12 hour of Steamboat(again) or what do i wear for lap 4??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    brg
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    12 hours of Steamboat(again) or what do i wear for lap 4??

    I had been looking for a girlfriend to do the race in the 12 hour Duo Womens category, but no takers. So last Friday I decided to take the plunge and do the 12 hour Solo. I took off thinking how cool it would be to tough it out on my own. Of course, my BF offered to come up and support me, but I thought it is ONLY 12 hours how hard can that be? I mean he knows me well and is ALWAYS good to me - but being the stubborn sort I thought I'd give unsuppported a try - I mean all I gotta do is just keep on pedaling, right? My main fear was being stuck on the mountain in freezing rain, sleet, and/or snow. So off I went with lots of gear (mine and borrowed) 2 bikes and a cooler full of food.

    Everyone was telling me the key was being organized. So I separated all my gear into groups and put them in plastic bins and labeled them. I prepped my food...apple slices w/pb, grapes, hard boiled eggs, pb sandwiches, bagels, put them in separate containers and stuck them in the cooler. All I would have to do is open up the cooler and cram stuff into my mouth. Easy enough, eh?

    The Course:
    5+ mile climb up mostly dirt roads and double track. Average of 8.6%ish grade, in other words STEEP! My altimeter consistently measured 2435 of elevation gain. 5.5 miles of downhill twisty fun singletrack with switchbacks, some minor rocks/roots, off camber turns, on camber turns... in general FAST.

    Arrival:
    I get to Steamboat and the weather is good, I have been concerned due to the posts on www.mtbr.com talking about all the rain and snow they have been having. People say some parts of the course is muddy, but up top the course is fine. I find my pit mates, 2 guys doing a 24 hour duo team and 1 guy doing the Mens 12 hours solo and unpack my car. I plan on sleeping in my car and set up my tent with all my organized gear to use as a changing room.

    The Plan:
    Based on last years lap times...I am thinking if everything goes right I can definitely do 6 MAYBE 7 laps. If I consistently keep lap and pit times to under 2 hours... I could get out on 7th lap before midnight. Lighting would be an issue, but if I used only used 1 light at a time I should be good for 4.5 hours of night riding.

    Also, a friend, Bryan (also doing the Mens 12 hour solo) beat into my head I need to at LEAST consume 200 calories per hour and drink LOTS of water. He said after 3 hours all the energy stored in my muscles will be gone and everything else will have to come from the food I eat. He also stressed not hanging out in my pit too long. He said it is easy to get sucked in and spend too much time in the pit area. I'm thinking and mentally rolling my eyes "yeah - whatever - I know all this!" He also made it clear to from the very beginning of the race just jog the Le Mans start and ride at a comfortable pace. The goal was to keep the ride time degradation to a minimum.

    Lap 1: Ride time 1:42 LeMans and Post Lap Pit time: 8minutes
    Off we go and I jog and it seems like I get passed by everyone, but I am following the plan. It is a climb from the start... it is not too bad at first. The first ½ mile is about a middle chain ring climb at 5.9% grade after that it turns into an avg 8.6% climb. Granny gear time. I am taking it easy, grinding up the climb, munching on my Clif bar, drinking my Accerade and water. It is muddy and my tires get caked with mud, but I keep on pedaling. I am in a group of around 12 people, mostly soloists. Toward the end of the climb we hit steep singletrack and I pass a few people and then I FINALLY reach the top of the climb - it took me 1:07 to reach the top. Holy Moly Am I slow! From here on out it is fun, twisty singletrack through the Aspens. Wide swooping switchbacks, a tiny bit of rocks and roots here and there. Minor stuff technically, but fun! I was stoked that I rode pretty much everything (even the surprises) sight unseen. I was also surprised (especially since I am such a wimpy descender ) that not a soul passed me on the descent. Stop at the pit, top of my water, fill up with Gatorade.

