Friday, June 6, 2008

24 Hours of Big Bear

If you look real close, you can see Tinker in the picture above.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it ws the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way." - Charles Dickens

Or another way to sum it up - I paid a whole lot of money for a t-shirt. My team from the previous year had disbanded. I found a team online that were looking for a fourth member in the the just for fun category. Two of the guys were my age, one was about eight or ten years our junior. This seemed like a perfect team, riding just for fun so no pressure, and on a four man team so we could get some extra laps in. Then it was the worst of times...

Torrential downpour hit the course the day before the race, and hot temperatures (90's) and high humidity moved in. Course had lots of big mud patches that had no way to ride around them.

Our young guy took the first lap, and I knew we were in trouble while waiting at the transition tent when I saw Tinker Juarez go across the finish line twice before our teammate made it in.

The next two guys went and put in respectable times at about 1:50. I did my lap, pushed it hard but not too hard. With the high heat, humidity, and several more laps awaiting me, I didn't push it as much as I could have. I also finished at 1:50. Ten minutes slower than last year, but last year there was no mud and the course was fast. Consequently, I was happy with this time.

Recovering for the next lap, I didn't feel dehydrated nor that exhausted. It wasn't my turn again until like 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning. Our young guy had even a worse lap time and he was feeling nauseous and dehydrated. My night lap was pretty cool, except for the endo. Bad move, trying to put a gel packet back in my pocket rather than throwing it on the trail, I hit a rock and did a beautiful flip onto my back. Banged up pretty good, but no injuries. Got to enjoy the sunrise at the end of the lap, very impressive.

The young guy's third lap was about three hours. I could see I would not get another lap in before the noon deadline. So, I left for home early. It was a lot of fun to see a bunch of the Pittsburgh guys, but personally it was a waste of time and money this year. Stuff happens, and I guess I learned to try and find a team of people I know. It was very cool to see someone like Tinker do his thing. I can't imagine what it takes to ride 24 hours solo.

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