I climbed off my bike and removed my shoes half in a daze. All I wanted to do was to get out of my contacts...my eyes felt like they were bleeding...
I stumbled off to the bathrooms and clumsily changed out of my riding clothes.
When I returned to the pit area, I immediately asked Josh if I had "Chris Eatough" eyes. It was very important to me to have the classic sunken in eyes of an endurance racer.
He laughed at me and I kept asking him over and over again until he finally admitted that I did in fact have "Chris Eatough" eyes...
Once we packed up the pit, we sat down in the ski lounge awaiting the awards...and then all three of us passed out on the benches until the loud speaker woke us up.
In all, I ended up with 167 miles for the 24 hour period. I had really wanted 200, but this was still a mileage pr and I will be happy with that (for now)!
There were so many people that helped us make it to the race, ACF for loaning us the tents, Josh's parents lending us the van, Serfas for lending us lights, Danni with an i for loaning us batteries, Bob for the lights and batteries he sent our way, Cullen for all of the parts and batteries he graciously borrowed us and my parents for all of their support!
Josh was once again, the best pit chief ever and I owe alot of the days success to him!
Now we are back to the drawing board to plan for the next race...stay tuned for a very big 2014!