Tuesday, May 30, 2006

BURN 24 Hour Race Report

Thursday: Eddie and I arrived in Wilkesboro, NC around 9pm. I would be racing Eddie's Kona King Kikapu and Kona King because my King Kikapu was out of commission. I really wanted to get in a ride on Thursday so we did one lap in the dark. I rode the King Kikapu but it didn't feel right, I made a list of everything I needed to change on it before racing it on Saturday: Saddle height up, put on wider bars if possible, move brake levers in, dial in the rebound of the rear shock. The course was in perfect condition, it was somewhere between 6-7 miles of singletrack plus some field riding. The trail was buff flowing singletrack with long climbs and long descents, and a few switchbacks thrown in for good measure. We went out for a late dinner at the local restaurant in a box (Applebees) and headed back to the hotel for a short night of sleep.

Friday: Up early and over to the trail. There was lots to do including setting up all the race tents, manage parking/campers, etc. and I was stressing out over the bike setup, and I still hadn't taken the King out for a pre-ride yet. I ended up doing one lap on each bike plus a little more, to get the bike fits as close as possible to my own. I couldn't believe I did not do all this in advance because I was now stuck with what I had-- I came out of my 2nd lap in tears because I already had lower back pain, knee pain, and bursting blisters on my palms...and the race hadn't even started yet!! Eddie helped to calm me down and we basically decided that I had to make do with what I had. I went back to the hotel, changed, and started helping with race prep - WalMart runs, race bag stuffing, and running registration with Eddie and Penny (soon to be sister-in-law). By 8pm I was pretty beat and we wrapped up registration and headed to a local Italian place for food. I crashed as soon as we got back to the hotel.

Saturday: Another early morning. I ate as much as I could fit in my stomach without getting sick and we headed over to the race. I first helped to get things set with registration and then I decided to scoot off to do my pre-race preparations. I was trying my hardest to curb my pre-race anxiety and trying harder to keep hydrated- it was already heating up - it had to be 80 degrees with no clouds by 10am. I had some more adjustments to make to both the bikes- mainly with the brakes. It actually felt good to be able to do this myself, even though I hate working on bikes :) I then pre-mixed my drinks and organized my pit stop needs since I didn't have a dedicated support person. I left a small cooler with my spare Wingnut pack and bottles over with the BOD and Crack is Whack teams. I left the spare bike, food, and lights over near my car and the race HQ tent. I thought it kind of sucked for me that my competition was sitting in the shade with their feet up while their support people ran around for them, but I tried not to feel sorry for myself. I am amazed that people do this self supported all the time, I must be a big baby. Anyway, I tried to get in a few minutes of relaxation before the start. Before I knew it we were lining up for the Lemans start - a loong run around the field, then onto the bikes, and into the woods. I went into the woods 4th solo female behind Danielle Musto, Carey Lowery and Erinna Hegarty (pretty much where I expected to be). The first climb was a killer, especially after the run. I decided slow for a second to catch my breath and let Karen (Sorella teammate from NJ) in front of me for a bit. She kept insisting that I pass and that she was sucking wind. After a small cluster at the first tight switchback I decided to pass and kept on going. I was riding the King and I felt great - my first lap with the run was around 48 minutes. Not too bad, I'd be happy to keep this pace until dark. The next few laps were uneventful, I was keeping a consistent pace (well below sub 50-minutes) plus pit stop time. My lower back was aching and cramping despite the prescription strength Ibuprofen I took at the race start..not good. I decided to switch bikes after lap 6 and ride the King Kikapu since the setup was more similar to my bike. It didn't do anything for my back, but overall I felt better on it. The brakes and fork were perfect, just like mine. I took another Ibuprofen and slammed a BURN before Lap 7 and had my best/most fun lap of the day...no back pain, I was riding great and felt great, yay me. Unfortunately after a couple hours, the lower back agony hit me again. Somewhere around 9:30pm I decided to take another Ibuprofen, thinking that my metabolism must be clearing it out of my body more quickly than normal...I guess I wasn't thinking clearly because that is not what was happening. Soon after that I became very ill on the trail. I got sick twice and was completely delirious. I somewhow made it back to the pits and took a long break where I drank some water and ate some crackers and a rice krispy treat and was convinced to go out again. By now Eddie had some free time and was available to help me, thank goodness, otherwise I'd probably still be sitting in my chair under a towel. Before I went out for my next lap, we noticed I had some broken spokes in the rear wheel. Eddie (aka McGuyver) found some bread ties and tied the spokes together and sent me on my way. On the first bumpy descent I heard some major clanging going on and my bike went out of control. Somehow I ended up in the woods on the side of the trail, but still upright. I tried to spin my wheel but it wouldn't budge. I was so tired and didn't know what to do..I really didn't want to hike out. A really nice guy stopped to help me and realized that my wheel had come loose - d'oh! He tightened it and it was not spinning freely but it got me to the Checkpoint where Eddie said he'd be waiting for me, and he was. We readjusted my rear brake and it was ok for me to get back to the pit, even though I thought I was going to die on the last descent which is sooo fast and has lots of jumps and berms. My wheel was all over the place! At the pit, Eddie replaced my wheel entirely with the one from the King, and I was pushed out again. I got one lap and was so depleted and sick that I once again barely made it back. I hadn't been eating or drinking and I was still sick from the Ibuprofen overdose. I would have killed for pizza, I needed real food. Thanita and Maurice from Dirt Rag graciously offered up some of their pork and rice which was delicious (THANK YOU!) I then curled up in my car for 3 hours, my plan being to feel better and ride again when the sun came up.

