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  1. #1
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    Whiskeytown 9-5: a beginner's perspective

    Saturday, October 8, 2005
    Peer pressure got me to sign up for this event solo.
    Stubbornness got me through it.

    ** Warning - long post **

    The initial plan was a group of four of us were going to drive/caravan up together. A few days before the event it became evident that I was going to be the only one of the four to make it. After initial panic, I settled into the idea that maybe this was appropriate - me, all by myself, solo - for my first 8 hour solo MTB attempt.

    Arrived at NEED camp at 07:30. All the "solo" parking spots were taken but fortunately I was allowed to park at the perimeter of the parking lot under some trees. Yay, shade! No need for the canopy that I borrowed (thanks anyway Nick). Parked right in front of me was Paul and Mark from Chico, CA. Very cool guys. They were in the same boat as me. First time attempting an 8hr solo MTB race. Wondering how we would react. Wondering if we were going to survive.

    Perfect weather for riding. Sunny. Probably started in the high 60's and peaked around 80. Got to love this autumn riding weather! The course was about 8.5mi with ~1300ft of climbing.

    The start was interesting. They did a rolling start, meaning a dude riding a bike and wearing a referee shirt acted as the "pace car". He led us around for about 0.25mi allowing the field to position itself then once we got to the start line he peeled off and the race was on.

    The biggest climb of the course was right at the beginning which varied from triple track to single track and was shaded in by trees (which was nice). The following downhill was along a hillside with small but steep and tricky water runoff channels to navigate. The course was nicely varied. The climbs included covered wide track and single track, exposed fireroads, exposed single track, etc.. There was nice sweeping single track through the trees. Lots of roots, rocks and stuff to look out for. The downhill sections included some steep parts with roots and rocks to keep you on your toes. Hmmm, I could be describing any number of race routes here! Let's just say again, it was nicely varied. Much of the climbing on the back half was on exposed fireroads which usually rewarded you with sweet single track descents. Ah yes, there was a distinguishing feature of this course: at about the half way point, after a couple of the climbs, we had to cross a road. Right there, in the middle of the wilderness, was a cemetery. A cemetery? Yup, I used it as a reminder to look both ways before crossing!

    My Race:
    Though neither a contender nor a big competitor, I have done some endurance events in the past which have taught me that staying aerobic and having a good nutrition/hydration plan is key. Of course, I have also learned over the last several months that staying aerobic on many MTB courses is very difficult! So I planned on taking 10-15 minute breaks between laps during which time I would make adjustments to the bike, refill water bottles, stretch, etc.. The other major part of my plan was to try and keep my level of awareness up for the duration of the race and be a bit on the cautious side. Since most of my previous crashes have been due to fatigue and the lack of judgment that accompanies it, I was worried that the exhaustion brought on by this eight hour event could be disastrous if I wasn't very careful.

    The first three laps went pretty well. The fourth lap got painful. I started getting some pretty serious cramping in my legs. And to top it off, my rear deraileur was sticking! In order to get it to shift, I had to really shake the bike which in turn made my legs hurt more. Arg.. So after finally finishing lap 4, I took a nice long 35 minute break. That gave me a chance to fix the bike and fuel up a bit.

    Unfortunately my legs started screaming again at the beginning of lap 5 (remember, the loop starts with the main hill climb). So much for my nutrition plan and its ability to prevent cramps! Hmmm, maybe it is not the nutrition plan that is faulty but my training plan. I guess a longest ride of 25mi is not sufficient training for this type of event. Duh!! I did find that if I shifted to granny gear and avoided standing climbs I could continue, albeit slower. Fine! Let's keep going.. Mark (from Chico) and I started together on this lap. I can't remember what lap he was on but he ended up smoking me by a minute or two. During the last 1/2 mile of the course, there are a couple of semi-technical rocky sections. I clear them both, which makes me happy. Then a woman yells down to me from up on the hill "Hey, you are the first in 12 riders I have seen clear both those obstacles, good job!" I thanked her and smiled all the way back to the pit.

