This weekend was the 24 Hours of Adrenaline at Georgia Int’l Horse Park and we were Team Menstrual Cycles - 5 girls goin’ with the flow...3 veterans a roadie & a newbie
[SIZE=1]Kerry, Dayna, Brom (our roadie), Abby (our newbie), & me[/SIZE]
Dayna, Kerry, & I have each done 3 or more 24 HOAs - Kerry’s even done several solo. Bromley & Abigail were both first timers and relatively new to mtb'ing.
9:30 am - Chaos
There is stuff strrewn everywhere I look. Camping gear, bike gear, boxes of godonlyknowswhat, tarps, people, bikes. It looks like a tornado hit our campsite. I hate chaos. It makes me insane. I look around at the other campsites and they all seem to be neat, orderly, and organized. I look back at our site. I can’t even see the grass for all the stuff lying around. I think I’m going to lose my mind.
We’ve conned Bromley into doing the run, prologue, & 1st lap for the team....mostly because she missed the meeting where we talked about the run and as a result was elected in absentia.
[SIZE=1]5 minutes to go[/SIZE]
[SIZE=1]2 seconds to go[/SIZE]
I've volunteered (for the 3rd year running) to be second in our 5 person rotation. After the start I head back to our disaster area...I mean, campsite to change and start my warm up (yes, I brought the trainer along). I’m not sure how long Bromley's lap will take. This is her first 24 hr race and although she is a Cat 3 roadie she is fairly new to mtb'ing.
Changed and warmed up I head over to the transition area to wait for Bromley. Impressive! Including the run and prologue lap Brom turns in a 56 minute 1st lap! Not only that, but Brom won the run for females!! Girl, you're the best!!
1:15 pm - Flailing spaz
[SIZE=1]bike, ready & waiting[/SIZE]
I grab the baton from Bromley, run over to my bike and start hammering.
[SIZE=1]i look way too happy here[/SIZE]
I think I've forgotten how to ride a bike. I know this course and ride it regularly...but, you’d never know it from the way I'm riding it now!
The course is 2 loops making up about 8 miles with 1100' of climbing. Loop 1 is mostly fast singletrack with 3 short but steep energy sapping climbs and one more gradual climb. The 2nd loop is divided between rough, GA granite "slick" rock and more singletrack. This loop has some of everything: short, steep energy sapping granite climbs, a granite "wall" (See Duckman's post for a good pic of the wall), off camber granite descents, long slow singletrack climbs, a double creek crossing known as "broken collarbone creek", and a steep technical dirt climb to kill you near the end. The two loops are connected by a big-ring promenade around the back side of the camping area and a police guarded road crossing.
I flail through my first lap and finish in a respectable but not overwhelmingly impressive 47 minutes flat. The eventual winner of the fastest female lap will have a time of just over 45 minutes. The fastest men's lap will be something ridiculous like 36 minutes.
[SIZE=1]dude dressed like a lady...[/SIZE]
I head back to our campsite to cool down and chill out for a few hours till my next lap. Ummmm...where is our 2nd easy-up tent and 6' folding table?! That tent is going to be key when the sun starts to go down and the temps begin to drop and we want to fire up our heater. “It’s on the way”.
The sun is shining brightly and I feel the beginning of a dehydration headache coming on. I didn't drink nearly enough on my first lap and post-lap bottles of Endrox won't make up everything I lost. I try to drink more and head over to my tent to lie down.
4:30 pm - And that tent & table are where?
No sign of our tent and table. I'm getting more than a little stressed about it. (it's tough to be a Type A. ) Every time I ask I get the same response: “It’s on the way”. From where?! Michigan?! It's only 30 miles from Atlanta to Conyers. It shouldn't take 5 hours to get from one to the other!! I take a deep breath and try to relax. This is fun, right?
[SIZE=1]dayan proves she is taller than Abigail[/SIZE]
5:15 pm - Finding a groove
For my 2nd lap I decide to act as if I really do know how to ride a bike. I concentrate on relaxing and spinning more smoothly. What a surprise, with about 1/3 the amount of energy wasted I finish my second lap in exactly the same time as my first!
We are 6 hours in and Team Menstrual Cycles is sitting in 3rd place.