I had 14 laps at that point and I had adjusted my original goal of 22 laps to 20 laps, and now it was 18 laps. The last thing I wanted to do was ride my bike though. I still was so sick to my stomach and nothing was helping. Erinna was in the pit next to me and Eric said she had been feeling the same. We decided to go out together and ride some laps just to keep moving, which is what we did. We got in 3 more laps, so she ended with 18 and I ended with 17. 17 laps was somewhere between 107 and 113 miles, depending on who you ask.

Erinna and I hung out with Danielle Musto in her pit waiting for 11am so we could ride across the finish line together and finish officially without having to go back out for another lap. Danielle was incredible and got 28 laps, which beat the Female solo course record and then some. She would have been 3rd solo male/overall. I ended up in 5th place Solo Female and would have been 15th place in the solo male/overall (out of 40 males), so that's pretty cool I guess.

Everyone I talked to said this was the absolute best 24 hour race they had ever been to, which was really cool. Eddie put a lot of hard work into it and it was awesome that it turned out so well, registration was up 100 people from last year! I was in awe of the female soloists, there are some strong strong women out there and it is so great to be able to race with them and learn from them.

*pictures courtesy of Eric Wever

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's time...

I just did my last long ride yesterday - solo, in the heat. Should be good preparation for my upcoming race, the BURN 24 Hour Challenge. I get today off and need to start working on bikes. I will most likely be racing Eddie's Konas (King Kikapu and King) since my King Kikapu is suffering from play in the rear shock and needs new bushings. Luckily we ride the same size bike so I'll just have to move my parts over! I hate working on bikes. I'd rather go out and sit on a patio with a beer, but I guess I got to do that last night.

I still have no pit crew, but Justine and Juan from the BOD Cycling Group have graciously offered to help refill bottles for me. I'm going to have to really think out my fueling and pit strategy. I did one and a half 12 hour races last year self supported, and it's not as easy, it really really makes you appreciate what your support does for you. I'm going to focus more on being consistent and efficient with all of it, and things will work out as they will.

I leave Thursday and will ride the course on Friday, hopefully with Danielle Musto if it works out. I'll probably be glad I'm leaving the SS at home for this one. I think my inaugural SS race might be the Cowbell Challenge- ouch! Anyway, I'm really excited for this weekend, probably more so than I've been for any other race!!!

Oh, and since I feel guilty for only posting pics of Jackson last time, here's one of Porter. I don't want to be accused of playing favorites!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

24 hours of....

