(this is the long post. the short post is below if you want to read that instead.)
It was an intense 24 hour period.
On Friday, Ted and I went up to the campsite to setup first. We had your standard problems of setting up someone else’s tent – namely, you have no idea where any of the poles actually go.
We also got a preride of the course in about the time that ted was scheduled to go. That was the good part. The bad part was that during the ride, we found out that Ted’s fork was broken. Not good. You could pump up the shock, but after 5 minutes of riding, the air would leak out of it and the fork would compress all the way down and stay there. So in effect, Ted was riding on a rigid fork that was 3 inches shorter than normal which also sucks since, well, it changed the geometry of the bike. There was a mad scramble to see if we could replace it. In the end we couldn’t swap the forks very easily due to certain issues, and Ted basically had to ride the bike the whole way. Sucks rocks.
After the preride, we just hung out at camp. It started to get hella cold around 8pm. It was windy and nasty. I was wearing all my camping clothes, fleece, jacket, beanie and it was still chilly. We both retreated to the tent which was much much warmer, and took a nap. We both hoped it wouldn’t be this windy come race time.
Don, Josh, and Josh’s gf, Janelle came by the campsite around 10:30. They were a bit pissed off, because we were sent them to the store to pick up a bunch of stuff, and made them late. Jason and his gf, Emily, came down about 30 minutes later. Arif and Tahera wanted to come to hang out with us, but I made them go to the hotel, since nothing really was happening at camp, and it was still really really cold.
We settle on the our rotation at about midnight. The order was to be, 12345,21345,43521,21453,21… where 1-me, 2-Jason, 3-Ted, 4-Don, 5-Josh. We thought we’d average about 1:05 a lap, and complete 22 laps. so that meant I’d go at 10am, 3pm, 1am, 3am, and 9am. We decided to pair up at night, to give people a long time to rest in between laps. So Don and Josh would go 2 laps each in 4 hours. The same with Jason and me. Ted would only get 1 night lap, since he hasn’t had that much night time riding experience.
We went to bed after that. Ted had brought a feather bed that we had crammed in to the tent. It was heavenly. I got up on race day at 7am.
10am was the start time, and I had the first leg, which meant i got to take part in the LeMans start. What a LeMans start is, is that they make you run about 600m to your bike before you can take off on the course. Of course, you’re in your helmet, cycling shoes, on concrete, running uphill to your bike. It was interesting. It had sort of a stampede feel to it. You’re trying to elbow people next to you to get some running space. I noticed some people were running in Vans. I had my cell phone with me, in case of emergencies, so I called Arif in the middle of the run. I was amused. 😛 ha. I managed to hold my own on the run, and came out of the start gate in the top quarter. I Just couldn’t for the life of me remove my bike from the rack. My handlebars were too high to clear the bar that everyone had put their bike on.
The rest of the lap went pretty well. It was slow thru the first section since it was all singletrack, and the run, really hadn’t spread people out at all. I had to force my way around everyone in the first section. The last 3 miles are all uphill on a fireroad, called The Grind, or The Long Climb Home. I encountered a solo rider there. We chatted for a bit. He was trying to “not blow up” on the first lap. I was at at about 90% of my race pace. A train of about 5 rider blew by us at this time. I latched on to them and they carried me up the hill. It was great to do a paceline on the mountain bike. I came in at a pretty respectable time of 57minutes.
Jason, took off. He came back in 55 minutes. Ted took off.. About this time Don and Josh were looking at our times, and thinking that were were off to a really good start. Our times were better than what we were expecting. I think it amped up both Don and Josh to start putting in good times. Ted came back in 1:02 – which was pretty respectable considering that he hadn’t trained much for the race. Don came back in 55. Josh took off like a bullet and turning in the fastest lap time up until that moment – a 53 minute lap. Jason was off again, and got abotu 57 minutes.
It was my second lap, and I had decided that this was going to be my fastest lap. I had felt fine after the first lap, and Jason and I had swapped places, so I had an extra hour of rest, and and the end of the 2nd round of the rotation, we’d be going into our paired rotation, which meant i had like another 6 hours of rest before my next ride. So I pretty much went all out on the second lap. I pegged myself to redline. It was a ton easier to navigate since everyone was pretty spread out by this time. The first single track section, i went much much faster. In the end I turned in the fastest lap time of the nite at 50 minutes. I was really really happy with myself.
By this time, my whole cheering section had arrived, Arif, Tahera, Ronnie, Diane, Choon and PS, Rich, Shwe and Xin, Ghim Hong. It was all sorta embarrassing. There’s one bridge that has a flight of stairs on both sides. You ended up riding down one side on the way out, and the other side on the way in. of course, on the way in, you came down the stairs, hit a platform, made a left turn, and came down another flight of stairs, and then promptly turned around 180 degrees. The cheering section setup camp right at the bottom of the stairs. They were loud, and supportive. It was really great to have everyone out there.