[SIZE=1]ok ladies! line up by height![/SIZE]
9:30 pm - In the dark
[SIZE=1]sunset in the trees[/SIZE]
My first night lap. It’s nowhere near as cold as I expected. The forecast low for the night is in the mid-40's but as I warmed up on my trainer I found that I was roasting in my arm and knee warmers so I'm riding in just shorts & a short sleeve jersey. I'm feeling the effects of dehydration and hammering on my first 2 laps. I know my time on this lap will be significantly slower than my earlier laps. The course is in great shape and the rain from the previous week have helped keep the dust down. Nevertheless the dust floating in the air looks like snow in my helmet light.
I roll back into the transition with a lap time of 53 min at about 10:30 pm, hand off the baton to Abigail and head back to the campsite. Lo & behold while I was gone the tent & table fairy paid us a visit and we have a nice cozy set up going with 2 pop-up tents, 2 propane heaters, lots of camping chairs, a whole crowd of friends, a 6’ table with a camping stove and a cup of hot soup ready for me! Bliss! I eat, I drink, I go lie down and doze for maybe an hour.
[SIZE=1]Kerry enjoying a midnight snack of sugar & fats![/SIZE]
I'm up and on my trainer...again. This sucks. Why am I doing this? I hate 24 hour races. This isn't fun. I should be home, in my bed, sleeping like a normal person. Not hanging out in the middle of the night in temps in the low 50's and the humidity at 110%. I am an idiot.
2:21 am - Missed transition
I'm meandering back from a "nature" break and here comes Bromley. “Reb! Where are you?!” Ack!! She finished her lap much faster than I expected!! Cr@p! I'm not ready. I don't have time to strip off my leg warmers eventhough I know I'll be too warm. I throw on my gear & Jen hooks up my light. I grab my bike and run to the timing tent to check in and then hop on my bike.
Usually I really like the 3 am lap, but tonight it sucks. I am beginning to dread the granite portion of the course. I'm riding a hardtail and the pounding is making my lower back seize. Why am I doing this?
4 laps down, hopefully only one more to go. I crawl back to our campsite & change. I know I need to eat something but I can't get anything down. I manage to drink another bottle of endurox and crawl into my sleeping bag shivering. It's not that cold out but it's sooo damp. I really hope the sun is up for my next lap. I try to sleep but I only doze.
Despite how I feel our night laps have pushed Team Menstrual Cycles into 2nd place.
Kerry comes in from her lap with a crushed brake lever and bent rim. What happened?! Apparently some big guy fell on top of her and her bike (mostly her bike) and then just lay there. Kerry finally had to tell him to get off her bike. She makes a bee-line for neutral support at the Mavic tent.
I'm up and it's still dark. Why can't we do this race in July when the sun comes up at 5am and goes down at 9pm? Who cares if the course is usually 120* at that time of year? Riding my trainer in the cold, damp, dark, really isn't my idea of a good time. I'm tired and the thought of climbing one more hill is enough to make me consider suicide. I still can't eat anything even though I'm hungry and I know I need the calories. I try to drink some coffee but that's not going down well either. I sit miserably in front of the heater. I try to console myself with the thought that as the sun comes up I will begin to feel better but I don't find myself very convincing.
Abigail gets up and tells us that she twisted her knee on her previous lap and will not be able to ride again. Her knee is swollen, throbbing, and painful. We prop her up in a chair near the heater and put a bag of ice on her knee. I try not to think about the fact that this means I might have to do yet another lap after this one.
6:25 am - Sunrise and misery
I take the baton from Bromley, and listlessly get on my bike. The sky is beginning to lighten but I still need my light in the woods. By the time I am 1/3 of the way through my lap it is light enough to turn off the light. I wish I could take the light off my helmet. It weighs a ton. I consider ditching my helmet but know I will be disqualified for riding without it. Not to mention, given how tired I am I would probably fall down and crack my head open. The helmet & light stay on my head.
I struggle through the rest of my lap, despite the encouragement & "push" from Jeremiah (as he passed me like I was standing still), convinced that this it the worst kind of torture ever conceived of by mankind. Then I take a gel from the aid station at the top of the last climb and discover an even worse kind of torture. That gel must have been labeled “Gag” flavor. I have to slap my hand over my mouth to keep from expelling the gu all over the trail. Only knowing that the sugar will get me back to my tent allows me to swallow the vile stuff.