Fetching? So it's not really a sport, but if it were, my dog would be champion. He spent all 24+ hours at the Granny Gear race fetching his tennis ball. I'm not sure what his secret is, I guess Eddie's been secret training him well to be a superstar endurance athlete. Or maybe the secret is the lamb and rice diet and I should forget all this hi-tec fuel. Jackson was the only one that did not want to sleep all night. During:

And, after:

What a great race despite the low turnout of the first year event at Conyers. The solo women were absolutely amazing--I'll be doing my 2nd ever solo 24 hour at the BURN 24 hour Challenge next weekend and they really provided me some much needed inspiration. Eddie came in a very impressive 2nd to Ernesto, but I'll let him tell the rest of the story when he finally wakes up. All I can say is that I'm so proud of him for several reasons, he is truly an amazing athlete and person and I can only hope to make him as proud of me as I am of him. Here's a (really bad) podium shot.

So we'll see what I can do next weekend! There will be another strong field of solo female racers, and my training has suffered some setbacks this year but I will sure go out and give it all I have. It's all about the experience and I can't wait. If there is a kind soul that wants to help with support, I won't turn it down. Right now I have no dedicated pit crew, but I will manage...it would be nice to have any help I can get, though!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Mothers Day

We had a great Mothers Day with the moms and the soon to be moms in law. Aren't they cute?

I'm back in GA now, and just realized today (after attempting to go to 8am class) that my summer semester doesn't actually start until June 12 - woohoo! Time to ride :-)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Good ol' Michigan

I'm in Michigan for the week to see family, etc. and had the pleasure of riding my mountain bike for the first time ever in this state. I did not start riding until about 2 1/2 years ago, and this is the first time I've actually brought my bike with me up here. I went to Bloomer, which was surprisingly technical, sandy, and reminiscent of the Razorback course in Reddick, FL, which I really like. The only problem, if you see it as a problem, is that Bloomer is not marked or maintained so there are lots of trees down, it's super sandy, and hard to navigate if you're not familiar with the trail. If I knew how to put all the sections of trail together, it might actually have some good flow. Anyway, I'm happy to have a cool place to ride that is less than 30 min. from my parents house. The ride was short but I hope to get out at least 2 more times while I'm here. I have lots of other things to do like buy good beer (Founders Ale and Bells) to take back with me to GA. I don't know what I like better, MI or NC microbrews - tough call - good thing I don't have to decide.

Oh, I just read the Wingnut Gear 3.0 review in this month's Bike Magazine. It was a very positive review, obviously, so make sure you check it out!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pisgah MTB Adventure

Training has been pretty much a joke lately. I've been off and on with various health related issues since March but I was really looking forward to the PMBAR. I'm sooo glad I backed off and was healthy for this one!! Up until this day, the Offroad Assault on Mt Mitchell was my all time most fun ride ever. This past weekend I teamed up with Carol-Ann (aka moonbeam to some) for the adventure. We'd never ridden together but I knew she was cool because she rides a 29er, has been riding the same amount of time as I have, likes long rides, and is just really laid back and easy to get along with...and she has ridden Pisgah and knows it better than me (bonus!). The weather was great, and I let Carol-Ann lead the way, and would put in my 2 cents when appropriate. To start, we made some good route decisions, and probably some that were not so fast--but they were FUN. We both wanted to really enjoy the trails and not worry so much about which way to the checkpoints was "faster". It worked out, though, because we were the first female team to hit the first three checkpoints. That's sort of where things went south though...in the midst of blabbering our heads off we missed the correct turn to one of the checkpoints. After we finally realized that we missed the turn, we thought the gravel road we were on would take us to the right place but what we didn't realize was that the road we were on was a prohibited route. Even worse, it led us to the Blue Ridge Parkway (totally out of the way, and obviously also prohibited to ride on). We decided to not backtrack and waste several more hours (and lots of climbing) and navigated straight to the checkpoint. We were told that we had to be DQ'd. Bummer, but you know what - 13.5 hours and 70+ miles of excellent Pisgah riding was all I could ask for. I was not about to complain, especially when there was a beer and burrito waiting at the end. The last few hours of the ride was a bit tough since our motivation was relatively low and it was getting dark. The thought of the beer, burrito, and seeing Eddie got me through :) I hope to be able to make it to Pisgah Productions' second race of the year, the Double Dare (2x the fun)! Next time I'll place a little more importance on the map reading part ;)