Race Report: 12 Hours at Night

Grueling and thrilling.  These are the 2 words to summarize my first 12 hour race.  I had trained pretty hard, so I knew I was pretty sure I was ready physically.  It was the mental aspects of racing for 12 hours from 8:00pm to 8:00am that had me a little concerned.

As usual, my seasoned support crew, a.k.a. Nicki and the kids, were on hand to help.  This was totally different than my prior events though.  Who was going to refill my gel flasks at 3:00am?  Nicki.  Who was going to make sure I was hydrating and fueling properly every 2 hours?  Nicki.  Who was battling a severe cold leading up to and the day of the race?  Nicki.  Despite her being sick, she was ready for her role.  My goal was to ride through the night without stopping and complete 11 laps with as little time in the pit area as possible.  After my first 3 laps, I was pretty much on target.  Starting the 4th lap at around midnight, I was feeling pretty strong.  The course had a lot more climbing than I expected (the thunderstorms the week before the race forced me to call off my pre-ride).  Despite all the climbing, it was a pretty fun course.  Fast, scenic, with plenty of tarantulas to keep me company.  I had to fight the urge to get off the bike and take some photographs.

By lap 7, my lap times were increasing.  At lap 8, I missed a turn and ended up off course.  I would’ve kept going too if I hadn’t been stopped by a fence!  When I double backed to where I missed the turn, I couldn’t believe I had missed it.  The chalk outline indicating to veer to the right was still intact.  If the chalk markings weren’t enough, there were 3 large, bright, orange cones to block off exactly where I had turned.  Regardless, I blew right through the cones.  

As the sun was starting to peek out from the mountains in the east, I felt a renewed sense of energy and my sense of accomplishing my goal of riding through the night without any stops was quickly approaching.  
When I came through the transition area after my 10th lap, the kids were chanting “One more lap!  One more lap!”  I had 1:10 left to complete one more lap, but I just couldn’t summon the strength.  I think after the sun came up, I had already made up my mind that I would do only 2 more.  After the race, as I just sat in the chair and had some pancakes, I was completely content with my 10 laps.  After all, it was good enough to place 9th. However, the next day I seriously regretted my decision of not going for one more when I know that physically, I could have completed one more.  I’m going to need to dig a lot deeper for my next endurance event…..24 Hours of Moab.

Final Results: 9th place, 82 miles, 9,000 ft total climbing

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