The sun is shining brightly as I roll through the transition and hand off the baton to Dayna (who has taken Abigail's place since we are now a team of 4) and my bike to Jen. I look at Jen and say “I'm done. I can't go out again. I feel worse than death. I just can't do it.” Jen escorts me back to the campsite.
We get back to the campsite and do the math. Team Menstrual Cycles is sitting in 3rd place about 6 minutes off of 2nd. There are 4.5 hrs till noon. Based on the number of people we have left and the estimated lap times not only will I have to go out for a 6th lap, but we have to keep it strong to make up the time. I am devastated. All I want to do is crumple into a heap and stay there for the rest of my life. Our many wonderful pit guys (and gal) go to work. Jen gets me yet another cup of endurox. Someone else hands me a small, steaming bowl of oatmeal. I wander over to my car (aka changing room), rest my head on the window and cry. In 3 years of doing this race I have never felt this awful. I've heard other people talking about how brutal the race can be but for the most part I've never shared that experience. Now I understand.
I pull myself together, change out of my dirty shorts & jersey and into clean shorts & a jersey. I nibble at the oatmeal and drink my endurox. I try to drink more coffee. But mostly I just sit in the sun and try to stay warm. The temps are rising quickly now that the sun is up.
Dayna comes in & Kerry goes out. This will be Kerry's last lap. Earlier in the week she sprained her ankle and has done her laps without a word of complaint. However, her ankle is really bothering her and she’s not up for a 6th lap of torture.
Kerry comes in and Bromley goes out. At the point in which the racers ride around the back side of the camping area Bromley is on the tail of the girl whose team is in 2nd place!! Go Brom Go!!
10:47 am - Are we almost done yet?
Another 20 minutes pass and I head up to the transition. Word from the course is that Bromley has passed the girl from the 2nd place team and is putting time on her. Bromley comes in, I grab the baton and head out. We are about 1:45 behind 2nd place and if I can make up that time then 2nd place is ours. I am sure I will turn in the slowest lap on record. I get on my bike and pedal off.
I feel awful, but no worse than before. As I hit the granite side I come up on Eddie O, on his 23rd lap and staring 2nd place for Men's Solo. You are a rockstar!! I'd ride with him but I have a 2 minute deficit to make up. I pedal onward.
In the end I managed to pull out my 3rd fastest lap on that final lap. I have no idea where it came from but I managed it. I hand the baton off to Dayna for the last lap. Dayna adds to our lead and we finish with 2nd place, 27 laps and 3 minutes over 3rd place!!!
[SIZE=1]finally done, Dayna smiles[/SIZE]
[SIZE=1]on the podium[/SIZE]
[SIZE=1]Bromley won the run![/SIZE]
[SIZE=1]all the women[/SIZE]
Congrats to the winners, Champion Cowgirls. You guys rock! Five women, 3 of whom are over 40. I want to be just like you guys when I grow up (in 3 years!). Congrats also to Team Prestige Subaru. You guys put up an awesome fight! All 3 of the womens teams on the podium turned in 27 laps. Ouch!!
Congrast also to Eddie O (left side of pic) for an outstanding performance and 2nd in Mens' Solo
[SIZE=1]apparently for first place you must be very...uh...decorated [/SIZE]
to Chamblee for 2nd in Women's Solo,
[SIZE=1]after it was all over both Chamblee and the girl who won had to be helped from the stage. ow ow ow![/SIZE]
and to 2 Yanks, a Czech, a Bike Tech, and a Redneck for 1st in Men’s 5-person.
[SIZE=1]2 yanks, a Czech, a bike tech & a redneck looking fine in yellow[/SIZE]
Thanks to my amazing teammates for an incredible race! We are awesome!!!
Many more thanks to our pit crew: Jen (wonder woman who not only pitted for us but also for her boyfriend Jauvan who finished 7th in his first ever solo effort), Jerry, Brint, Jeff & Carol, Kaj, Trina (for the heaters & technical heater help, and cheering out on the course), Nate (when he wasn’t too drunk), Jamie (for tweaking my shifting), anyone else I might have forgotten, and all the people who stopped by to say hi.
And finally, many, many thanks to our sponsors:
Abe Hayes at Hooked on the Outdoors Magazine Thanks for supporting my team for a 3rd year running!
BURN Energy Drink
Well, this concludes both my racing season and my race report season. Have a great winter everyone!!
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