Tuesday, June 1, 2010

RR: Lewis and Clark 24 Hour race

Short story: I won! 268.5 miles. Drew's 4 person team set a wicked record of 444.4 miles...

Long story: Not all that easy!

This was a 24 hour race near Vancouver, WA. A very small field, for a new but (hopefully) growing race. I was the only female soloist, and there were but 3 solo men. My hubby got sucked into a 4 person men's team, so I would only have support at night. There were also 10'ish solo and team 12 hour racers. Did I mention this race was small?

I got to start the race off at 6:30am, with folks heading off in 30 second intervals. I was unprepared and hopped on my bike. I looked down a few minutes later and my bike computer wasn't working. Drats! I reached down to try to adjust the sensor, hit a bump, and ping. It went into my wheel and sheared off. The wheel was fine, but as I looped back to pick up the sensor I realized that wa going to make for a long day not knowing where I was exactly. Okay... no prob... I'll go by feel. As I started again, I found my handlebars slipping. Crap! Stop once more, dig out my allen wrench and tighten those babies down. Smile at the riders going past while I'm wasting time. Finally I'm on the road for real and Drew comes riding by. I tell him about my odometer, and he hands me his Garmin... it only has a few hours of battery power, but at least for the first 70 miles I know where I am.

Did I mention it was raining? Oh yeah.. to add to the farce there was a steady rain. Oy! I tried to take it all in stride and just settle in for the day. Then, another bad decision came into play. I wore my prescription sunglasses. The rain made them impossible to see through (especially when I'd hit a climb and the insides would fog up), but I'm pretty much blind without them. As the rain fell the first 6 hours of the race I was forced to stop frequently and try to wipe them off. At each aid station I would get the volunteers to clean them, and then off I'd go.

Settle in and smile... So what... its a long day, and given the moisture the area is just a lush jungle of trees. Absolutely beautiful! The day loop (140 miles) had two significant climbs, several short steepers, and one 15ish mile false flat. Three checkpoints tricked out with all the food you could want. Seriously... PB&J, Doritos, jello pudding, chips, race-foods... for such a small race these guys were stocked!!!

I had a recumbant behind me, and traded places back and forth with two other races through the day. So, enough company to not feel totally isolated but I did spend alot of time singing and trying to stay upbeat and in the moment. Made it in off the day loop and then it was time for endless laps of the night loop.

And, what a loop! 9.5 miles, with 480ft of climbing. One short steep hill (which I only rode up about half the time), one longer steep grade (never walked that one), and an even longer grade (but shallower). 480 feet doesn't sound like too much, until you multiply it by 15 and realize that's almost 7500 feet of climbing. The first couple of laps there were people around, then the 12 hour racesrs stopped and things got quiet.

I did get a suprise gift. The awesome Sandy Earl came out and crewed for me. (She's going to rock RAAM on a recumbant in a few weeks). So, when I'd come in off a lap, she'd hand me some food, etc. Aound 5am I got tired. Really sleepy tired where my eyes were doing crazy unfocusness while riding and the Vivarin only gave me heartburn. I negotiated a 15 minute nap, which was perfect and I was able to rock out the final lap (as the light came up) and 3 bonus miles (to the base of the steep hill).

So.. all in all an okay day. Not a steller race, but a solid training race with enough crazy stuff happening to give me a good mental challenge (and 20 or so more ultracup points). My quads and hammys were totally thrashed Sunday/Monday but today I'm feeling tired but okay. Saturday I switch gears to my cross bike as I head to Kansas for the Dirty Kansas 200 miler gravel grinder (and Artemous heads to the shop to get his shifting cleaned up). Build her up and break her down, that's the plan for the next few weeks...

Ride on!

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