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!
NEXT STOP: OUTDOOR DEMO IN BOULDER CITY NV AND INTER-BIKE IN LAS VEGAS!
Dot and Jonny at Wolverine race.