    I get in from lap 5 at about 15:45. My mind starts taunting me - "6 laps, 6 LAPS". My body replies - "What? Are you crazy? I'm about to collapse". The mind wins. I throw down a Cliff Shot with caffeine and some fluids, check the bike over and I'm off with only a 10min break. The pros/experts are flying by me trying to get in a final lap. I am wondering if they are slipping on the slime trial I must be leaving behind because I am moving at a snails pace! I clear the first hill. At this point everything hurts. My stomach, which had been doing great up until now, decides that it is time to rebel (guess that cliff shot wasn't a good idea). I keep going. I pass one of the fast guys . . . who was on the side of the trial fixing a flat. He passes me again. I then pass him again, yup, he had another flat. This rocky course seemed to be murder on those running lower tire pressures and riding really fast. I keep telling myself to stay alert. I take the more technical downhill sections a bit slower and more careful than usual knowing that my reaction time has certainly been compromised. Success, I make it. The final 1/4 mile is on asphalt. I throw it into the big chain ring and dig deep to achieve 20mph.

    I get to the finish line and call out "Number 32". The guys at the table just look at me funny. Then I see the clock which reads "8:09:xx". Oh yeah, only laps completed before the eight hour mark count. So officially, I did 5 laps. But in real life, I did 6 laps (50 miles) and almost 8000ft of climbing in about 8:10. An accomplishment I am proud of. But it came with a price, my back and legs were killing me! I spent the next half hour rehydrating and stretching.

    They had an awards ceremony where they gave out headset covers for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place in each category. I think I heard that some of the solo pros put down 9 laps. Wow! Then more of the unexpected, ends up that I took first place in the beginner mens solo category! And that was with my "official" 5 laps + all break times. I'm smiling again. Then the mind starts churning, "Had we only shaved off 10 minutes during the entire day we could have had 6 laps officially!". Guess it is time to set goals for another day..

    Chum, Rensho & Plim - I'm sorry you guys had to miss out on this fun and educational experience. I'm sure there will be a next time. I look forward to the said "next time" even though I'm aware of my chances of placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd (or 4th or...) will be greatly diminished with you guys around!

    Paul & Mark - It was great meeting you and hanging out in the pits. Good job in surviving the 8hr! Sorry I missed you guys at the hamburger joint in Redding. Unfortunately, after packing up very slowly, I was so out of it that I did not realize that I had gone the wrong way on hwy299. After 15 or 20 minutes I finally clued in that I was heading to Eureka. By the time I got back to Redding I was sure you guys would be long gone so I went back to my hotel and passed out. I hope to run into you guys again someday. I still think it is a trip that Mark and I went to the same High School!


    Summary:
    - I survived!
    - 5 laps official (6 laps, 50mi, ~8000ft in 8:10 unofficially (10 min late))
    - No major mechanicals (only 1 lap of deraileur probs)
    - No flats (being less aggressive and running a bit higher pressure helped)
    - 8 hr solo MTB events are hard
    - An overall good day..
    - Thanks Team BigFoot!

    ================================================

  2. #2
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Super!!!

    Great job Joe!!

    I'm completely pissed off that I couldn't make it (hell, I still have that sinus infection)

    Wish I coulda been there - but at least I got a t-shirt
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
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  3. #3
    dude with orange car
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    That's freakin' awesome! I am sooo insanely jealous. I mean, funerals are super fun and all, but I still would've liked to do that race. And to come out with the victory? Man. Your post really made me look forward to doing one of those 6- to 8-hour solos.

    Hope to ride with you soon, Joe.

    -Mike

  4. #4
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    Awesome

    and congrats on your win, one year I'll try a ssolo event, I just need to get over my laziness.


    CrZy aNdY
    1man 1gear 1speed

  5. #5
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    At least you have a shirt!

    Hey Plim -

    Thanks! I took the liberty of picking up T-shirts for you and Chum. Chum currently has yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Plim
    Your post really made me look forward to doing one of those 6- to 8-hour solos.
    Right on! Chum and I are considering riding the BillyX 6hr Boggs Mountain event on Oct.23. Maybe we can finally get that group together that I was hoping for last weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by Plim
    I mean, funerals are super fun and all..
    Sorry about your uncle. My sympathies go out to you and your family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Plim
    Hope to ride with you soon, Joe.
    Right back at you!

    ==========================

  6. #6
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    It's the bolts..

