Sunday, September 20, 2009


I got in with the bike intact and things going well until I heard that my wrench support through Delta 7 sports had a family emergency with his daughter hospitalized and couldn't help. I definitely did not blame him but it did leave me without any tools. He did set up to have the ARANTIX put together at a local bike shop. But I had to do a whole 12 hour race to do with a leatherman and my parks tool. I recruited my sister, Jessika, to help but the whole family showed up to help run support. That turned out to be the funnest part of the race. As some of the solo riders that I was racing said. "Wow you have a whole army!". I started out pretty excited to take on the OHio boys and found myself second half way into the race. I ended up having the second fastest time. But as usual I paid for that by burning out. With the Vizmeg army I had really had good turn around times so by the third lap I was out front overall. But half way into the lap another 12 hour solo rider passed going pretty fast. I got in and with a quick turn around I was first again. Again, at about the same spot I was passed by the same guy. I figured my first place chance was over. The only hope I had was to keep having good turn around times and pray he didn't. By the 5th lap I was getting reports from the Team Vizmeg crew that he was hanging out at the pit areas longer and I was 7 minutes ahead of him.

By then I was dealing with some serious chain skipping. It felt like the back cassette was slipping anytime I tried to stand or put any force on it. It was wearing on me since with the ARANTIX I like to stand on the short ups. My butt was feeling the extra sitting requirements to spin. The course was pretty wearing as well since it was a lot of ups and downs without any recovery sections. There were a lot of trees and roots that required standing. It was a fun course overall with about 95% single track, and a bit of grassy fields. There was a mossy 5o yard section of "rock garden" that was a challenge. It would have been treacherous if it would have been wet, though.
By lap six I was feeling it but did not feel like I could let up. Around that time what really kept me going was the excitement shown by my family. As I would roll into the pit area, I literally had the biggest and loudest cheering section. Each time I came by the whole team was there to help me out. They consisted of Jessy, Toby (sis and bro), Heather (sis in law) and their kids Nik, Alek and Maya along with my Mom and Dad- whose 70th birthday prompted this visit. As night rolled around I figured the kids had a long day and that Heather and Toby would want to take them home soon, but Heather made me smile when she said "We'll stay as long as you are winning". I had to keep going.

After the 6th lap I got word that 2nd place was 9 minutes behind and he seemed to be taking longer in the pit areas. This bolstered my confidence but I knew it wasn't in the bag yet. My cassette was skipping even more making me walk up hills I still could have ridden. With all of the skipping I felt for sure that the chain would break. I even had to borrow a pump to pump up my shock.

Night came and I got the lights installed in record time with my team and I was off 30 minutes ahead of second. I was breathing easier but finally getting tired and was wondering if I could keep going without stopping to rest like my competition was. I was cramping but not too bad likely due to the Carborocket I was regularly drinking. On the good side my stomach was feeling good and Mom had given me a bite of wonderfully tasting BBQ'd pork before I headed out. I thought of that the rest of that 8th lap and couldn't wait to get some more.

Coming in on the 9th lap I was 42 minutes ahead and barring mechanicals I was finally starting to relax a little. I decided to nurse the bike and chain to avoid a breakdown and slowed down. This also helped me avoid a full rest stop. So I kept going. This was the lap I was hoping the competition would stop on so I wouldn't have to do another lap. It was around 10pm when I rolled in still with plenty of time to do another. I wasn't prepared mentally to do more than 8 laps since last year's winning # of laps was 6! Jessy and mom were there to feed me and report that 2nd place had gone out about 10 minutes before I came in. I had to do another lap but as long as I finished I would win. Well that was the longest lap of my life!

My legs were shot. They even gave up cramping! They just gave up. I was spinning so slow that at least 3 times I would hit a small root, come to an immediate stop and tip over before I could even clip out. I never really got hurt since I was going so slow but it still stung. I felt like It was my first MTB race. I got in at 11 minutes after midnight. Jessy who was the core to the team and gave up her study time to help me was there with Mom. It was really cool to have the extended family experience the crazy racing stuff that has consumed my last few years and maybe have a better appreciation of why I do it. This has been the most satisfying race I've had. The funny thing is, is that I don't even have an award or medal to remember this by. They ONLY handed out $100 in cash! (which normally I would have preferred- go figure).



Anonymous said...

Congrats' Karl, way to represent Utah riders! Sounds like it was a blast, you should bring your cheering section to cheer for us at the races, and maybe your mom's bbq ;-)

KC said...

That is awesome and well deserved. Great job.

KanyonKris said...

That's some gutsy riding. Good to have your family there. I enjoyed reading about your experience.