Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Thursday, 30 June 2016

24 Hour Summer Solstice MTB Race - A Review Part 2 carry on from last post...where did we leave off?  Oh yeah....Blaze was getting my bike set up with lights for night riding.  Also need to mention that Unglued was helping out in the pit around this time.  Thanks Unglued!!  Better get the positive 'Unglued' references in now, because there will be some less civilized references regarding Unglued a little later on.  (See kids...that there is foreshadowing...).  Stay tuned!  And no peeking ahead!   :)

So we are now through the hottest part of Saturday...Blaze and MattyTee (and Unglued) have done a masterful job running the pit.  Really, I cannot say enough how thorough and dedicated they were...and how important they were to any success we were  to have!  To give you an idea...Blaze had us fill out a questionnaire ahead of give him an idea of our individual, specific needs...from bike, to kit, to nutrition, sweat rate, medical needs...etc.  Our pit was professional level...from quick pit stop cold water wipe downs during the heat of the day, to balancing nutrition, electrolytes, pure water, coffee, coke for each individual racer.

Gettin a cool down in the pit...(Photo by Apex Race Photography)

And Blaze kept our bikes maintained...with regular cleans and lubes (and I have to say the product GreaseMonkey Wipes were a big part of the maintenance...I am not a product pusher guy, but these things work better than anything else I have seen out there...I could do an entire post on them...another day, perhaps...) and any other maintenance required.

Actually, Giant was the only one with a major mechanical that had the potential to be disastrous...but Blaze caught it and repaired it as quick and efficiently as any pro level bike shop...and had Giant back out on the course in minutes.  In fact, other racers from other pits recognized how great our pit was and were bringing their broken bikes to Blaze to fix, which he did keeping in mind we were his priority (repaired a broken wheel, shifting, brakes...even lent out our back up bike for a couple of laps).  The level of ability, and hard work of our pit really paid off for us...we cannot express our appreciation or thank them enough.  Anyways...I am getting way, way off track here.  Usually it takes at least Swedish cheerleaders to get me this distracted.  Speaking of...there were a couple of pits along the race course that were rather distracting...  Ah well...before I get off track again...let's get back to the review of the race, shall we?

So we had made it through the afternoon on Saturday...7 or 8 laps of the course in.  It had been hot as of the hottest days of the year...well over 30 degrees...but Blaze and MattyTee had kept me well hydrated, fed, and cooled down.  And I continued to feel surprisingly strong.  CoachRob's training program was doing it's job!  Energy levels were great....lower back was not a bother at all..
So, I headed back out into the evening....light's in place on the bike, and my helmet.  I had moved up from 3rd place, now into now I had to hold that first place spot.

Through a rock garden (Photo by Apex Race Photography)

I managed to get a lap and a half in before it got dark enough to have to turn the lights on...and once on they were a huge pain!  It was so dry and hot the air was filled with sand dust....and the lights reflected off the dust creating a huge blinding driving through a snowstorm.  So many fast, speeding downhills where I prayed not to roll off track, or hit an obstacle the wrong way.  Through the twisty singletrack, concentrating to see through the glare.  At one point I came around a corner blind...and unexpectedly, there was one of the rock gardens!  I hit it, unable to see to determine a good line...bounced and rocked, but made it through safely...thankfully.  The conditions made for slower going...but were also mentally draining.  Then came lap 11...and trouble.

I am what the doctors call a 'short sleeper'...I normally need 3-4 hours of sleep a night.  I don't know how or's just the way it is.  The problem is...when I get tired it hits me like a wall of bricks...almost narcoleptic.  It hit me on lap 11.  I felt it coming...I tried to shake it off...shaking head to stay awake...shaking hands out...unclipping and shaking feet...thinking 'stay awake' things...(don't ask).  It didn't one point I woke up riding through the bush and leaves.  Not good...I walked back to the trail...trying again to shake it off, then continued.  I tried to go extra slow in the hope that the cooler night air would wake me up.  It didn't...this time I woke up hitting the hard pack ground on one of the downhills.  I was scraped and bruised...but otherwise OK.  The jarring still didn't permanently wake me up.  When this happens nothing but a quick 10-20 minute nap will break me out of the need to sleep.  I had to get back to camp.  I ran with the bike for a good portion of the rest of the lap...or rode super slowly when I felt safe enough.  Other racers passed...and asked if I was OK...I've said it before...the MTB community is such a group of great people.  I eventually made it back to camp...intact.  I got off my bike saying, "I need a nap!"  Blaze: "You can't 2nd is right on top of you now, that lap was so slow!"  I explained, "I crashed falling asleep...I just need 10 minutes, or it could be worse."  Blaze handed me a concoction (5x strength coffee) I drank as I sat in the gravity chair...MattyTee had instructions to wake me in 15 minutes.  I went out...dreamed for what seemed like hours...shook awake by MattyTee 15 minutes later.  I opened my eyes to see 14Stone standing over me with a bag of Doritos...not exactly the kind of thing you want to wake up to (no offense sir!).
The nap worked...I was groggy...but awake.  But that lap took 2hrs 44mins.  I had time to make up...and Blaze reminded me of that fact.  MattyTee handed me some food (rice balls I think...and fig newtons)...I choked them down quick got on my bike which Blaze had 'refurbished' and ready...and off I went; back in the race.

I finished lap 11, not even looking at the leaderboard...and headed out into lap 12.  Soloing a 24 the night can be daunting...seemingly never depletes your energy reserves...until you hear the birds.  When the birds wake...their song is the first hint that night is over....and the sun will soon appear.  Then when the sky starts to is like a breath of life.  The mind relaxes a feel a new surge of's like being reborn.  That was my lap 12.

