Jonathon Wheaton, Darren Biggs and I were teamed up on a three man single-speed team, with our main competition being against another DCMTB team comprised of "Cargo" Mike Pearce, Joel Gwadz(illa) and Kent "Solar" Baake (ok I made that last one up but it seemed wrong not to include a nickname for Kent and of course, solar fits!). On paper, they had us beat, just a bit on a head to head basis. Pearce is blazingly fast, and has a history of setting the fastest laps at races like this, Kent is just wily and fit and can just always ride a bike fast, and Joel is usually found standing atop the podium in the Clydesdale class.
We took hope in the poor condition of Joel's spare bike being used by Kent riding SS off road for the first time in his life and Pearce coming in late, feeling sick and nearly pulling out of the race. But, then Kent got the bike issues sorted out and Pearce showed up so, the cards were on the table.
Jon gave us a good solid starting lap, coming in as one of the first riders, behind Mike K riding first for the DCMTB 3 person expert team also consisting of Leland and Ilana and a few minutes ahead of Kent and I was up second with Joel hard on my heels. That first lap I rode my ass off and really stuck to it the whole way through. It was hot and I was drinking a lot of water but still I could feel my head over heating in the mid-nineties temperatures. A few miles in I managed to catch Leland when he misjudged a sharp downhill left and he dropped back a bit later after hitting a root he never saw as he followed close behind me.
The one place I really felt bad about on my first lap was down in a really twisty and tight but flat and smooth section where I was able to get up a lot speed but then entered the turns too hot. This was the one place and one time during the entire race that was actually passed by anyone, so it hurt that much worse, but I was so choppy here on the first lap I was probably wasting a lot of energy while still losing time on other rider.
I freaked a bit when I got back to the start finish and Darren wasn't there to take the baton, but really in the grand scheme of things it meant nothing; just a few seconds really before he showed up. Darren, unfortunately had the unenviable task of trying to hold off a hard charging Pearce and when Pearce caught him, it was going to be tough for us to mount a comeback.
Recovery was tough after that first lap and I (along with everyone else) was showing the signs of dehydration. Getting out on my second lap I worked to ride more smoothly then my first lap. I was also noticeably riding a bit slower and struggling just a bit more on some of the climbs. I still only walked one and that was due to a poor line over rooty terrain but still I could feel the fatigue from the first lap.
I rode the tight and twisty flat section much smoother this time and really came in feeling decent about my lap time though in the end I dropped a few minutes on my first lap time here. The third lap though was where the sh*t really hit the fan.
I was struggling everywhere now and turning the cranks was way harder then it should have been. Joel had started his lap ahead of me after Cargo Mike put in another blazing lap and combined with my own physical struggles I basically imploded. The lap was still in daylight and the temperature had even dropped off a bit but the way I was struggling simply compounded my dying drive. I think here I started to get into my head a bit too much which worked against my energy as well. I lost another 5 minutes from my second lap time.
My fourth lap I had started to feel better and thought I was riding pretty well, but I suppose the damage was already done. I wasn't blazing along in the night, but I was riding much more smoothly then my 3rd lap and thought I should be coming in around the same time as my third, though the darkness seemed to take more out of my lap then I realized.
There is a lesson for me in this race, though sorting out exactly what it is isn't something I've done yet. It may simply be to not go out quite as hard on my first lap of a 12+ hour relay so I save some energy for later though I think its more then that. I do think this course provided ample opportunities for me to waste energy trying to go hard in the wrong places due to the super tight and twisty nature of it.
I also swapped cogs after my first lap going from my 32x18 to 32x20. Maybe I would have actually been better off starting with the 32x20 and not killing my legs on my first lap with the harder gearing... Who knows.
It was fun riding with Jonathon and Darren no-less and as usual a pleasure listening to the antics of the various DCMTB regulars. MK's kids are a hoot and at least Emma has taken to calling me Paperclip permanently so this one seems to be here to stay.
12 Hours of Lodi Farms Results
Hint: go to the creek crossing gallery and check out pictures 266 and 267. Awesome!
See Darren's report here.