Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Southern Lights 24 Hour

We arrived Friday evening and set up camp. Dan O and Jimmy met us there and Eddie cooked up an awesome pre-race dinner. I wasn’t really nervous for the race, which was surprising because I usually get nervous for everything. I felt good, though, and I knew I was well rested and hydrated. I was hoping the tropical storm would stay away for the weekend, but I also knew better. It was early to bed, and early to rise Saturday morning. Charlie Martin from Cartecay Bikes and Richard Walker (Support Crew Leader) arrived Saturday morning. No wonder Eddie wins and podiums at so many races, he has the most fantastic support crew ever!!! I was feeling very lucky that they were going to help me out too. The race started with a parade lap on the bikes, no run thank goodness! I started out towards the back of the pack as I wanted to let all the team riders get in front of me. I didn’t want to start out hard, so I just stayed relaxed and rode out my first lap..and it was great! I don’t think I have ever felt better at the start of a race. I cleaned everything on that first lap, even a couple tricky sections that slowed me down during my pre-ride. Everything was pretty uneventful until the third lap when I dropped my chain and it wrapped up behind my cassette everywhere it should not have been. I tried and tried to yank it out, and there was no hope. Peter Rajcani and Andrew Gilchrest both stopped and tried to help me, but nothing. I had to carry my bike out back to the pit and have Charlie look at it. Luckily he was able to fix it, but I had lost at least 45 mins to an hour by the time I started riding again where I had left off. I was pretty bummed, knowing I had dropped at least 3 places at that point. I was also worn out from hiking my bike out and through all that I realized I had not been eating or drinking, and it had been over 3 hours since the race had started. Lap 3 was not fun..I had little energy, and my stomach was growling. Luckily the sun was not out in full force otherwise I might have passed out. I started concentrating more on getting in some fluid and calories, and started to feel a little better, although my upset stomach and heartburn never went away for the rest of the race. The rain held off until about 1am, and then the skies let loose. It was a matter of minutes before the rain transformed the trail into peanut butter. The trail is tight, twisty, and rooty, with some rather technical descents, and the rain sure brought all that out. I rode carefully, and steadily through the night, and faired pretty well. I caught up with Jen Wills early in the morning when the trail was a total mess. We slowly rode/hiked a lap together, thanks for the company Jen! Chain suck was getting so bad at that point that I couldn’t ride up any hills, so my last lap (number 11) was quite a bit of hike-a-bike, which anyone who knows me knows I hate hike a bike more than anything. That lap was a good 2.5 hours long for me! I ended up finishing 3rd out of 7 solo women. Eddie won the solo male category with 17 laps. It was an incredibly fun and enjoyable first solo 24 experience. Congrats to all the folks that ended up on the podium…Eddie, Gary, Andrew, Kirsten, Kerry, Brint, Sherri, Norma and the rest of the Dirt Divas, Crew Zen, Brandon, Tracey, Mark and the rest of the BOD group…and congrats to Jen for finishing 4th in the solo females…it was her 1st 24 solo too, and she rocked and had a great attitude. Everyone that was out there racing, volunteering, or supporting deserves the same congratulations. I'm going to go enjoy my recovery now. Pictures HERE.


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