Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Challenging the BURN 24, singlespeed style

In 2006, I had a terrible race at the BURN 24. Eddie and I had not yet gotten into the bike fitting biz and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to ride his bike...which led me to severe back pain because it wasn't fit to me, which led me to OD on ibuprofen, which led me to a really crappy race.

So, in 2007, I made the BURN 24 hour one of my 'A' races of the year. I was going to go back to crush it...on my singlespeed no less. Everything was in place..I was feeling good thanks to excellent coaching by Eddie O'Dea, and my new Vassago Jabberwocky that fits like a glove. I wasn't nervous, I didn't even know who I would be racing, but my goal was 24 laps on the 6.5 mile course. The course is "good" for singlespeeding, as it has very little flat sections. It's really either UP or DOWN. The climbs are really nice, and the downhills are a blast..sometimes so fast they are scary fun.

I won't bore you with the lap-by-lap breakdown, but here are some of the highlights:

Lemans start: Holy crap that run was long. Nothing else to say about was just long, hot, and long.

Lap 1: Quite a back-up on the trail, lots of people slowing, dabbing, not as bad as at 12 hours of Razorback but still slightly annoying. Oh well, I should have run faster (even though there is no way I could have).

Lap 2: Reba fork stops working, it feels rigid, can't tell the difference between the fork being locked out and open. My first thought was DAMN..why didn't I just use the White Brothers fork! Kicking myself!

Lap 4 or 5: Figure out after playing with shock air pressures, that it must be a rebound problem. Rebound was set to fastest, but the fork was not coming back up.

I began to just leave the fork locked out. For the most part, it wasn't bad, but the rooty descents and the really fast sections with stutterbumps were killing my forearms, elbows, and hands. I hadn't planned on riding rigid!

Sometime at night: Eddie scored some lighterweight fork oil, and Mark Hendershot's mechanic from Paceline Bicycles in Winston Salem agreed to rebuild my fork to hopefully fix the issue, but I understood that nothing was guaranteed. I waited until I had a 2 lap lead on 2nd place to stop because I knew this would take some time. Sure enough, I sat in Hendershot's pit while the expert went to work. I lost tons of time here, but it was fun to hang with Eddie, Lisa Rolf, Roberta in the meantime. I lost a big part of my lead, but I was still about a lap up on 2nd.

The fork worked well for awhile, but it began to feel rough again after a few laps. I was frustrated, but there was nothing I could do except suck it up and deal with it. The low point of my night was when I really thought it was 5:00 am, but in reality it was 1:30 am. How the hell did that happen?!?! I was really depressed after I figured this out. It really was going to be a long night. Sometime around 2 or 3 am, maybe, I made the mistake of eating a peanut butter Powerbar, when I need to stay away from peanuts while I'm racing. I spent the next hour freaking out that I was having an allergic reaction. I spent about 30 minutes on the side of the trail debating what to do with myself..I didn't have my epipen with me. I decided to walk/ride to the mid-way SAG stop on the course, where I sat there and sipped Gatorade for about 30 minutes until Jen (2nd place solo female) arrived. I was still one lap up on her at this point, but decided it was time to start riding again. Having her to ride with was good motivation. This is when I realized that all this fatigue crap was all in my head..I just needed a little motivation!

While my stomach was not feeling 100%, my legs seemed to be doing fine. I was still riding everything except dabbing or walking the short switchback section that was now taking too much energy. I could climb anything as long as it was straight, but the steeper switchbacks were wearing on me.

Sunrise couldn't come soon enough, but when it did, I felt the energy. That has got to be the best feeling in a 24 hour race...a total sense of renewed energy...sunlight...everyone is smiling, and saying "good morning". I love that.

OK, so that energy didn't last for too long. I started to slack off on my eating and drinking because of the bad heartburn I'd been having. This took a toll on my riding and my attitude. My goal had been 24 laps, and I could still make this happen with the hours left..but I just wanted to stop. Jennifer kept riding though, which forced me to keep at it. Looking back, I'm so glad...I wish I had the mental fortitude at that point to just block everything out and go for my goal of 24..but I finished with 22 laps at 11am. It was good enough to secure 1st place, so at that point that seemed good enough for me. So, I still have a little work to do on the mental side..but don't we all.

I was all in all very pleased with my race, and extremely impressed with another first class event directed by Eddie O'Dea. Thanks to all the sponsors of the race--there were some killer prizes there!! And, of course, thanks to my personal sponsors as well: Vassago Cycles - 55nine Performance - Twin Six - Tifosi Optics - - WTB - White Brothers - Industry Nine - Defeet - PowerBar - Ergon - Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition - Dr. Josh Glass - Collette Ragan massage - Coach Eddie O'Dea. Also thanks to Scott Hodge from Addictive Cycles for the last minute work on my bike before the race, and, thanks again to the best pit crew I have ever had, Lisa Rolf. You are the best! Way to go Jennifer Dilworth, with 21 laps!

