Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A very Velo 24x9

This past Saturday-Sunday our Velo Rochester team including My brother, SamO, Chris, and I were in Wisco for the 24 hour National Mtbk Championships. We took second last year and were gunning for the victory this year. In our way were teams from North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, among others. There were a total 1000 racers there competing in everything from the 6 hour duo competition to the 24 hour solo category. The course was 14 miles long with ~600 feet of climbing per lap. The terrain was a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of double track and rocky, rooty, twisty sweet singletrack.
SamO lead us out on the LeMans start and was quickly in a good position. Unfortunately, he didn't know that a guy from the Cannondale team (from NC) was up the trail. He didn't totally kill it and was about a minute back after the shortened first lap(they cut out the first section of singletrack to avoid trail clogging). I was worried, but hopped on and started pedaling. My legs didn't seem like they had any zip, but in the second single track section, I had already pulled in the lead rider.
I continued to roll in the lovely singletrack section that was most of the second half of the lap. I guess I was going fast enough because with the help a flat tire, I had put 19 minutes into the previous leaders. Chris was next and ended up breaking his seat off and riding 2/3 of a lap w/ only rails left attached to this bike...we lost about 9 minutes there. Ben brought us back w/ a hot one. We continued this trend through the day and first set of night laps.
At that point we went to our tried and true rotation schedule that had Sam, Me, Sam, Me, Chris, Ben, Chris, Ben. This got us through the night and allowed us to each to have a 5 hour break for some rest. I actually had a lot of fun and fairly fast night laps. My light setup of a Princeton Tec (thanks to them for hooking us up) Duo helmet light and a Tri Newt handlebar mount made is seem like daytime on the open sections. The really twisty singletrack was a little slower at night leading to 3-4 minute longer lap times. Everyone else was solid as well and Ben put in the fastest overall night lap that I could see in the results
An aside on why we do the different rotation: The 5 hour break is key when you are essentially doing 6 separate 1 hour time trials in 24 hours. It is a much sharper kind of pain and suffering than the solo riders experience. For us and our XC backgrounds, it suits us better.
Anyway, after those night laps in which we luckily had no issues, we each had one more lap. My legs felt like tar, but once I found the singletrack groove, I was able to roll a decent last lap time. Ben was our anchor man and the team trailing us didn't get to go out on their 24th lap because they came in after 24 hours...We had it WRAPPED! Ben knew this and was nice enough to help out woman's team rider who had a flat. While it is illegal to actually change her flat, he calmed her down when the tubeless system failed and talked her through a tube replacement.
Going into these races, I have 2 goals...the first and most important is to win the team competition. The second is to do the fastest lap and have the fastest average lap time. In this case I accomplished both with my first lap being just a hair over 56 minutes..and that was a full lap, not the shortened first lap=)
Some team stats: 14k feet climbed, 340 miles ridden, 4 sets of wrecked bodies
Very comprehensive results can be found here: http://www.grannygear.com/realtime/public/nm_index.php

At this point, I want to thank all the help: Matt at Rochester Cycling and Fitness for keeping us fed, hydrated (I probably had 15 bottle of Gu2O during the race), and riding sweet equipment, Maury and Trek for the sweet Top Fuel rocket bike, and most importantly, our pit crew of My DAD and JEN MEYER. Without them catering to our every need through the ENTIRE night, we couldn't have won....they deserved a jersey too. Oh, and Tegan did help out some with some bike repairs...thanks little man!

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