Monday, June 22, 2009
24 Hours of Big Bear 2009 - Part II
Time is a funny thing. It does just the opposite of what you want it to do. Four hours never went so fast, before I knew it, it was my time for my second lap. I went out around 9:00 with my Dionette on my helmet and Jamie's HID on the handlebars - lights wouldn't be a problem. But traction would be. Once night settled in, a layer of dew covered all rock surfaces - and at Big Bear there are a lot of rock surfaces, trust me.
Within the first 100 yards, I fell off my bike three times. Everytime I rode over a rock, my bike would slide off. I took some air out of my rear tire which seemed to help a bit. My front derailleur had decided not to work anymore, so I was stuck using my small chain ring. In retrospect, the middle ring would've been better, but I wasn't sure if I had the leg power to push it the whole race.
For a while, I had about three people behind me just for the amount of lumens I was throwing out, but my slow pace and many falls allowed them to move on.
Once I got past the top section of what I refer to as the "rollers" I started heading through some small rock drops that would eventually lead me to the large descent.
On one small rock drop that I had ridden dozens of time, all of a sudden my front wheel stopped moving. Inertia is a funny thing. Though my bike stopped, I did not. Right up and over the handlebars, but luckily I had a nice pile of rocks to break my fall. I think taking years of judo has paid off a hundred times, as it did here. Once tossed off the bike, I tucked my chin and just went with the flip off the bike. As I landed I threw out my arm to dissipate the energy of the fall. I bruised up my forearm pretty badly, but no serious injury just pain.
"You okay?" Where did that come from? As I lay on my back with my bike atop me, I scanned the area and saw a rider off in the woods working on his chain. "Well, a fall like that will wake you up," I responded. What a wit I have.
Back on my bike, and off I went. As I said, time is a funny thing. Why does 2.5 hours of rest feel like 20 minutes, but a 2.5 hour lap time feels like 6 hours? The walk up the final one mile hill felt like 12 miles.
Finally I see the finish tent. All I have to do is ride up and over the old steel bridge. But I relaxed too quickly. As I rode the bridge, a motorcycle decided to gun the throttle. I took a quick look, just long enough to catch my handle bar on one of the bridge supports, tossing me into the side rails. Sheeesh, how embarrassing, but I was too tired to care.
Finished the lap, and Mike took the next one. Warned him of the slickness (a bit of foreshadowing).
Jamie walked my bike back to the campsite for me, where I promptly collapsed into a chair. The cold air quickly turned my sweat cold. I was tired, cold, and hungry, and yet I couldn't move.
I did the math in my head, my next lap was at 4:00 a.m. and I knew I wouldn't recover by then. I had had no sleep up to this point, and my body was shutting down quickly. Dave would be doing the next lap after Mike, and I told Jamie to pass on the message that I needed sleep and wouldnt' be able to go again until 6:00. Jokingly, I mentioned that if Dave wanted to do a double lap that would be just fine with me.
At 4:00 a.m. Dave woke me up at the finish of his lap. He said he would do a second lap if he could borrow my lights. Absolutely no problem!!! Dave got fueled up, we swapped his lights out, and off he went for another lap, two in a row. Can't imagine how he did it. At least I had two more hours for my legs to recover.
To be continued...