Monday, February 21, 2011

24 Hour Race Report

2011 Old Pueblo is in the books, and as usual, it was both brutal and fantastic at once. The day started off just fine, I felt great for my first solo 24 attempt.
Noon: The mass LeMans start was mayhem, there had to be 1000 people all trying to run in bike shoes. I got off to a comfortable start, cruising with a big group, until I misjudged a corner and ran my foot through a cactus. Oops. After the lap I changed shoes and went out again, and this time the winds started kicking up.
3pm: Winds hit 40 mph, out camp area blew down, and I started trying to find big dudes to ride behind. Fortunately, my husband Andy got the pits back together (mostly) and kept everything running smoothly.
6pm: Bike race turns into shitstorm. Winds are howling, rain is coming sideways, temperature is dropping fast. Somehow I am dumb enough to go back out in it.
9pm: Rain finally stops, and wind slows down. I'm suddenly an HOUR up on second place. Laps keep coming smoothly.
2am: All my technical skills desert me. I hit every rock within a foot of the trail. Kept it upright only because my bike knows how to ride better than I do.
4:30am: Things start getting weird. I start hallucinating rabbits, or at least I don't think they were real. I kept telling myself "don't swerve, they're not really there!"
6:45am: Sunrise lap! I felt sortof ok again, and put in a decently fast lap. Met up with a fellow solo rider named Phil who pulled me around the back half of the course. Thanks Phil, I would have been a lot slower without you!
10am: Made the decision to go out for another lap. I probably didn't have to, but I wanted 13 laps...that one hurt. A lot. I felt like I was going about 4 mph, but I still made it back in under 2 hours.
Noon: The finish! Finally! I have a photo from the end, but it's too awful. I couldn't bring myself to put it on the internet.

Final tally-24 hours, 212 miles, 15,600 feet of climbing, 27 dead kangaroo rats on the trail (yes, I counted), and 1 sweet first place trophy.

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