Deciding to race La Ruta
later this year and having already been to South Africa
in April left me only one option for this year's 24 hour solo race, Hurkey Creek. Moab
, the Kona G 24
and the WSC at Conyers
would all bust my budget. I had no problem lifting my self-imposed one year ban on Adrenalin
for last year's WSC Kerkove
banning because I was eager to try my hand at solo racing again.
I was wondering if I still knew how to race a solo 24 as I stood at the start line with a couple minutes to go. It was a year and a half since I had done the Nationals race in Spokane and almost two-and-a-half years since I last raced Hurkey as a solo.
My main challenger for this race was me, the old me that raced Hurkey and did 20 laps. I knew there were other solo racers lined up, but that didn't concern me and I wasn't going to change anything. I was just going to do my own thing; kick my own arse like Lynda
and I planned.
A few minutes before the start
This race was much smoother than last time, especially during the night. I use to dread the night laps. There's hardly a soul in sight and the cold eventually gets through the extra layers of clothes. The night is isolating and difficult. Setbacks that are small during the day can get blown out of proportion and become "disasters" in the darkness that can crush the competitive spirit -- it's more fragile at night. I usually use my mp3 player during the long dark hours to distract myself, to give my mind something to do during solitary confinement. Lou and I had an experiment going for my night laps this time and I think it worked well. So much so that I was enjoying the ride and sang songs to myself until sunrise.
The biggest difference with this race was an absence of light issues. Woo hoo! I've had issues with lights going out during a race on every single solo 24 that I've done for the past two and a half years; April 2004 at Hurkey was the last time I had a issue free night with respect to lights. I have to thank Gillian, Bernice and Scott, from Sho-Air, for a well lit night.
Settling into a rhythm
Once the sun came up, I put the mp3 player on and listened to the new tunes I downloaded a few days before. There's nothing like some good metal in the morning to get me going. I always look forward to sunrise as I can get back to eating some of my favorite race food so it's a nice boost (my stomach can only take certain things at night). I crashed on the second downhill on the first lap after sunrise and tweaked my right wrist enough that I had to take three Advil to deal with the swelling.
I had lapped myself and the field by midnight so I just needed to keep the wheels rolling for a few more hours. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to be smooth sailing because the pain in my feet increased as the sun got higher in the sky. It got to the point where the pain in my big toes masked the pain in my wrist. I had to spend extra time in my pit on some laps in order to get a quick foot massage -- I had an awesome crew.
I made my goal
Sherry, Suzanne and Jason had everything I needed as soon as I asked for it. I never had to worry about anything and I could focus 100% on riding. I'm totally spoiled now and I don't think I want to do another solo race without this crew. They are the BEST!
A full list of people that made this race possible and some extra photos are here.