“We’ve got ourselves a nodder!”
It’s generally a given that I’m well rested leading up to a race. I tend to make sleep a priority regardless, but especially during race week. I was using a trusty 12-week PR training plan from LW Coaching and was all set to peak for this event.
I was in UT for a business trip 2 weeks before the race. I keep a bike stored there, which makes it easier to squeeze in rides when I’m on the road.
It also helps that my regular hotel is at the bottom of Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd, a most excellent ride with lots of climbing.
Zooming down Big Cottonwood Canyon road. One of my favorite road rides in UT. @niteriderlights #UT #cyclingonmymtb A photo posted by Rich Maines (@richmaines) on
Leading up to my UT trip, Senior Leadership at Microsoft asked me to be a part of an internal project requiring travel to NYC. I would leave one day after returning from UT and return to AZ the night before the race. I had to pack for UT, pack for NYC and prep for a 24hr race….all at once. No easy task, but fortune favors the prepared. I like to think I’m opportunistic when it comes to business travel. I make a point to stick to a routine, which includes riding whenever I can. Eat clean, sleep well and ride in new places. This combination also allows me to perform at my best for my day job. Make no mistake, there is a connection. My trip to NYC was a different animal.
Morning commute, just a short walk to the office. The dreary weather is exhilarating. Well, at least until its novelty wears off. #desertmaninthebigapple #NYC #timessquare A photo posted by Rich Maines (@richmaines) on
Aside from walking a few blocks each day through Times Square to the Microsoft office, I had little opportunity for exercise. I’ll simply say this…..my week was exhausting, but deeply fulfilling. I work alongside folks with a true devotion to the work we do and I’m continually blown away by the talent at Microsoft.
Despite falling off my normal routine, the week left me inspired. The subject of my racing, and this race in particular, inevitably came up over late night dinners. The questions about the negative effects of working long days and traveling right before the race made for a nice diversion from technology conversations. My response to colleagues was easy: “I’ve been in conference rooms with you fine folks for 5 straight days, working long hours and exerting a lot of mental energy and we’ve done excellent work, but when the race starts, I will have 24 hours to be with my own thoughts, just me, all alone, you should all be jealous!!”
So after one of the most fulfilling weeks of my career, it was time to fly home, pick up my fully loaded Sprinter Van and drive straight to the race venue.
One step closer to 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. #24HOP A photo posted by Rich Maines (@richmaines) on
I pulled into 24hr Town well after midnight on Friday and fell dead asleep almost immediately. Unfortunately, I left my internal clock back in NY and was up at 4am for a race start of noon. After a 7 day hiatus, I was so damn excited to be riding my bike that sleep deprivation was not an issue and I was happy to be pitting with this guy:
And this guy….
PJ’s daughter made for a great addition to my regular pit crew.
Now to put the actual “race” into the “race report”….I was so excited to finally race that I think I had my strongest showing ever for the first 12hrs. At least it felt that way…
I was minutes behind 3rd for the first 12hrs or so. Normally, my night laps are strong and that’s when I start to overtake other riders. This time was much different. Around 2am, I actually started drifting off on the bike. The excitement had worn off and sleep deprivation from the week before had finally caught up with me. Alert enough to know that one mistake would put me in a cactus, I pulled off to the side of the trail, curled up in a ball, and lay down to rest for a few minutes. After about 15 minutes of laying there and continuously responding to passing riders that I was, in fact, alive, I dusted off and hopped back on the bike. Turning cranks painfully slow until sunrise.
Aside from exhaustion, everything else was great. My nutrition plan was well executed (I may have had a few potato chips in the morning) and my Pivot LES and NiteRider lights performed flawlessly. 4th place was sealed in the morning.
Final Results: 4th place Solo Male Singlespeed, 228 miles, 16,800 ft total climbing