    Quote Originally Posted by cRasHmAstER
    and congrats on your win, one year I'll try a ssolo event, I just need to get over my laziness.

    CrZy aNdY
    Thanks Andy.
    There were quite a few SS riders out there. You would have fit right in. Please just remember to get some stronger cleat bolts first!

    =================

  7. #7
    dude with orange car
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhuGmiT
    Chum and I are considering riding the BillyX 6hr Boggs Mountain event on Oct.23. Maybe we can finally get that group together that I was hoping for last weekend
    Woosers! I'm really interested in doing that race. I'm seeing if my schedule will allow it, but my hopes are high. It would be cool to hang out with you guys, commiserate afterwards, and possibly carpool.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhuGmiT
    Sorry about your uncle. My sympathies go out to you and your family.
    Much appreciated. It's kind of weird, but while I was bummed when I found out my uncle died and will be bummed again in the future when activities we used to do together roll around and he's not there, the funeral was actually really fun. I got to see lots of relatives I hadn't talked to in years.

    -Mike

  8. #8
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    wowzers, 6 laps and a 1st place. What more could you want? That is way awesome. That is a long time to be on a bike.
    My appologies for bailing. My plans changed yet again, and i ended up doing my own 8hr enduro. 8 hours of roofing work, putting down asphalt shingles on Sat. I'm more sore now than doing the 8hr demo prep ride.

    Congrats again.

    Oct 23 heh? hmmm...

  9. #9
    Feeling a little taller
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    Rock on Joe!
    There are no stupid questions but there are A LOT of inquisitive idiots.


    Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay

  10. #10
    dude with orange car
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    Looks like Oct. 23 will work fine for me for 6 hours of Boggs. I am in. Hopefully one of you guys will come too, so I'm not up there all alone.

    WhuGmiT? Rensho? CHUM? Bueller?

  11. #11
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    Good job

    Congrats on the first place and 6 laps. This to was my first solo endurance race (expert because of peer presure). I was the white tacoma that was parked right across from you. I would have introduced myself only I got there with just enought time to get ready to race, then of course by the time I stopped for a break I was too tired to be introducing myself to anyone.

    It was a great race though, and it was way cool to see that the majority of racers were from out of town. Was it just me or did that peice of road next to the cemetary slowly become an uphill slope as the day went on?

    At the end of this month, Team Bigfoot is putting on the LaGrange XC race in Weaverville, I would strongly recomend this one if you haven't done it. By far my favorite XC ever. Great for SS too!

    Congrats again on the win!

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone, +new stuff:

    Thanks for the congrats Chum, Plim, CrashMaster, Rensho, Dan'ger & Loki !
    You guys are awesome. The only one that doesn't seem happy with the accomplishment is my body. Ouch!

    Plim -
    So you are up for the BillyX on Oct.23 eh? I think at this point you can pretty much count me in. The other event I was looking at was the BigFoot Lagrange Fall Classic. Loki mentioned that it was his favorite. Hmmmmm. I am also thinking about going on the Henry Coe cattle drive with BigLarry this Saturday. It will be a good chance to see how my body is recovering from the 8hr then make a final decision about the 23rd.

    Rensho -
    It sounds like we both got good workouts last weekend. Am I correct in assuming that mountain biking is more fun that roofing? Heehee. I sense a spark of interest in the Oct.23 6hr. Come on - do it, do it, do it... how's that for peer pressure?!

    Chum -
    Get yourself healthy buddy. We need to go riding! Boggs, Coe, etc....

    Loki -
    Congrats right back at you for surviving your solo 8hr MTB event! Expert? Wow (peer pressure is dangerous!). You must have been one of the guys flying by me during that last hour. Glad you enjoyed the race. How did you do? Were you happy with your perfomance? Funny that our "pits" were so close yet we didn't get a chance to introduce ourselves. Exhaustion does funny things eh? Thanks for the LaGrange Fall Classic recommendation. Right now I'm leaning towards the Boggs Mtn event but we'll see. Still 2 weeks to decide! Question for you - do you remember what flavor of Cytomax they were serving at the Whiskeytown 8hr? I don't know about everyone else but I thought it tasted horrible! It tasted like dishwater and it made me want to hurl. Glad I brought my own stuff. It is weird because I enjoy some of the other cytomax flavors.
    And yes, the Cemetery Street grade did seem increase over the course of the day! I guess the good spirits were playing games with us..