We went into our night round, and people were still putting in sub hour laps. and we were about 3 hours ahead of schedule, and on pace for 26 laps. We also found out, that we were in 3rd place at the time! It was pretty exciting, but the bad news that there were only 3 teams in our age group, and we were pretty far behind the 2nd place team. But looking at the next age group up, we would have been in about 8th place out of 22 teams, which was pretty damn respectable in my opinion. I think that was a big morale boost for us, and we started planning out our strategy for the extra laps.
My cheer groupl, broke for dinner, and left us. I tried to get some sleep in the tent, but it wasn’t happening. I got up and mulled around, and took a shower after lap 2. I helped Ted setup his lights after he got back. He made his second lap in 1:01. Don – 58, Josh – 56. We were at 7:30 pm right about then, having completed 10 laps. Night was about to come down on us. Don went out for his 3rd lap at dusk, and managed a 1:01.
Ted got his full on night lap here. I forget what his time was, i think it was around 1:10 and Josh went out again, and did like 57 or so.
Jason and I setup for our double shift at night. The cheering section had come back and they were getting to be pretty loud. It seemed like they were the only ones around. since it seemed like most of the spectators had gone to bed by 11:30. I pulled in a pretty good time of 52 minutes. I wanted to save myself a little bit for my next lap at 1:30am. After that lap tho, I was still pretty pumped, and I was totally ready for my 4th lap. I went out again, and pulled out another 52 minute lap. I was pretty happy, since it didn’t seem like i was slowing down all that much at night. The full moon was out too, and I was feeling pretty good. No cramps or anything.
My cheer section left for the comfort of their hotel rooms and we entered the crap ass period of the race. the 3am-6am shift. Don, Josh and Ted were up for our 18th, 19th and 20th laps. Josh at this point was on his 4th lap, and was really really suffering. He’s super competitive, and I think when he saw everyone pull in good times, he just went out that much harder. Of course, on his second night lap, he had to use his crappy halogen light and was tired, and grumpy. He put a slow time, i think around 1:13 and he was done.
We were definitely slowing down, but on pace for 25 laps now. We had vaulted into 2nd place, after one fo the teams ahead of us, took 3 hour rest break and we were 2 laps ahead.
At this point, we were thinking about the 23, 24, and 25th lap. Josh was done. I figured Ted was done after his 4th lap also. Jason and I were up on laps 21, and 22. But I found out that Jason’s knee was getting all weird, and so he was done for the night after lap 21. So in the end, we had Jason, me, don, me, and Ted as the final rotation for laps, 21,22,23,24,25. We would give Ted, the slowest rider, as much time as possible to come before the cutoff time, which was 11am.
Jason, put in a 1:02, I put in another 52, Don put in a 1:02, and I put in another 52 – for my sixth lap of the night.
Ted left the gate a 9:37am. Offically the race ends at 10am, but as long as a rider goes out before 9:59am, and returns before 11am, the extra lap will count. So Ted had to do his last lap, his 5th lap in 1:23. No problem, since his slowest time was 1:15. We all went down to the finish line to see him in. we thought he’d come in at about 10:45am. Slowly the clock ticked down, and 10:45 came and went but no Ted. 10:50 came and went and still, no Ted. We were starting to get worried. It takes about 3-5 minutes after we see a rider for him to finish. He has to climb up the bridge, come down, and do about 800 meters around the finish area. 10:52 nothing. 10:53 nothing. and at about 10:54, we see him and we were pretty relieved. We were screaming at him to finish and he managed to finish with 3 minutes remaining on the clock.
Apparently he had a flat at the bottom of the long climb home. And he was the last person to finish the race. He was super super lucky cause the second to last people stopped to help him fix his flat for him. So yeah. it was good.
I was totally pumped that we made 25 laps. I wanted that 25th lap really really badly. We ended up holding onto 2nd place. I was really happy with my lap times. 57,50,52,52,52,52. 6 laps, 60 miles, average of 52.5 seconds and the first lap probably was about 4 minutes slower because of the run and the crowded singletrack in the first section. No cramping, and I’m only a little sore this morning.
It was a lot of fun, tho I was awake for 30 hours straight. We had lunch and I was falling asleep, and my food tasted disgusting.
now, I’m off the bike for at least a week. I’ve already had jack in the box, and mcdonalds this morning. I’m looking for a good pizza eat tonight. mmmm…..
Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far.