Even though I live in Los Angeles and ‘cold’ days are only in the 40’s or 50’s, I still have the hibernation genes embedded in my east coast body, i.e., I spend the winter eating, riding less and putting on weight. Often I’m 20 pounds heavier, Jan Ulrich style. But has been important to take a mental break from always being on the go, traveling and being busy with projects. Sleeping more often really helps my mental and physical health!
This winter has been different. I’ve only put on five pounds. After my positive experience at the 508 I was MORE stoked on riding. I took a healthy break, but have gotten in a few long rides already, including a Christmas day century around the Rose Bowl. 25 laps plus to/from = 100 miles of holiday spirit. I hate riding in circles, but ridiculousness = more fun.
Century around the Rose Bowl. Photo from this dude.
Still I wasn’t so sure about racing the 12 hours of Temecula in January. Twelve hours of base miles? I haven’t been on my mountain bike much partly because of the damage from the fires in the San Gabriels and partly because I’ve been riding road so often. And since I broke a cleat I’ve been riding on old BMX platform pedals, which is awesome, but not the best ‘training’.
Jack, Jeff and I headed out together to Temecula the day-of, which means an absurd 430am alarm. Moi met us there and we set up our ‘pit’ which consisted of four piles of stuff, no tent, no chairs and no crew. Jack quickly made some friends with the folks next to us, a dude crewing and his 2009 solo champion wife. They were pro, but still impressed with our style of self-support. This guy Dean, who raced Feel My Legs in 2009, showed up in time for the parade lap, went out for five hard laps and then left, so I never saw him again. Jeff did 11 laps, which put him in the top five in the Expert class (the results page hasn’t been updated). Tinker won the Pro category easily with 12 laps in under 10 hours and stopped there!
Each lap was 9.3 miles and it only took a few before my whole body was sore! Just wasn’t feeling it, which happens. I did a lap with Jack, which was rad, until he crashed hard on the last downhill into the start/finish (he’s okay). Then Moi rolled up and we chilled. I txt messaged a bunch. Jeff rolled up, stared at the three of us not on our bikes, and then pedaled off in full race mode (starting his 8th lap and therefore lapping me). Moi and I went out for a lap together mostly spent playing around, bunny hopping obstacles and finding sections to jump. Then I felt tons better.
Checked the standings, saw I was only a lap behind the Single-Speed leaders and still in the top half, so I put on my lights and warm clothing and went out for a night lap. The conditions were faster and I felt the best I had. Came through the pit, grabbed food and went straight out again. My tactic was to do a fast second-to-last lap and start the last lap before 9pm and take my time. As I finished lap 9, my borrowed Nightrider handlebar light was dead and Jack informed me I had to finish my last lap by 9pm or it didn’t count. It was 750pm and my ‘fast’ night lap was sixty minutes. Shit. I headed to the Nightrider van and the dude gave me a light to borrow. Battery doesn’t work. Switched the battery and that one doesn’t work. Finally we switch the whole system and I’m rolling away at a few minutes before 8pm. The course is empty. I’m three miles in before I see another rider. I run the sections I can’t ride. I have no clock and no idea of my time. It’s so damn tricky to ride fast at night while fatigued and still be careful enough to not flat or crash! I pass a dude and encourage him. I go past the neutral support and they’re packed up and gone. I ride a section I had to walk on my previous laps and keep pushing.
I roll into the start/finish unceremoniously at 854pm. Lap ten and one of my fastest of the day. I don’t know how the hell I’ve ever done a 24hr race solo. I changed, ate some Moroccan carrot-raisin salad (I’ll post the recipe) and checked in with the others. Stoked. Moi top half in Sport, Jeff top five in Expert with 11 laps and Jack, well, stoked he wasn’t too hurt. I think I ended up 5th or 6th out of 15 in Single Speed. I would have won Sport! Haha.
So here’s to the start of 2010, the year I take myself seriously as an athlete?