BURN 24 Hour Race Report
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