    =========================

  13. #13
    dude with orange car
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhuGmiT
    Plim -
    So you are up for the BillyX on Oct.23 eh? I think at this point you can pretty much count me in. The other event I was looking at was the BigFoot Lagrange Fall Classic. Loki mentioned that it was his favorite. Hmmmmm. I am also thinking about going on the Henry Coe cattle drive with BigLarry this Saturday. It will be a good chance to see how my body is recovering from the 8hr then make a final decision about the 23rd.

    =========================
    I totally understand if you decide to ride in the BigFoot race. That 8 hour race made you cry like a baby and you're just not tough enough to ride in a 6-hour race so soon.

    I should at least see you this Saturday, although I'll likely be the one crying like a baby there, limping back down the fireroad to the car, too weak to even do downhill singletrack.

    Please do let me know if you decide to race BillyX. I'm saving the date, but probably won't go if I have to go alone. The allure of staying in my bed late on Sunday, followed by a mighty pancake breakfast will be too strong - I won't be able to get in my car and drive up to Boggs Saturday (I assume we'd have to drive up Saturday, what time does the race start?) to sleep in my tent on the hard ground if I don't have the incentive of someone else counting on me to drive up with them.

  14. #14
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    7 laps in 7 hours

    Didn't have the time or desire to go out for another one. Might have had the time for an eigth but after lap 5 I had to replace my break pads and it took a good 25 minutes because the things wouldnt come out. As for the cytomax, I am not sure of the flavor becuase I didn't use it, I had my own stuff also. But I did start using those electrolyte pills after the 4th lap, and its amazing how they completely took care of any cramping problems I had been having.

    As for which race to do, I say, hey both of you and Plim should come up to the La Grange, trust me, the single track alone is worth it.

  15. #15
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    Wha wha WHAAAA!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Plim
    I totally understand if you decide to ride in the BigFoot race. That 8 hour race made you cry like a baby and you're just not tough enough to ride in a 6-hour race so soon.
    Geeeeze! Dem ders fightin words! Heehee.

    I'm pretty sure Bogg's is it. Though Loki has me 2nd guessing myself because if we sign up under the sport category in Weaverville, that LaGrange Ditch single track is supposedly fun stuff.

    I'm definitely planning on doing the Coe ride Saturday. You mentioned that when you get stressed your back sometimes goes out on you. Hopefully that won't happen to you this week. My back and neck are spasming a bit in retaliation over last weekend's 8hr. I'm pretty confident they will mellow out by Saturday.

    As far as Bogg's, race starts at 10:00. It is about 10mi SSW of Clear Lake (near Cobb, CA). It would probably take around 3 hours to get there. So, I would plan on hitting the road by 06:00 or slightly earlier. Be up there before 09:00 which would give us time to register, setup the pit, freak out a bit, saddle up, and hit the trails! After the shindig, find a place to eat to kill some time because traffic southbound will probably suck between 5 and 7. We could be home licking our wounds before 10pm. How does that sound?
    Chum seems to finally be pulling out of his anti-health phase. I think we'll be able to talk him into joining us too! How does that sound?

    -over-
    =============================

  16. #16
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    Wow Loki

    7 laps in 7 hours? Wow. Nice job!
    You didn't mention whether or not YOU were happy with your performance. Regardless, I'm certainly impressed!

    I may have to look into those electrolyte capsules. That was one of those experiments I just did not want to try on race day.

    The 21 mile XC course at LaGrange sounds cool... Hmmm.
    I think Plim and I will probably do Boggs this time around.
    But next year......

