I’m a month late in getting to this, but what the heck, better late than never.
The 24 hours in the Old Pueblo race went pretty well, all things considering. Robert and I arrived on Thursday afternoon to secure a camp spot, get one night ride in on the course, and then be able to primarily relax on Friday, before the shotgun start on Saturday at noon.
Thursday evening, however, it started raining/drizzling. That eventually turned into snow. It was cold, and I was close to miserable. Friday, it rained pretty much all day long. And Friday night, it again snowed. Waking up to 2″ of snow on the ground in Arizona is a strange thing.
At around 11am, just an hour before the race was to start, it really cleared up, and the sun began to peak through. It wouldn’t rain again, but the past 36 hours of rain meant the trail was very, very muddy. I rode the first lap, and really slogged through the mud. It was a grueling lap, that really took a lot out of me.
Robert went next, and looking at his bike when he got back, you’d swear he was riding some place else. An extra 90 minutes of drying time on the trail, plus 1000 bikes pushing mud off the trail, and conditions had greatly improved.
Things went basically according to schedule until team lap #7, when Chris went out for his first night lap. His light failed him 1 hr into the lap, and the final few miles, which should have taken 30 minutes took a full hour. Oh well, I thought…that’s racing a 24 hr race. Then team lap #8 also went poorly, although that rider (Carter) didn’t really explain why. I rode lap #9 ok, and Robert rode lap #10 pretty well.
Chris was supposed to ride lap #11 at 5am, but couldn’t get himself out of bed. He was still dead from the earlier lap. Carter said he couldn’t go at 5am either, and given I had only 30 minutes of sleep to this point, I decided our best bet was to wait until my alarm clock went off at 7:30am, and re-evaluate the plan at that time.
At 7:30am, I woke up to Carter having completely left the venue. He had packed up his stuff sometime between 5am and 7am, and was gone. That was certainly stunning.
Robert and Chris were up, and with 3 of us remaining, and not really that focused on the standings, we decided to pack our stuff into the truck, and just ready ourselves for one final lap at 10:30am, all together as a team. We’d only get credit for 1 lap, but we’d get to ride together, which would be fun…and fun is really the whole point of doing the race.
Then at 8:30, I see my buddy John getting ready to go out for his first solo lap of the day, after taking a 6 hr nap, and quick changed the plan to go ride a lap with him, and let Robert and Chris ride the final lap the 2 of them.
So we did that, and in the end, we got credit for 12 laps. I got credit for 4, Robert 3, Chris 3, and Carter 2…although Robert actually rode 4 laps. Individually, we’d all hoped to ride 4 laps each at around 90 minutes per lap. Robert and I were very much on that pace, while Chris was a bit slower, but pretty close, aside from the bonking and not riding a lap. Carter…well, none of us knew him, and he decided to quit. I’ll probably never see him again.
The conditions were very, very tough, and while Saturday night it didn’t snow again, it did freeze again, and for the most part, I was cold from my arrival on Thursday until 10am on Sunday. I could never seem to get my core body temperature up to where I was comfortable, no matter how much I was wearing. The only exception to that was when I was riding. Riding, I felt pretty good.
We managed to finish 80th of 125 finishing 4-man teams. Can’t wait to do it again next year. Hopefully with a 4th team member that we can trust.