One more thing, check the podcast thanks to Joe Polk from --I have a pre and post race interview on there. Here are some links to race photos:

The solo prize was $250 cash thanks to 55nine Performance plus some other goodies from BURN, Thomson, and Twin Six. I was also lucky enough to score a kiss from the race director..SWEET! :)

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Hours: 23
Laps: 22
Miles: 145-150
Climbing: 15000-16000
Mechanicals: One large nagging Reba problem (oh yes, I should have run the White Brothers Magic 80 after all). I knew this before, but now I really know that rigid sucks.
Gears: One
Trophies: One

Not to brag, but my husband knows how to put on a hell of a race. You missed out if you weren't there. Special thanks to Lisa Rolf (friend and pit crew extraordinare), Eddie O'Dea, Misty from Vassago Cycles, and Mark Hendershot's mechanic from Paceline Biycles in Winston-Salem for doing a midnight trailside fork rebuild for me...that was a first (for me at least), and the one and only Roberta. You're all awesome.

More detailed updates later, but I need to eat and sleep now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ready to race 24 hours

We are leaving tomorrow! I am really excited. I'll get the chance to get some pre-rides in on Wed, Thurs, and Fri. and relax a lot. I'll be racing my Vassago Jabberwocky SS 29er. I'm pretty sure what gear I will run, but I'm bringing a few so I can be 100% sure by Saturday.

Jeremy (mtn goat, and Team Vassago) will be out there for his first solo 24, as well as Misty from Vassago for support. My friend Lisa will be doing support for me, as well. Eddie will be busy with the race directing side, but it will still be good to have him there.

More updates to come from Wilkesboro, NC!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

One hell of a day..or 12 hours of hell

Eddie and his pit crew Richard took off at 9am today for 24 hours of Conyers. I decided to get a 5-6 hour ride in at Dauset Trails, then I was going to go over to Conyers to keep Richard company and help Eddie out. So, here's how my day went.

10:30 am arrive at Dauset, start riding

11:30 am clip pedal on root and land with handlebar in ribs, pedal in shin. Ouch. The good thing about this, though, is that I am not thinking about my knee at all...too much pain elsewhere.

1:00 pm stop to let Brandon help tune my WB Magic 80 fork..since he has the same one. I didn't have enough air in it, and the rebound was too slow.

1:30 pm head back out to evil trail that caused me to make stupid painful mistake

2:15 pm feeling kind of tired and hungry, decide to take my eyes off the trail and stare at my front wheel...BAM. hit big rock and slice right shin open on big rock.

2:18 pm decide to bag this cursed ride and try to head to conyers

5:30 pm leave for conyers, hear from mike livingston that eddie is not having a good race. not sure of reason? mechanicals? crash?

5:45 meet mike livingston for ride to conyers

5:46 lock keys in car at mike's house. AAARRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

6:00 pick up food and more CO2 for eddie

7:00 arrive at conyers, eddie is not feeling so hot..mostly discouraged and probably in need of calories and some cheer

9:15 leave conyers and get spare keys

10:10 arrive back at mike's only to find out the battery in the car is dead. !##$%^#@!!!

10:15 head back to conyers to hand off some more gloves for eddie, car is running but everything inside (radio, lights, etc.) is dead.

12:00 midnight arrive home and ice injuries from this afternoon. ouch.

sunday night's plan involves fork tuning, tire swaps, and brake bleeding. it's the final countown to the BURN 24 now! the bike must be working flawlessly.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I should have done this a long time ago.

Today I finally did it..I went to see Dr. Josh Glass. I know several folks that see him, including Eddie. I have seen his fiancee, Collette Ragan, for sports massage for several years. After tweaking something in Cohutta 100, and worsening it in the Dirty Spokes 12 hour, I've logged a grand total of 3.5 hours of riding in the last week. I've felt pain in places I shouldn't and mild depression from not being able to ride :) Two massages haven't taken care of my "issues" with the BURN 24 about a week away now I decided to go to Dr. Glass. What he found was that my right side was so jacked because of my lower lumbar vertebrae and my sacrum being skewed to the right..all my ligaments were tightened up..therefore tightening the muscles on the I was compensating...and developed tendonitis. The good thing is that he said if I do everything right (and do it a lot) over the next week, I should be fine for the BURN 24. PHEW. You bet I will be stretching, icing, foam rolling, all day and night for the next week. I've worked too hard to train for this race to let this ruin it now.

Other than that, I'm ready. Mentally, and physically (I hope). I'm totally excited to see how the Jabberwocky does for 24 hours...I know it will eat it up. And, I have a nice new fork to race with as well. Unfortunately, my mechanic is a bit preoccupied at the moment, preparing to rip legs off at the 24 hours of Conyers this weekend. I think I will have to take it to a shop so I can have the fork installed and test it this weekend. Misty from Vassago is flying all the way out to NC for the BURN 24 too, to help cheer and support Jeremy and me. How cool is that?

