2006/01/21 – Dirty Dozen

Location

Bluff Creek Ranch (BCR)

What Is It?

It’s a 12 hour mountain bike race. As many laps as you can start in 12 hours. The laps were announced at 10.5 miles each. But several of us think it’s actually closer to 11.5 miles each.

Team Mates

No team mates, as I’m doing it solo.

Category

Solo Sport Male.

Placing

I did 4 laps in 9:04. Which was good enough for 32nd place out of 35. Which means I didn’t come in last place!

Experience

What a blast this was! I setup camp with a couple of friends and it was pretty much a bit of a party! I went into this race with the goal of 5 laps. But would be quite happy if I could pull out three laps.

It started the night before. I went up to get signed in so I could sleep in an extra couple of minutes and not have to worry about sign in first thing in the morning. But while I was waiting for sign in, the sky opened up and dumped water fast and furiously. It started making me a little worried as I haven’t ridden in mud and muck in a long long time. And this being my first pure bike race, not to mention first 12hr, I didn’t look forward to being muddy for 12+ hours.

After talking with the guy that owns BCR, I felt better. It hadn’t rained since like October and it would help the sand firm up. And the ground would soak up the rest of the water so there wouldn’t be much in way of mud or muck.

I went back to the Cockroach Motel, got everything sorted out on what I wanted to have ready for the race in the morning, and then tried to get some sleep.

Woke up feeling crappy, because of the lack of quality sleep and nerves of pre-race, “Oh My God, What did I get myself in to.” But I got dressed, and back to BCR for the pre-race meeting where I hooked up with a couple of friends and they said I could setup at their camp site.

Once we were ready we headed up to the start of the race. It was a Le Mans start, which means we put our bikes up at the check-in area, and we had to run about .2 miles to the bikes to start the race. I didn’t much feel like running, so I walked that .2 miles. I was third or fourth last, and by the end of the first loop I was dead last, as I got passed.

I also got passed by the leader of the race on that first lap. But it didn’t bother me. My first race and I was out there to just ride and to see what I could do. After that first lap, I went back to my staging area and hung out for a bit, to refuel and recoup a bit.

I headed back out for my second lap. And as per usual, I was warmed up and ready to go, so this lap was a bit better than the first one and I completed it faster than I had anticipated for. Which meant I was 15 minutes ahead of schedule. So I took that extra time to rest up for my third lap, which was the minimum goal I had set for myself. I was feeling good about where I was.

I got refueled and ready to go, and went out for lap number three. Not too much happened during this lap of note. I was tired, as this was the farthest I’ve got in a long time, if not ever. But I continued to keep pedaling and walking up the little hills as I needed. I came in with 10 minutes to spare for my schedule. It was great. But I knew I didn’t have much left to give. So I spent extra time vegging out in the staging area. This time I spent around an hour just chilling out, refueling, rehydrating, and just plain ole having fun. I had met my minimum goal and was happy, I could have stopped there and been content. But I knew I had at least one more lap in me so out I went for number four.

As I got started I noticed that I was really tired and didn’t have much left, so I decided that this would probably be my last. I was tired, it was getting late and would be dark by the time I finished a lap after this one, and it also looked like it was going to rain like it did the night before. So with all this in mind, I decided to hammer out this last lap and see what I could do. I couldn’t do much, but I did do what I could, and had a decent lap, for me, and it was pretty much on par with my other three laps, which I figured was good considering how completely spent I was.

There was still over three hours left before the end of the race. But there was just no way I could have, safely, done another lap. I was completely spent both physically and mentally. So I packed up my gear and just hung out until the awards ceremony. Which was good. As my friends that I was hanging with, they found out how close they were to contending, so they wanted to get as many laps in during the final few hours. Now is the important part of the race format. The as many laps as you can start in 12 hours. My friend made it in and tagged to his team mate at 11:59:58. Two seconds to spare!

It was interesting at the awards ceremony to see all the people and how well they did. The best part were the kids that were in the race. Two brothers took part, ages 11 and 12 (I believe) and they did 6 laps together. Then there was another 11 year old who did 6 laps. Which compared to my 4 laps … Well… I am still quite happy with what I did!

Pictures/Video

I was too busy racing and just plain ole forgot about taking pictures. But here are a couple I ‘borrowed’ from DeHart Photo.

Steve Suffering

Steve Suffering

Steve Suffering

Steve Suffering

Final Thoughts

It was very fun being out there. And I look forward to doing more of these races. I just need to lose the excess weight and gain more strength and stamina so I can be out there for much longer. But this all comes with practice and working out.

Being the slowest one out there, I was quite frequently pulling off to the side to let the faster guys go through. And the amazing part about all this was, when I did that, they would quite often call out making sure everything was okay with me. Which I found amazing. Other times they would see that I was getting out of their way and thank me and wish me well on my race. A great group of people these racers were and my hat’s off to each and everyone of them.

I now know that I’m capable of pulling off 40+miles on the mountain bike in a day. I know that that will only get better through out the year as I train more and get more fit. I also know what I need to work on most now, which is “pick a line and stick with it” so I don’t end up stopping and walking areas that aren’t really that technical.

The other thing I learned out there was that honey based Gu’s are a bad idea in cold weather, as they solidify. I didn’t try them, as I could feel the lumps in the pouches, but I figured that it would be a good idea to save them for warmer days.

Days Later… (2006/01/23)

I’m still feeling good about how I did. It was a personal record and you can’t beat creating one of those! I’m not very sore, just my butt a little bit. That just means no biking for a couple days. The rest of my body is a little stiff, but overall I’m in better shape than I figured I would be after that. Now to find my next race…

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