Sunday, September 14, 2008


I have to say this race has been my greatest challenge on a bike yet. The pain, the boredom, the mind-numbness, the focus on nutrition, the loneliness, the exhilaration of passing, the dejection of being passed, and the pride of being the few that would even attempt this are just a few feelings I experienced. Sorry, No pictures. In the morning, setting up it was too dark, During the race I had other things on my mind and afterwards I was too exhausted and it was getting dark.

THE RACE (This might be a bit long, but so was the race)

Thanks to Carson who came up the night before to get a prime spot on the race route I was able to set up my table and cooler right on the course. It was 40 degrees F and dark. We started en mass at 7 am up the hill. It sure seemed like everyone took off really fast. Heck, we had the whole day ahead of us! I got in about where I wanted. Not in the front with the duo teams and not in the back with the recreational riders who might slow me up. I was pretty excited and my heart rate was at around 90% max. It was way too fast but I couldn't let up where I was at in line. It wasn't the usual race pace but close. Well I stayed around there for the next 6 laps! I new I was going to blow! But I figured it was all or none so I went for it. I did get stung by an angry nest of wasps (twice!) on my second lap. THAT WAS A SURPRISE! Several other riders also got stung until the stingers were all used up or the Sundance folks finally got around to spraying them. My low back was tight the first 6 laps but with a combination of putting pressure on the opposite leg of the pain more and standing up the back pain got better. I really think being able to lock out the ARANTIX helped immensely. I didn't feel any loss of power with bouncing etc. And every bit of energy saved was important on a ride like this.

Well by the 8th lap I was looking at my watch way too much and my HR wouldn't go up above 75%. All I could do was hope the other solo riders were slowing down also. That's also when I lost track of how many laps I had done. I was surprised how hard it was to keep count. During those laps I really only stopped 1-2 minutes to change out my water bottles. I think over all I did well with nutrition. I alternated Carborocket with Perpetuim each lap and felt like I was absorbing it fairly well. Towards the end I was getting tired of the taste and changed to water and electrolyte tabs with few powerbar lemon bursts. I took a 7-8 minute break around 2 pm and ate some grapes and sat down briefly. It felt good by I couldn't stay there and stiffen up so I headed out. It did take me a little while to warm up but then I was actually feeling better and faster.

It was difficult to gage where I was in the field of soloists and that was frustrating. I knew there was a of U of U racer that started with me and then took off early. No other soloists passed me for the first 8 laps that I could tell. I kept seeing the U racer at an intersection on the course and figured he was 10 minutes ahead of me. From feedback from the other Mad Dog racers I was somewhere in the top 10 after 5 laps.

On my third to last lap Brad Mullen started out for his last lap and rode with me. That seemed to have awakened me. The boredom let up and I started feeling my second wind! I actually was having fun again! Kind of. Well after that lap I figured I only had one lap left and I'd stop before the cut off time of 6:30 pm. But wouldn't you know it as I was heading out for that lap I saw BEHIND ME the U of U guy! I couldn't believe it! He had to have taken a really long break giving me a chance to catch up! That was my strategy all along; since I figured I couldn't out race the youngsters in the field I would keep going and not take breaks. And at that point it seemed like it would work! Well I took off determined that he wouldn't catch me. I was worried since he must have gotten a lot of rest that he would be fast. But I was still feeling good after Brad's boost from the last lap. I new I had the U guy when I saw him at the intersection 10 minutes behind me! Our positions had switched in just one lap! But then I realized that I was going to get in in time before the 6:30 cut off and have to do another lap! OUCH!!!

Well that last lap was REEEAAALLLYYY painful! I had blown my wad the last two laps not expecting to have to do this additional one. But at least I knew it was the last one for sure this time. I pulled in to half the racers already gone and the other cleaning up but I knew I had finished the whole 12 hour race with less than 20 minutes off my bike! What a feeling of accomplishment!

I ended up taking 5th over all the soloists! That included youngsters and pros! I was a bit dismayed that the organizers did not have a 40+ masters category as they had advertised. I'll be interested to see the age distributions once they post the results.

Unofficially I did 13 (CORRECTION AS OF 9-17: OFFICIAL # OF LAPS WAS 15 AT 9 MIILES A PEICE FR AN ESTIMATED 135 MILES!) laps for a total of 117 miles! My hands were raw,my legs tired and mind a bit numb but overall I felt pretty good.

The ARANTIX was flawless. NO mechanicals and I have to say for a hardtail it did not beat me up!

We are at 1603 miles of pure dirt, rock and grit on the ARANTIX!

Dot and Jonny at Wolverine race.


KC said...

Nicely done, Karl. You have every reason to be proud.

Grizzly Adam said...

You were strong as a bull out there. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Karl, and way to hang in there and finish off the last lap.


Anonymous said...

WOW! Great job!


Brad Mullen said...

As strong as you were riding, a 24 solo ought to be in your plans. It was a pleasure riding with you. You're strong as bull!