Coming through the pit, as MattyTee takes the lights off my bike, Blaze says, "We may have got looks like 2nd place also stopped when you may still be in first!"  I finish off the lap, look at the's confusing, but I think I'm still in first.  (What had happened is 2nd place stopped so long he -GregAB- fell to third and the leaderboard had not yet properly updated the change).  Anyways, all I can do is keep going.

Lap starting to feel the exhaustion, as the day heats up.  The continuous exertion...the repeating hill climbs...starts to really take its toll on me.  I keep the hydration and nutrition going...but fatigue is happening...but it was expected.  However, when you hit a certain point, the extreme exhaustion really strips away the physical part of's like it gets so tired it stops to be...and all that's left is raw emotion.  I was getting so physically tired, I would go from determined mountain biker, to blubbering mess...and back.  Through the is now getting hot again, Blaze orders me off the bike while he refreshes it...MattyTee hands me hydration and food.  Lois is here...cheering me on!!  14Stone is in the pit...he has crashed...he is ok, but he is out of the race.  His story is here...

14Stones blog.

Off I go to finish lap 13.  Check the leaderboard...still in almost 2 laps!  Can that be right?  Into lap 14, now totally exhausted....every hill a struggle.  And pain from exhausted muscles...but mostly the contact points...joints hammered to torn and raw...(skin is still not healed).  The mind wants to keep going...but the body is struggling.  Into the pit...Blaze says, "It looks like you have 1st place sown up...just need one more lap for insurance!"  Confirmation of what I expected.  I said, "I figured so, but won't be a fast lap....I'm cooked!"  It didn't have to be just had to be a lap.  Blaze said I even had time for a 10 or 15 minute rest...but I did't want to....I wanted to get finished.  Out I went...finished lap 14...still comfortably in 1st.  Another lap probably not necessary...but I had time...and a 15th lap would be insurance.

But it was tough...I had little to nothing left.  Every hill was extreme...I ended up walking a couple of times for a few meters...and pain, in my hands, arse, took forever...but I made it to the pit, and kept going....just wanting to be done.  Into the finish for the last time...swipe my chip...go to hand it in...but there is Unglued...insisting that I need to do another lap.  No...I don't.  But he demands that I do.  No...I don't.  I physically do not have time.  Still, he is adamant...but wrong.  Another lap is not necessary.  I fight the urge to slap his helmet (I couldn't anyways...I barely had the energy to stand...seriously, I almost collapsed arguing with him...).  Even though my brain was mush, I knew I had it wrapped up.  I had to drag him to the leaderboard to prove it...I had 15 laps...2nd had 13...the best second could do was 14...he couldn't catch me.  I guess lawyers are not good at math??  I was done.  I couldn't believe it...I had won my category.  Still hardly believe it, really.  (Thank you dskunk for doing the Tour Divide!!)

There was MattyTee...with a big hug for me.  We stumbled back to the pit...I collapsed into the gravity chair...and collapsed again, so totally, completely, exhausted...I bawled like baby.  There was a whole lot of Riot left on those trails...I wanted to be sure that if I didn't win, I would give it my all...and I did...there was no reserve left...but it had all worked out.  The perfect pit (again...couldn't have done it without them); perfect coaching preparation (thanks CoachRob!!); perfect day with perfect conditions...and first place.

Still dumbfounded...really??  I won???

JeffS...A first place medal in his category.  He raced on a team with his daughter...26 laps...unbelievable lap times!!!  His daughter passed me once like I was standing still (maybe I was?)...I shouted "Shikaze!!" at her (that's Metis for "Wow, you are fast!!") as she went by.  I don't think she noticed.  Really...26 laps!!

A couple of NuckingFuts...Oggie and Guy...first in their 5 man team category...always at the top of the leaderboard.

Giant...first in his category...21 laps solo....amazing!!

SSSarah...first is solo women...20 laps on a single speed...not fathomable!!

Jim's Nuts....first in their 5 person team category...good to see more BW jerseys out!!

And I don't have a pic, but I need to send huge Kudos to Raph...13 laps on a fatbike...and stopped enough times to enjoy 8 beers during the event!!

Also...PinoyPedalPushers clearly had the most fun pit in the event...and took the most video footage.  Check it out at their facebook page!

I even managed to get a pic with ApexTed...he's normally more elusive that Samsquanch!!  BTW, you can find ApexTed's pics of the event here.  ApexRacePhotography

Getting a pic with ApexTed warranted me other attention!

If you are very careful, one day son....all this could be yours...

Yeah...I was powering down fast...

Anyways...I was asked if I would do this again.  Of course I is fun...and it is a challenge of limits, dedication, and a test of the quality of the work you did to prepare.  Plus, it's fun (yeah I know...already said...but repeated for effect...).  Besides...I know I can do better...yeah I came in first...but my goal was 20 laps...I managed only 15.  If Giant can do 21...if SSSarah can do 20 on a sisnglespeed...then I can do better than 15.  Next time...a goal still to shoot for.

For now...I am still recovering.  I am not healed yet...joint, muscles, and energy levels are mostly back up, but skin is not healed in a couple of spots...mostly hands and arse.

Arse feels like this...

Remember, I warned you about the nudies?  Sorry, but it could have been could have been a real this...


Anyways...I guess this has gone way too long...too many cat pics (wait, what??)...the story has been told.
What more could be said?

Stay posted!

9 years into forever...happy anniversary, my love...

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