Monday, May 11, 2009

My 12 hour race in 1hour and 41 minutes.

This passed weekend I headed down south to Eleanor, WV for the first ever 12 Hours of Eleanor Mountain Bike Race. I was looking forward to just having some fun with the event sense it was a team relay race. Gina and I arrived early the day before just so we could hang out with some friends and give Larry Perkins any help he needed in setting up for the event. We have camped at events so many times that Gina and I have the routine pretty much down top a science. We got the tent up, made the beds, tended to the dogs and I also prepared for the following day. After all that was done we decided to head back out to the interstate to find some dinner. Most of the time races are in the middle of no where and there is not many options on food. The same could also be said for living in Davis, so when CHANGE pops up we like to eat something different. After stuffing myself full of pasta and rice we headed back to the park. As we were driving the heavens opened up and started to dump buckets of water. It was hard to see the road while driving cause it was coming down so hard. THE TENT!!!! The thought popped into my mind. Yes we had the pop-up tent over our sleeping tent but we didn't put the rain fly on. UGH! The last 2 or 3 miles of the drive I couldn't help but imagine what state are sleeping bags and blankets were in. We had just learned the weekend before after a large rain that the pop-up was starting to get worn out and was starting to leak.

As we pulled up to the tent if it was even possible it seemed as though it was raining even harder. I bolted over to the tent to check and noticed right away a large puddle had formed under the front of the tent. $@&*$^! Gina and I through the rain fly on top of the tent as fast as we could. Afterwards I opened up the tent to look inside. Minimal damage at the most. Thank goodness! We dodged a bullet on that one. The rain never let up so we decided to move our tent into the barn for the rest of the weekend. Note to anyone camping to at upcoming Creek to Peak points race. CAMP IN THE BARN! Besides all the bird poop is was pretty sweet.. Really! As we sat around drinking a brew or two watching the rain outside we were so happy to have moved the tent.

The next morning I was awoken way to early at 6:30am by the sound of yelling kids and pigs?! The night before there were no pigs or kids around so what the hell was going on. Well I came to learn that from the hours of 7am - noon the barn was going to be used to TAG the ears of livestock. As 7am drew nearer a line of pickup trucks and trailer form about 10 deep. Each 4x4 had at some kinda farm animal on board. It was like going to the petting zoo. I saw pigs, goats, cows, sheep and more mullets then I could count. Gunnar would have been in heaven. Lets say however the animals were not to happy to have a hole punched through their ear for there number tag. I said to myself, thank goodness the Shogrens are not hear. As registration started you would every once in a while hear a scream of a little piggy getting tagged. Very interested registration to say the least.

Notice the cow in the back, Photo by Theresa Svoboda

Lucky was not happy with the livestock

Finally all the drama was over and it was time to get down to some racing. I was headed out first on the course for my three man team and was super ready to get going. As the race began it was clear that all the rain for the last two week was going to make for a muddy race but things were not all that bad. My team mate Steve Thorne and I rode much of the first lap together. I struggled a little in the mud to keep up but I have never been the best in that type of conditions. 1 hour and forty one minutes later I completed my first lap. That was just a minute long then I had thought it would take so I was pretty happy. I handed off to my friend Darren Bennett who I had talked into doing the race the week before. I think Darren was pretty excited about doing the race as he headed out.

Steve and I, ready to race

I then started to eat and drink for the next lap that I would do, which I was gussing was going to be in 4 hours. Darren was fit but didn't race much XC so I figured 2 hours for his lap and the same for are third team mate Philip Poff. I ate and then I ate some more. The tank was full and I was ready to head out again but Darren had not returned yet. It had only been 2 hours so he should be hear anytime. At about 2 hours and 20 minutes his girl friend started to worry. I didn't show it much concern just figured Darren was having a little trouble with the conditions. Little did we know at the time the course was starting to turn into a peanut butter like consistence. At hours and thirty minutes Darren showed from the woods. He looked tired and was cover with mud. He handed of to Phil and Darren didn't say to much.. The look on his face said it all. He was tired.

Is a front chainring meant to look like this?

SO phil was on the course by 4:11 PM and that meant at around 6:00 I needed to be ready to go. I ate some more and drank some more. Got the bike all ready and was now just waiting. With some extra time I decided to take a few photos out on the course. The trails was really starting to fall apart. Even walking was becoming extremely hard. As riders made their way past me the before happy and excited racers looked tired and dejected. The course is 10% ridable one person said to me. UGH! I thought. At 6:00 I started to get ready. I paced around with excitement for my next lap. I knew it was going to be hard by the look of the other riders coming in. At 6:30 no Phil.. Ah, he will be here soon. At 7:00, no Phil. By this time riders were pushing what was left of there bike in from their laps. Broke derailors, one broke frame, and more mud the you could imagine. 7:15 and still no Phil. By this time the thought of heading out in that crap was not looking like fun and everyone around me was also questioning it. Also teams were quiting left and right. 7:30 and no Phil. At this point he had been out there for over 3 hours. I was feeling his pain and I had almost no excitement left about going back out. At 7:40 Philip came out of the woods. He was barely turning the pedals and just looked worked over. I waited for him back in hand at the transition area. As he came up he said,"Dude you don't want to go out there". He stated that it looked like a war zone out on the trails. He said people were laying against tree worn out and out of food.

Just a little mud out there

I was torn. I wanted to ride but that didn't sound like any fun at all. After a minute or two I said the hell with it and headed out on my bike. As I rolled out I people yelled at me that I was crazy. Phil was ride, the trails were a mess. I had to push a few hill and it was so muddy it locked up the back hill pulling the bike up hill. After about 2 miles I had enough and headed back. It was getting dark and I had not interest in pushing my bike at night. Best choice I made all day. The only bad thing was that I had spent all day eating to deep my energy up for the race. With only doing one 12 miles lap it was a waste. Feeling kinda fat today. Need to ride a lot this week. Lets hope Tour de Lake is going to be dry this weekend.