Monday, June 15, 2009

24 Hours of Big Bear 2009 - Part I

If it's not one thing, it's another. But I'll get to that later. Not sure if I like the actual riding in 24 hour races, or if it's the preparation, planning, and just hanging out with friends that I like.

Anyway, I had enough gear for a three week epic, unfortunately I was going to be gone for only three days. Arrived at Big Bear, WV on Friday around 2:00 and was amazed by the number of people already set up. Grabbed a camping spot and set up camp.

A couple of hours later Mike arrived. I raced my very first 24 hour race with Mike two years ago. It was good to see him and catch up. Listened to the Pens win the Stanley Cup on the radio while hanging out at the campfire. Was fun to hear all the people cheer and the horns blaring when the Pens won the game. Dave arrived around 11:00, we got him settled then off to bed. Jamie would arrive the next morning to complete our team of four racing in the Veteran category.

I actually got some sleep for a change, and before we knew it, it was time to race. Jamie was going to go first since I was thinking he and Dave would do four laps while Mike and I would do three. I'm not proud, no trouble admitting I'm not the fastest of riders.

Jamie did the Le Mans start and was then off to the singletrack. Lap times were a bit slow as there was about 3/4 inch of rain Thursday night. But about an hour and fifty minutes later we saw Jamie come out of the woods and up on to the metal bridge that dumps the riders to the finish tent. But Jamie seemed to stop before he made it to the top of the bridge, we couldn't really see what happened. Jamie swiped out, Dave swiped in and off he went.

That's when we got some bad news. Jamie had pulled or torn something in his calf while on that bridge. He wasn't sure how serious his injury was.

While Jamie was staying off his leg, I got dressed for my lap. Dave came in from his lap, putting in a really good time. I took off for my first lap. I had Nevagals on the front and back of my bike, but they're bigger tires. Before going to Big Bear, I changed the rear tire to a small block eight hoping for a faster rolling tire. But now with as muddy as the course would be, I was worried that I had made a bad decision.

I went out on the first lap, I tried to not blow up my legs on the first half of the course as it's easy to get sucked into the high energy out on the course. Tires hooked up really well, small block didn't really clog up like I thought it might. I could've pushed harder on this lap, but I knew I would need some energy later. I finished my lap in what for me was a good, solid time.

Mike took over for his lap, and I headed back to get changed and get some food. I felt really good, energy was high, no bonk. Legs were tired, but that was to be expected. Not to be expected was the fact that Jamie's injury was serious enough that he couldn't continue.

We were now a three man team. My curse continued. It was my third 24 hour race in a row where I've had a teammate have to pull out of the race due to injury. My rest time just went from about five hours to about three hours. To be continued...

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