October 6-7, 2006
World 24hr Solo Championship
Conyers International Horse Park, Conyers Ga.
Lap 1: Lemans start was as uncomfortable as ever. Pacing started early for me, case in point the run, just trying to settle into my pace as quick as I could. Saddled up on my back–up bike (X-Caliber) looked up and one long line of riders all the way from solo pit row up to the start of the single track. This was going to be fight all the way around the first lap or two.
Constantly jockeying for a better position, this can really turn your screws early and waste valuable energy. So after settling into a pace I was somewhat comfy with, I notice some play in the cranks on my bike. Having had a loose crankarm before I knew this was going to be a fixer upper on the trail. Luckily I had some form a multi tool on me. Not the correct tool for the job but something that would work. So twice I had to stop and tighten the crankarm. Plus I took a digger in some soft sand and flopped around like a dead roach. With my pride stuffed back in my back pocket I continued back to my pit. Having lost at least 10min. on my main rivals would be more mental than physical to overcome.
Lap 2-6: What can I say? Plans change, with no real mechanical help for the race I had to access the damage on the X-Cal and decide quickly what to do. I had to go ahead and hop onto my primary bike early. Plans were to ride the X-Cal for at least 3-4 laps. This was an effort to make T-dog a bit more aggressive. Oh well onto the full suspension for the next 22hrs. Putting that fiasco behind me I settled into my own pace and started turning out consistent laps.
As always Erin was in charge of the pit with the help of her mother (Lynn). They kept me topped off Hammer Nutrition and moral support. Nutrition was spot on for the race, using a variety of Hammer Nutrition products (ex. Race Caps, Anti Fatigue, Endurolytes, HEED, Sustained Energy, Hammer Gel @ Hammer Bars) plus the occasional splash of Red Bull.
Around 6 pm concerned moments of mental stability. I came into the pit cross-eyed and bit confused. I couldn’t explain it I just wanted to go and lay down in the hotel across the street. “Suck it up and get, get on now, get up outta here” Erin. If you act like a dog you will be treated like a dog. After looking back on the race the six hour mark was a huge barrier for me to get over. Considering that was the longest ride I had completed since July. Other than that I have able to get about six hours a week. Yeah now I got 18 hours to go. Currently riding in 4th place about 30 minutes back on 2nd and 3rd.
Laps 7-12: This would put me out around midnight, the half way point. These laps went by fast. Pace was right where I wanted to see it. Lights had to be up and running around 7 p.m. The night laps are always a test in there own right. With the course conditions being very dry and dusty, made for difficult riding. The dust was so bad you could not see all the dips, rocks and roots that littered the trail. Let’s just call them hidden dangers. I’ve never experienced conditions like this, where the trail had a bright glow about it, almost like a glare. I’ve always banked on my abilities to ride well at night. Generally speaking this is I can usually make time on my rivals.
Laps 13-18: This would have run me through the graveyard shift, now just ticking the laps over. Game plan was to pit every other lap. This plan was to strike fear into my rivals. From a pit person’s perspective at 3am if a rider is turning out consistently fast laps they tend to get worried. This also worked well giving Erin a chance to sleep a bit. Temps were dropping all night long rumors of high 40’s. Uncomfortable for sitting in the pit waiting for your crazy ass husband to come around with some off the wall demands. So as Erin was sleeping I would rummage through the pit looking for any and everything to eat. So as for the race around sunrise when Erin awoke she gave me some info that I had moved from 4th to 2nd throughout the night. With the rhythm on and enthusiasm high I finally felt like Toby.
Laps 19-21: Sunrise was and always is a very welcome sight in a 24hr solo race. No more lights and time ticking down. With just under 6 hour of racing left I had to focus on finishing strong. Dreams of pancakes and eggs filled my thoughts as my stomach cried out for fuel. Pulled into the pit and what ya see but a plate of cold leftover breakfast someone hasn’t finished. “Hey ya gonna finish that, na I don’t need a fork I got fingers.” Oh yeah the race my pit crew all rested and excited informed me that I had ridden myself into 2nd place over the night. Yeah for me now can someone make a run to MickyD’s for more pancakes and eggs? Forget visions of sugar plums lets talk pancakes. Inspired that they will be waiting on the next lap I quickly busted out two hotish laps. So close to the finish with the win out of my grasp I just slipped into survival mode. With pancakes waiting I took my last break to scarf down breakfast and even teased The Stick with a floppy one.
Able to complete another lap or two I loose count. I crossed the line for the last time at 11:07 with 21 laps officially sitting in 2nd place in the 30-34 age group.
Mission accomplished I impressed my own self by not breaking down at the 6 hour mark. Completing 21 just 1 lap off my all time lap record set back in ’03. I would like extend a huge THANK YOU SO MUCH to my sponsors Harrell’s Bicycle World, Garmin Navigation Systems, Paul & Bryan for the lights. If it weren’t for great friends and loyal sponsors none of this would have been possible. Till Next Time.