Good luck to all the 24 Hours of Conyers folks and Danielle who chose to (only) race 12 hours at Tsali this weekend. Just kidding, Danielle ;)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

SF pics

Here's a few.. at the market

my sister is a model

i'm not

but i do like pink!

i spotted this growing wild

Monday, May 14, 2007

So sweepy

Just got back from SF at 5 am today, and had to go straight to the first day of my summer internship..ouch. 2-3 hours of poor sleep on the plane last night..5 days of no riding..not really what I had in mind. With the race in less than 2 weeks now, I've got a little catching up to do..but first I need a nap.

Pics to come later.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Summer Vacation

That's's time!! School has ended for the semester, and I have until Monday to play until I start one of my dietetic internship rotations. Unfortunately, my knee is bothering me, so I will probably stay off the bike (or mostly off the bike) for the next 4-5 days..don't want to aggravate anything before one of my two big events of the year, the BURN 24 Hour Challenge, which is only 3 weeks away. I think the reason my knee problem started is because I decided to put brand new insoles in my worn out mtb shoes just before the Cohutta testing or break-in. I should know better than that..I raced with them this past weekend too, and now my knee is sore again. So, out they go, at least I got new mtb shoes. I am going to try ART for the first time, and also have a massage scheduled for Thursday. Friday, I'm leaving to visit my sis on the left coast for the weekend--should be fun!! I've never been to San Fran when it's not cold and rainy. I'm going to take my running shoes so I can practice my lemans start, at least I can do that if I can't ride! I can't remember the last non-riding trip I took...even our honeymoon revolved around mountain biking :) Oh well, this means I should be good and rested for the BURN!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Dirty Spokes 12 hour race

Eddie and I usually race solo for 6-24 hour mtb events, but this weekend we decided to try out something different..race as a 2-person team at the Dirty Spokes 12 hour. We didn't trade off back and forth, though, instead I rode the first 6 hours and he rode the second. The one not racing fulfilled support and dog-sitting duties.

The Jabberwocky worked flawlessly and rode beautifully, I was very impressed!!! I got many compliments on it too :) My race was great until my 5th lap when my stomach got really upset..but I knew I was on my last lap so I could deal with it despite having a really slow lap. I rolled out 5 laps on the SS and Eddie finished it up with 6..we ended up winning with 11 laps in 12 hours. It was another good day on the bike, and a great low-key event. I will post a link to pics when they are up.

Side note: We had a ton of 55nine Performance clients representin' on the podium yesterday, yeah!

Friday, May 04, 2007

This is cool

I posted it on the 55nine blog too, but the Macon, GA local news did a bit on the Abercrombie & Fitch cycling team and Wobble-naught. Eddie O was there to help with the fittings. Clicky here.

Quick update

Got on the trail yesterday with the Jabberwocky for a brief, my thoughts are:

Traction while climbing is great
Turns/switchbacks are easier
Cornering is faster/more stable
Descending-I feel more stable and can get my weight back easier
Rigid fork- tried the KM fork..not so much. It would be fun to ride with one (I'll probably get one as a backup at some point), but I don't want to race with one. So, now I need to find a way to get a White Brothers Magic 80. Hmm.

Oh by the way, there is a 12 hour lap race in the Southeast this weekend, and the forecast is for rain. Hmm..a muddy 12 hour race..THAT never happens. Yeah, right. I think the whole Georgia MTB community will be there this weekend. See ya there.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Meet my little devil

OK, this build is temporary, I put on most of my old parts because I didn't have time to figure out some of the new stuff (i.e. Stans in my I9 wheels and which new fork I will get). The bike looks and feels great, though. Here's what I have now:

Vassago Jabberwocky, 16" Singlespeed frame- black detailing to be replaced with white
American Classic 29" Singlespeed wheels (to be replaced with silver Industry Nines with Stans)
Truvativ Stylo SS cranks
Endless Kick Ass Cog
Jones H-bar
Thomson stem
Black King headset (to be replaced with PINK)
Time pedals (may be replaced with eggbeaters)
Dean Titanium seatpost
Avid Juicy 7 hydraulic brakes
WTB Rocket V Saddle- to be replaced with silver/black WTB Rocket V SLT saddle
Bontrager Jones XR/Ignitor tire combo- to be replaced with some WTB tires (tbd)
Reba Race 29 (to be replaced with either White Brothers Magic 29 80mm, or White Brothers Rock Solid 29" or Vassago Pitchfork...tbd).

So, that's it, in a nutshell. I will hit the trails with it tomorrow for the shakedown before this weekend's Dirty Spokes 12 hour race. Stay tuned for a full trail report sometime tomorrow!

Many thanks to Vassago Cycles (who has been AWESOME),, and the best husband & mechanic in the world..Eddie O'Dea for helping me to build this awesome little devil ;)