Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dawn to Dusk, then Back to Dawn

Long Ride Productions would have been proud of the efforts by nearly 2,000 gnarly mountain bikers in the heart of the Sonoran Desert last weekend.  The journey started long before the race actually did, with a nice13 hour car ride down from P ville to Tucson.  Once the feet had landed on desert soil, anticipation began to grow and no time was lost.  With the 'crew' assembled, we began our trek out to the two four course to begin the set up of our 3 day race camp.  With tents up reserving space, and gear as organized as could be, there was some time to sneak a couple hot laps in to pre ride the course   Of which, a hot time of 1:04 (over 16.2 miles) was thrown down by yours truly   Tires were swapped to accommodate the especially dry conditions, and I was able to knock off another min during the next pre ride (1:03:23 - almost 16mph average).  200 exceptional racers ended the day with dreams of crushing the solo category.

24 Hour Town woke up race day to tents baffling in 20 mile per hour wind, with gusts over 35.  I got kitted up in a dust storm, chowed down as much gritty food as possible, dawned the helmet and zip tied the race number on the Soukri.  11:00am sees 800 riders getting checked in, bikes being lined up, and a very anxious crowd starts making it's way to the start line.

When I get to the start line, ol Tinker lines up in front of me.  Looks like she's gonna be tough race with a heavy stack of pro riders in the Solo category.  A shot gun gets hoisted to the air, the count down gets rattled off.  Then BANG!!!

The next thing I see is the person in front of me belly flopping down on the ground.  Hundreds of riders are behind, pushing, and I roll my ankle on the fallen racer.  And just like that, in the very first second of 24 hours, my ankle is toast.  Hobbling down the road gets me to my old steel friend and I start pedaling the Voodoo.  Two laps in, I assess that with abundant amounts of pain killers and Tiger Balm, a push is still possible and a race strategy is enacted.  With night settling in, things were looking good around the midnight hour as I hovered in 11th spot.

Then disaster struck with a string of mechanical mishaps.   On lap 8 I double flatted.  Somehow karma was on my side for that with many a helping riders stopping to assist.  In fact, with the added trail side support, we were able to preserve the tubeless set ups with CO2 and extra Stans.  A race miracle if you will.  But the lap was not finished, and during the last climb back up to 24 town my drive train decided it had enough.  I humped the bike up to the high point, then coasted back into town.  Back at camp, the bike was worked on by a team of people, and with a new quick link and some love the bike was back in order, but not without a major sacrifice of time.  The next lap proved just as much of a pain in the ass when the front hub had some pre load issues.  Not wanting to kill the hub, I eased through the lap back to camp. Without a mechanic there to assist, it was left to me to get the hub fixed.  It was now lap 9 and a little after 4am.  The sun soon came up, and with the extra light I was able to get the hub fixed and back on the steed.  I threw down another lap, still wanting top 10, but realized after doing some arithmetic in the saddle that it was just not possible.  Too much time had been lost in the previous two laps.  With that realization I decided that there was no point in furthering the ankle injury and backed off the pace.  I finished with 11 laps, 178 miles, and in 23/98.  Not too shabby considering.

Overall, a huge success.  Many thanks to everyone that helped, to the FT3 crew for the company and long distance cheering, and to Epic Rides for hosting the 'burning man' of 24 hour races.


  1. Nice scoop getting your Race Report posted before the guys at Drunk Cyclist. I don't even want to think about riding 178 miles in 24 hours.

  2. Newb - Great report, way to HTFU. It looks like those mishaps and minor mechanicals compound and have a way of becoming big deals in a 24 hour race. Hats Off on the great race.

  3. Dang dude nice work, and not a mention about racing those 178 miles on a rigid steed. Proper young man, proper. 98 solo racers? Wow.

  4. Tacostrong! Does this race over qualify you for the Leadville 100?