Sunday, 8 June 2014

24 Hours Round the Clock 2014

This would be my second year racing this event. I was looking forward to getting after it as my 6 hour race a couple of weeks prior didn't quite work out as planned. Heavy rain prior to the Salty Dog caused some slick conditions. One lap into it and crashed on a bridge with wire mesh resulting in 7 stitches. Ouch!

Dave picked me up in Fernie and we were on our way to Spokane to set up the pit and do a pre ride of the course. Things were in good shape. It was dry and anticipated dusty conditions for the race. The legs felt good and the Fate was good to go! 

Loading up in Fernie

As we were leaving the pit we noticed Dave had managed to grab a flat on his truck.  My Specialized pump came to the rescue. Apparently it is not only good for bike tires ;-)

Headed back to the hotel to meet up with Shaun and get some stuff sorted out for the next day. It was going to be the three of us racing with no support. That would mean 25 bottles of Infinit, caffeine taped to my top tube, light mounted on my spare helmet and my game face.

Woke up to nice weather and the forecast looked good for the entire race. We loaded up and made our way to the race. Finished setting up the pit, getting layers, lights, etc put out for the night.  It was time to head to the start line. We were on the front line but decided to let the masses go by and run mid pack to avoid the chaos. The three of us pretty much arrived at our bikes at the same time. I didn't see Shaun again and could see Dave ahead until I dropped my chain shortly into the lap. I set a fairly conservative pace and just wanted to keep things rolling until it was time to mount lights. 

The pit
With 6 laps under my belt stopped to put lights on and grab some music. Dave was in the pit. Unfortunately he got sick and was out of the race. We had a quick chat and he said I was leading. Shortly into the next lap my handle bar light started spinning around and my helmet was bouncing all over the place. The joys of night riding ;-). I stopped to tighten up my helmet and stick my other light in my jersey. A stop at the pit and Dave tightened up the screw on my light and grabbed a bottle and some arm warmers and was back on my way. 

I am too cheap to buy the photo ;-)
Exposure lights back on and working great! When I got back to the pit Shaun was there. He got sick as well. I grabbed another bottle and some layers while Shaun simultaneously lubed my chain and dry heaved. Nasty! I told the boys not to stay up if they were sick. I would be fine looking after myself. 

I was feeling pretty good into the night. The guys were there helping out and providing words of encouragement. I started to feel the fatigue come on around 2:00-3:00am. I grabbed another jacket and some warmer gloves and headed back out for a slower lap. Once I finished that one was starting to feel a little better. The sun was going to be coming up soon and started to find some new energy, maybe it was the caffeine!

It was already light at 5:00 am so lights came off and so did the layers.  On my next lap noticed a solo girl as I passed her towards the back end of the course. When I came back to the pits checked with Dave to make sure I was still in the lead and find out what the spread was. He said I was a lap up with about an hour lead. I was good with that but it was still early so had to keep doing my thing. I was feeling stronger into the morning and my lap times were getting faster but my butt was really sore. Shaun offered up his bibs for a little extra padding. No thanks,  I was not that desperate! I would just spend the remainder of the race riding mostly out of the saddle. 

Coming into the pit around 10:00am the guys did not know for sure how many laps up I was but was still in the lead.  After the next lap Shaun said I was 2 laps up and there really was no need to go back out. I asked how many laps I had done? My goal was to beat my time from last year. We chatted for a few minutes then decided to head to the timing tent.  He went over my laps with the timers and was told I had completed 17. So we talked back and forth about going back out. There was discussion about maybe beating the course record for women and putting the "hurt" on some guys. I was in!! Funny how one minute I am pulling the pin and the next going for a course record - coaches ;-)

I was really starting to get after it up until the 5 Minute Hill. I was wondering how long my energy  would last? I was going a little cross eyed ;-). Still making pretty good time and excited to be coming to the end. When I passed the last check point Shaun was waiting for me and rode the last few minutes with me to the finish. Dave came up to the timing tent and big hugs all around. Awesome finish! 

Awards, some Mexican and shopping to pick up the stuff we can't get in Canada and of course some podium wine to celebrate!

In the end it turns out I completed 17 not 18 laps. I was still pleased with my result beating my time from last year by approximately 30 minutes with a total of 255 miles.  A couple of new things for this 24 hour including S-Works shoes and Stages wattage device. Both worked awesome! I had no real mechanical issues, dropped my chain a few times and had one fall due to a guy crashing in front of me on Devil's Down.

There are so many things that need to go right to pull off a 24 hour never mind a win. It is truly a privilege to get on the podium. I could not have done it without the help and support of so many people. Thank you Shaun & Dave for your support during the race, my sponsors and all the volunteers! What an amazing experience :-)