    ====================

  17. #17
    dude with orange car
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhuGmiT
    I'm definitely planning on doing the Coe ride Saturday. You mentioned that when you get stressed your back sometimes goes out on you. Hopefully that won't happen to you this week.
    Unfortunately, I mentioned that because my back had already gone out on me. It's slowly getting better (trying to get work done on the computer while lying on the floor was difficult for a while - thank goodness for vicodin). I'll start on the A ride Saturday, but may have to take a shortcut home. A shortcut without any bumps.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhuGmiT
    As far as Bogg's, race starts at 10:00. It is about 10mi SSW of Clear Lake (near Cobb, CA). It would probably take around 3 hours to get there. So, I would plan on hitting the road by 06:00 or slightly earlier. Be up there before 09:00 which would give us time to register, setup the pit, freak out a bit, saddle up, and hit the trails! After the shindig, find a place to eat to kill some time because traffic southbound will probably suck between 5 and 7. We could be home licking our wounds before 10pm. How does that sound?
    Chum seems to finally be pulling out of his anti-health phase. I think we'll be able to talk him into joining us too! How does that sound?
    That sounds great! Yeeha!

    The LaGrange sounds good too, but I'm busy Saturday and can't make it. Maybe next year. Then again, maybe not. I still haven't made up my mind if I like this racing thing.

    Oh, and I recently tried the electrolyte tablets for the first time. They seem to make me feel a lot better.

  18. #18
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    Hey Mr. Tinassachey...

    Joe!

    You really blew me away on saterday. Here this guy comes up to an 8 hr race by himself, with his first mtb (replete with rear reflector) and puts in 6 laps... All the while joking and lauffing at himself. You got through that race on shear will and tinacity. I had a good time and I did ride a bit faster than you but you impressed the H##L out of me.

    About the burger place... Well it seems that the place must have changed hands and it is no longer the greasy spoon we where longing for... We ended up at a Carl's Jr. I feel much better knowing that we didn't stand you up.

    Already thinking about next time...

    Mark

  19. #19
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    Mr. Tinassachey???

    Yo Mark! I'm glad you made it home safe after that very long day on the bike.

    > I feel much better knowing that we didn't stand you up.
    >
    Haahaa, and I was feeling like a shmuck for standing you guys up. Though at the time I was more just feeling like a big idiot for heading the wrong way on 299

    Again, it was good meeting you and Paul. Whiskeytown was a good time.
    I look forward to running into you guys on the trails again someday.
    A group of us are planning on participating in the BillyX Bogg's Mtn. 6hr on Oct.23. Maybe we'll see you there!

    =========================

  20. #20
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    Lame title

    Mr. Tin-ass achey... A lame attempt at humour/word play. That's tenacity with a dash of anatomy and pain thrown in.

    -Mark

  21. #21
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    Hope Y'all should do Lagrange...

    Here's the course map. Those who did the 12 Hours of Weaverville know how much fun the lower singletrack is, but the bestest of the best is on the upper section above East Weaver Road. Here's the course map and a pic to help convince you.

    Bigfoot
    Attached Images Attached Images

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backinthegame
    Mr. Tin-ass achey... A lame attempt at humour/word play. That's tenacity with a dash of anatomy and pain thrown in.

    -Mark

    Haahaaa! Not at all lame.
    I had just interpreted it differently. I thought that "Tin-ass" was some sort of mtb slang for what your butt feels like after riding for 8hrs. Achey certainly goes without saying :^)
    ==========

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfoot
    Here's the course map. Those who did the 12 Hours of Weaverville know how much fun the lower singletrack is, but the bestest of the best is on the upper section above East Weaver Road. Here's the course map and a pic to help convince you.

    Bigfoot

    That looks great.
    And I thought I had my mind made up. Thanks a lot BigFoot!
    It is just terrible that we have so many fun things to choose from around here...

    ================

  24. #24
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    Way to go Joe

    It was great to meet you at the race - man you did a great job! Sorry we missed you afterwards - we did stop at the burger joint and hung around for a minute - it was packed and we figured it was getting late to get home - so hooked up with some fast food and headed south. If you're ever in the Chico / Redding area again let me know and maybe we can get in a ride. Take care and great job on the race - it was an epic adventure!
    Paul
    Last edited by paulelhman; 10-14-2005 at 10:01 PM.
    We are what we repeatedly do - crashing therefore is not an act but a habit ~ Barbender Majorouchski
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  25. #25
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    Awesome story. Planning on attending this 8hrs race this October 1st, 2011. I know I want to do it on my single speed but I am not sure if should sign up as sport or in Clydsdale category as I am 200lbs + rider. Well I guess I have plenty of time to make a decision. Thanks for sharing
    Work Less, Ride More

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