It's just after 10 a.m. on June 27.
Thirty-one days from right now, I'll be headed uphill, nose-to-stem, fighting like hell to establish some sort of position and rhythm in the opening minutes of a race. But not just any race ... this time it will be at the 24-Hour Solo National Championships.
That's what the past couple of weeks have been for me -- tests to see whether I really wanted to tackle a 24-hour solo effort. New Fane was fantastic, an absolutely perfect race, and although John Muir was tough mechanically, the way I felt by the end and the lap times I was putting in were very encouraging, despite riding Kim's bike.
This weekend was the final touch, back-to-back-to-back rides on a slightly modified (read: a bit more technical) Rock Cut race loop, starting early Saturday and ending mid-day on Sunday, with a few night laps thrown in for good measure. (Night riding is legal at Rock Cut.) Along with the most awesome training partner in the world, my niece Kaylie, I managed to experience the best MTB ride I've ever had on Saturday morning, get my "night eyes" back (it's been 2 years -- thanks to Lou at the Shop for letting me borrow his light) that evening, and then clean lap after lap after lap on Sunday morning in absolutely perfect conditions. I felt great, the bike was dialed, and the decision was made.
The four of us -- Kim, Kari, Kaylie and I -- camped out, and every chance she got, Kaylie was on her bike. She wanted to ride before breakfast, after breakfast, skip lunch, the whole deal -- and her favorite was to go over the "bumps" -- imagine this speedy 3-1/2 year old, going full-bore at the speed bumps, training wheels and all. She was quite the inspiration!
As noted in the comments section of the last post, I did have one small mishap -- on the night laps, I hit one of the big log crossings, and the transition log had been moved on the landing side. I was a bit too far forward, and instead of rolling out I was suddenly staring straight at the ground ... I landed on my right shoulder and hip, but nothing too dramatic. Worst part was that the ejection force caused a spring leaf in each of my Crank Bros Candy pedals to bend -- thankfully they have a great warranty department!
(For those of you who raced there, this was not on the course -- there's another trail we didn't use in the race that is more technical and has even better crossings followed by some sweet water-bar jumps.)
So the path now is clear. Proctor this weekend, 12 hours of Blue Mound (in part so Kim can get more crew experience), WORS Marathon 2, Evanston, and then the big show. I'm not entirely sure what I'm getting myself into; all I know is that racing my bike sounds like the best possible way to spend 24 hours of my life.
Just 30 days and 23 hours to go!
6 hours ago