    Lap 2: Ride time 1:48 - Post Lap Pit Time: 19 minutes
    I am feeling decent...I ride with that rap withTom guy for a large part of the climb and we chat. It made the climb pass faster. The sun has been out and the course is drying up nicely, still some mud, but not bad. Tom gets to the descent 15 seconds ahead of me and I tried to catch him with no avail. I whip(well for me) through the singletrack and descend into camp. But I did not eat as much as I had in Lap 1. Only ½ a Clif bar, a Gu, a bottle of Gatorade and ½ my water, but regardless I feel fine. I eat a banana, a pb&j, fill up with water and Accerade and decided to carry my lightweight windbreaker

    Lap 3: Ride time 1:58 Post Lap Pit time: 1:10
    Lap 3 HURT. I start off on the climb and I’m miserable. By this time I gag every time I stick a piece of Clif bar in my mouth, I switch to Honey Stinger stuff and it is gross so I keep trying to drink water. I am hurting about half way up the climb. I am not spinning at all, I am mashing in granny, granny gear. When I hit the steep singletrack near the top of the climb I am walking. As I am walking, my friend, Bryan rides up. We chat a few minutes. His goal was 8 laps and he is on lap 4 - he is suffering. He does not feel good and he said not only was over 1 mile was added to the course from last year, but the conditions make it much more difficult. He reminds me to keep eating and drinking and off he goes. I feel better to know he is suffering too and it IS a hard course. I make it to the singletrack and have a great ride down as I am getting to know the course better. It is a bit chilly descending and it looks like a storm is blowing in.

    my BIGGEST mistake of the race - I had gotten dumb and did not realize it. I thought I was still thinking coherently.

    I get to my pit and the weather looks bad. I get in my tent and could not decide what to wear on my 4th lap. Everything was organized so I KNEW where everything was I just could not decide.

    jeesh - how silly is that? what to wear, come ON!

    Tights or leg-warmers or knee warmers. Short sleeve w/arm warmers or long sleeve or a winter jersey. Rain jacket or windbreaker. Should I wear my neoprene booties. What about shoes? Should I wear my Sidis or wear my Shimanos that have more traction. I swear I could NOT make up my mind and changed clothes 3(!) times.

    I ended up wearing a winter jersey, rain jacket, shorts under windproof tights, my Shimano shoes and neoprene booties. The storm clouds are making it dark, so I don my lights.

    I am getting frantic as I realized I have been in the pit for a while. Holy Crap!!! I have been in the pit for over 1(!) hour. How did that happened?!?!?! I needed to use the bathroom and then I heard my competitors name called out as she started her 4th lap. So I figure I better take off.

    So I blow off the porta john break and off I go and as I start the climb I remember oh crap - I forgot to eat!

    Lap 4: Ride time 2:14 Post Lap Pit time: 24 minutes
    It is raining and windy as I start and I am totally suffering.(due to the climb and not the weather) The course gotten muddy again. I try to force myself to drink Accelerade if just to get the weight off my bike. 20 minutes into the ride, the sun comes out.

    Here I am dressed for a snow storm and all of a sudden it is spring again. I stop and strip off the rain jacket and keep on cranking. I end up walking all the singletrack. I figure as long as I am moving I am making progress, eh?

    When I hit the steep singletrack near the top... here comes Bryan again. What?!?! He is on his 6th lap and I am on my 4th. I ask how he is feeling and he says a lot better. He a couple of Red Bulls. He says he feels pretty decent. I am thinking good idea FOOD and DRINK.

    By the time I hit the downhill singletrack it is getting dark. I switch on my fancy HID helmet light and darn it! It is mounted too high and pointing to the sky. Well, not at the sky, if I look directly at my front wheel (how's that for good technique) while I am descending it is OK. But when the trail is fairly level, it is not pointing to the right spot. I turn on my backup handlebar mount. I descend not so quickly this time.

    I eat some soup and cannot decide what to do. I figure if I can ride up without a light I will have enough light to do the 5th lap. I am toast. I am thinking I will be walking a large portion of the climb. Maybe 1:45 of climbing and 1 hour of descending?? If I can have to use the backup light during the climb.... I might have 45 minutes left on the HID light for the descent.

    Lap 5: no data
    I am in survival mode by this time. I'm worried about not having light for the descent due to unexpectedly burning 1 hour on both lights in lap 4. The "using no light during the climb" is not an option as it is pitch black and the clouds are covering any potential moonlight. I realize at the rate I'm going and based on the calculations my feeble brain is making at this time I will be in the dark descending. My competitiors started 10 minutes and 5 minutes ahead, but if I'm walking in the dark there will be no way I can catch them. I decided not to risk riding the singletrack down in the dark and abort the lap.

    Aftermath:
    I sadly make it to the scoring booth and tell I am done. I will be 3rd or DFL (however you want to look at it) with 4 complete laps. I was bummed.

