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Is This A Logo??

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Summer Solstice 24 Hour Relay Race - A Review Part 1

So, here it was...my 'A' race of the year...the one I've been training with CoachRob for since last fall...and competing in other races to prepare for this one.  The Summer Solstice 24 Hour Mountain Bike race held at Albion Hills Conservation Area near Bolton, Ontario;  promoted by ChicoRacing, an experienced, well honed race promoter always pulling off a stellar event...and this year proved no different!!

MattyTee came up from his home in Windsor to help man my pit.  And a few weeks ago Blaze offered to be pit master since he wasn't racing...and with him being a racer and decent wrench I knew this would be a great help for me...maybe even a chance at podium.

Then Giant's pitcrew bailed on him last minute...and Blaze and I agreed that he could race out of our pit; then I found out 14Stone was looking for a pitcrew and so there you go.  With three racers to tend to, should keep Blaze and MattyTee engaged the entire 24 hours without time to get bored.

So Friday, MattyTee and I pulled Team Headquarters up to Albion...and picked our solo pit spot...




With appropriate paraphernalia...(don't tell Lois I stole the extendible dust pad rod!)


And the pit set up appropriately right along the race course...


Oh....and the TeamRiot Cheerleaders....





Those is some sexy ladies!  Is it OK for me to say so if they are my sisters??


Anyways...MattyTee and I pre rode some of the course Friday...made some supper...then hit the hay early.  In the 30+ degree temperatures the course was so very dry and sandy....should make for some very interesting race conditions.

Saturday morning Blaze, 14Stone, and Giant show up...and we all get ready.  The solo pit area is super crowded...there are a tremendous amount of solo racers.  Some familiar faces...Jeremiah is racing solo...but with a hand damaged from a 'crash' last week...RafRyder racing a fatbike...Jack racing a fatbike...GregAB who beat me last year taking third place, pushing me to fourth.

And the temperature is heating up...to close in on 40 degrees for the weekend.  Blaze gives us three a motivational speech (if threat of Caber tossing our gear across the field if we didn't respect his efforts can be considered motivational).  But it's true...the extreme effort, deep exhaustion, and the heat wave often make for emotional outbursts in these events...and usually directed at an undeserving target.  So, we were warned...don't do it.

Here is Blaze practicing to pit the event....






So, after the big speech, Giant, now extra motivated, leaves the pit early to get a spot at the front of the paddock.  That doesn't work for me...if I start too hard on lap one, I am spent for the rest of the event.  So 14Stone and I set out in time to get to almost the very back of the paddock for the 12 noon start.  With 2200 racers in this event, we were a long ways back!!

However, this forced me to start slow and easy...not blowing away all of my energy at one go.  With 24 hours to go, I had to play it smart.  We were so far back in the paddock, when we heard the start shot, we still had to wait several minutes before we got going....then the first half of the lap was waiting for bottleneck after bottleneck.  But this kept me honest, dawdling along...moving but conserving precious energy for later...


Off the start...like a blazing turtle...on a sightseeing ride...

Then on the second half of the loop it started to string out enough could get into a proper pace, almost.  Through the solo pit area to grab a new bottle from MattyTee or Blaze as they had them prepared.  BTW, Blaze had the pit set up like a full service bike shop...white board to track times, and riders individual needs...tools, stands, overhead lights for night lighting...chargers for keeping bike lights charged, tables, even a carpet flooring...we were set...

Anyways...finally the first lap done...out for two...this time able to ride the features and hill without bottlenecks.  And there were hills!!  The hills didn't seem like much for the first few laps...but through the heat and repeated, continuing effort...added up to holy hills!!  The start hill; the steep little up switchback near the start; the brown monster; the rutty gravel road; the grassy climb past the solo pits; the looong rooty climb;  the short, steep, switchback, deep sand with a root in the middle; the beach sand deep, double switchback climb at the top of High Roller; the steep, little, loose, sandy climb after the two way bridge....and on.  I will give hard tail riders an advantage on the climbs.  Of course, the climbs meant there had to be plenty of descents...and there were; several great ones, in fact.  However, some of them were bumpy as hell.  Some fast but rooty that shook your hands and feet; and 3 or for with seriously deep braking bumps that rattled the hell out of rider and bike...and anywhere the two connected!!  Full suspensions would have been much more comfortable rides on these.

And so we went into the hot summer afternoon...then about 4 or 5 hours in, Blaze pulls me over at the pass by the pit for a quick rub down with a cold, wet, towel (felt like heaven, and so refreshing!!), change of bottles, quick bite of real food, and supplements.  (Blaze had all of this figured out specifically for each rider in the pit...and Matty quick to assist as needed).  Blaze alerts me that I am currently in 3rd place, but steadily moving up on 2nd and 1st.  Wow!!  After that slow ass start, I wasn't sure where I placed.  So, refueled and refreshed on I went.

This pic is at about 4:30 Saturday afternoon...notice the salt deposits on my jersey from sweating in the heat...



The last two pics are compliments of JeffS.  However, JeffS' greatest off-bike accomplishment on this day is likely this pic.




Yes, that is ApexTed!!  Finally, hard confirmed proof of the ninja skilled camera master!!  Always considered a mythical creature lurking on the edge of reality, JeffS captured this hard evidence of his existence.

So, now ApexTed is working hard getting his pics of the event ready, soon to be available at ApexRacePhotography.  Here is a bit of a preview...



Me and 14Stone (can you guess which is which?)...somewhere in the middle of the race...

So...a couple of more laps...getting into the evening...Blaze pulls me over again as I pass into the pit...
He tells me to eat, and stretch out as he sets my bike up for lights for the night laps.  He also tells me I am now in first place.  Holy shite!!  1st place in a 24 hour!!  I can barely fathom it...seriously.  It actually scares me.  So, now the struggle would be to maintain...otherwise nowhere to go but down!

And now, heading into the most fatiguing part of the race....the night laps.  And lights glaring into clouds of dust.  The perfect brew for the potential for disaster.  And potential becomes reality...






Relax...it can't be that bad...can it??

Anyways...we will find out Thursday...my arse still hurts too much to sit at this computer any longer...and my hands hurt too much to type any more too...





Sorry...but there is too much more to tell...to much for one post...need to stretch the boredom over a couple of posts...

There might even be a nudie in Thursday's post...






Relax....it can't be that bad....can it??

Stay posted!

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