I always wanted to try a 24 hour race and had it on my bucket list. I lost my job in the fall and decided it was time to get some of these races off the list. I was able to scratch off the breckenridge 100 and figured i would take the momentum from that race and attempt a 24 hour race solo. As we all know racing is expensive and trying to come up with lights for a solo race is going to break the bank. I am running a helmet mount amoeba with a 3 1/2 hour battery and I knew i was going to need much more than that.
I have ridden with Jay Butham (amoeba owner/operator) before and i figured i would email him and get his two cents with what i will need for the race. I love supporting companies with the title (owner/operator) by the way.
I explained my situation and he was nice enough to loan me everything i needed for the race.
I went with my helmet mount 2x Cree XP-G R5 LED's (spot beam pattern) - ~600 lumens total output and he gave me 3 extra 3 1/2 hour batteries. I also decided to go with another 2x Cree on the bars with a SWEET 7 hour battery. I carried an extra 3 1/2 hour battery in my pocket and turned off the helmet mount when ever it was not needed to maximize battery life.
The race started at noon and it was really hot! Gunnison is home of Dave Wiens and offers some super flowly sage brush terrain riding with no shade to speak of. The race loop is just over 14 miles
By lap 3 one of the guys in our class dropped out due to exhaustion/dehydration. By lap 4 i started to settle in and i felt really strong. I find out that I am going back and forth between first and second place. I finally run into the guy I am racing against and we rode together for quite a bit. This guy was a rockstar!!! His bike fell off his car on the way to the race on I-70. There was no shoulder to stop on the side of the road so when they got off on the next off ramp and headed back they saw some moron picking up his bike and he took off. He made a few phone calls and was on a borrowed bike for the race. We chatted it up while we were riding and it never felt like we were racing each other, which i thought was pretty rad.
Lap 7 i threw on the handlebar mount light and was amazed that a 7 hour battery was only the size of a few AA batteries. I had never ridden with two lights because i was always happy with one amoeba but holy crap does it rock having two lights!!!
I came in from Lap 7 and that evil camp chair was staring me down but i refused to take a break. My friend stopped by to inform me that I was still back and forth for first and second place. I was freaking out because racing in the single speed class is demoralizing!!! I turn 40 this year and it's my second year of racing so I NEVER have a chance of getting on the podium. The competition is always stacked and has anyone ever ridden with a slow singlespeeder? I know i have not!!
Lap 8 i started to feel the effects of being on the bike so long without taking any breaks so i sat down for 5 minutes but decided to hop on the bike again before i became too comfortable. I was still riding all the uphill sections fairly strong but trying to conserve as much energy as possible. I ran into my competition again and we rode together again and we were both curious how we were feeling. He was still in good spirits and I knew it was going to be tough to give him a run for his money.
Lap 9 I began to question this ridiculous bucket list. I was 13 hours into the race and just past the halfway point. Normally half way point is encouraging but all i could think of was another 12 hours of pedaling my bike. I checked the leader board after lap 9 and I was at least 4 laps ahead of third. Still stoked but starting to question why i was doing this. The thought of first place kept me on the bike
On lap 10 i was walking up some switchbacks and i saw a singlespeeder grinding up and i yelled voodoo zaka and he started laughing. I was in first place and this was my competition. This is were you are suppose to get back on the bike and try to pull away. I stopped waited for him to catch up and we chatted and rode for a bit. He hammered up the rest of the section that i walked and i realized he had more in the tank than i did. I still felt like i had enough to grind out the last 8 hours of so.
When i came in from lap 10 i realized i no longer had any feeling in my hands or feet and a case of saddle sore that was about to get really bad if i rode the last 8 hours. I had no idea why my hands and feet were numb but i figured it was not a good sign. I checked the leader board again and i was well ahead of third place so i decided to crawl into the back of my truck and take a nap. I could not sleep but resting felt really good!!! I got out of the truck around 8 am to check the leaderboard again. I was in second place by a bunch still and as i was walking back to my truck i see my competition come through lap 12. He looks at me and asked if i was finished? I said yes and huge grin appeared and he said "I am quitting too" He said he saw my bike and figured i was talking a power nap but planned on getting on the bike so he kept riding. I said nope and we walked over to grab a beer. Man did that beer taste good!!!
Luckily i was able to hang onto second place. Third place also finished with 10 laps and he was done at 12:55. Sine i finished my lap at 3:55 am i was ahead of him.
Thanks again to Jay and Amoeba for making this all happen. There is no way i would have been able to pull it off without him
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