    I realize I am starving and I recall a Wendys in town. Yummy! chili and French fries sounds GREAT! I change clothes and hop in the car. I drive toward Steamboat and I do not see the Wendys

    I KNOW it is there. I u-turn and look for it again. I am back at the race venue so I u-turn again and drive slowly looking for it. Uhh...¦ohhh - I see a cop call pulling me over. The officer said he pulled me over for making an illegal u-turn and speeding. I say... I am looking for the Wendys. I am SO hungry. then I bust out crying. I could not help it. I had a hard time getting my drivers license out of my wallet. He asks me what I have been doing and I say...I have been in that race and I need some food really, really, REALLY badly!!!! He goes...have they been running you up and down the mountain? I sniffle... Yes!. He takes pity on me and give me a warning. I make it to Wendys and scarf down a biggie Coke, biggie fries and large chili. Oh man - it was the BEST meal.

    I go check on Bryan and tell him I bailed on the 5th lap. By this time it is 11:30 and he said he quit racing @ 11pm because he had done 7 laps and none of his competitors could catch up before midnight. Last year it took 9 laps to win the 12 hour Mens solo this year only 7 laps. I was happy to hear he won!

    Then I took 4 advils and fell asleep in my car. Surprisingly I did not feel to badly the next day... just slightly sore and tired. I have been second guessing myself ever since. I talked to my competitor that won...she had a support team and did this race last year on a team. I gotta hand it to her that last lap was a HUGE effort. She totally hung in there and got the job done! Congrats to her and the 2nd place finisher for pulling of a major 5th lap! Big KUDOS to those girls - they totally rock!!

    Well, I have been waffling between 2nd guessing myself and feeling good about putting out the best effort I could at the time. All the decisions I made seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Lessons learned, eh? Next time I WILL definitely take the BF with me!
    Last edited by brg; 06-16-2005 at 07:49 AM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Great write-up! That didn't take so long after all... Bummer about the last lap schenanigans. Sounds like it'd have been a ladies 12HR Battle Royale! Next time....

    Wait! I had to re-read the "one hour" pit/clothing stop!!! Yikes. Funny what the brain does when it's in "conserve mode"!!!
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  3. #3
    Des(s)ert Rat
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    Next time give me a holler. I don't know that I could have raced with on a team, but I if I could and if you didn't mind my ss silly head...

    Either way, good job on biting off such a big project.

  4. #4
    Candlestick Maker
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    Congrats! Solo would have been serious suffering w/ the non-stop climbing and no real rest on the descent.

    Quote Originally Posted by screampint
    Next time give me a holler. I don't know that I could have raced with on a team, but I if I could and if you didn't mind my ss silly head...
    I made the mistake of doing the first lap on my singlespeed. I got my fastest lap time (1:22, including the run), but suffered mightily. If I were to ride the race again on a singlespeed it would have to be on something geared really really low (like <= 32:24).

    baker

  5. #5
    paintbucket
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    Great report. Is it just my imagination or has the quality of reports gone up since we got the XC Race forum.
    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  6. #6
    Preemptive Revenger
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    Excellent read!

    Don't harsh on yourself for that fifth lap...honestly having support is good for a lap or two! When I came in for my fourth, I just layed on the ground with my eyes closed while my friend Mark did everything like hand me food and adjust my bike...surely without that I wouldn't have done a 6th, and probably not even a 5th. So the fact that you were heading out for a 5th is plenty epic!

    So are you hooked? When's the next one?
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    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live. - Mark Twain

  7. #7
    brg
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    Quote Originally Posted by screampint
    Next time give me a holler. I don't know that I could have raced with on a team, but I if I could and if you didn't mind my ss silly head...

    Either way, good job on biting off such a big project.
    you know - I thought of asking you - but don't know you well enough to be so bold. Next time! You've been warned. As far as a SS - I'm sure I'll be hard pressed to keep up with you on a geared bike!!!!

    thanks!

  8. #8
    brg
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapwithtom
    So are you hooked? When's the next one?
    Firecracker 50 - of course!!!

  9. #9
    i worship Mr T
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    congrats brg!! 4 laps is great. and, i'm sorry but i had to laugh about your encounter with the cop. too funny! he should have given you an escort to make sure you made it to wendy's.

    wish i could have joined you for a duo effort. would have been fun.

    great report. congrats again for doing it truely solo.

    rt
    "where are you not going so fast?" (question asked to cyclist on a trainer)

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  10. #10
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    Fatigue does strange things

    First off, I really enjoyed your write-up so thank you.

    I have never done a 12-hour race nor a 24-hour one. I never will but I have experienced being required to stay awake and semi-alert for 36 to 48-hour periods during hard physical activity and it always amazes me what fatigue can do.

    Losing it for things that would not faze a rested person is not unusual. Decision making becomes stained at best.

    You did a wonderful and should be proud.

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