Night-Moves, by Edemtbs.
Below is an odd account of my first-ever 24 Hour race in the co-ed Duo class. My partner in crime for this MtbBilssFest was fast-as-lightning Aaron Gulley, from Santa Fe, NM. Together, we made up Fast and Sassy! And we took 2nd place, following National Champion Lynda Wallenfels, and DeepSpaceRacer Scott Morris.
Together, Aaron and I completed 19 laps (breaking the co-ed duo course record of 18 laps, only to be bested by LW and SM for their 20-lap mania).
I sincerely cannot jot down a blow-by-blow/lap-by-lap account of my 24 Hours of Old Pueblo race experience. Simply put, I was literally out of my skull INSANE the entire race, and I don't remember all that much detail.
Please note that this is more of a collection of thoughts than it is a race report. My skull is still blasted and manic and I am having a difficult time piecing something "race report like" together.
So, here are a bunch of random thoughts and pix linked together with hopefully some semblance of organization or structure:
- First and absolutely foremost: we had a heavenly crew for support: Edmund my starling, CynnyBunn my race bunny, and Jen -Aaron's wife and my oldest and dearest friend. With out them, pit stops would have been chaos and ineffective. They helped to keep the MtbRaceLove on HIGH the entire time.
- My starling, Ed, took care of me the entire week ... and is still taking care of me ;-) He has put out so much energy and love to support me for this event, I can hardly express my gratitude. Thank you, love.
- CynnyBunn literally handed me every single item I needed right when I requested it. Food. CLOTHING. Shorts. Chamois Creme ;-))))) Thanks, CYN...
- And JEN!! BACK RUB and TEA!!!! Saviour!!!
It's pretty apparent that in order for me to 'race well', I need to do my best to keep a LID on the 'stress'. 'Stress', apparently, is far, far different from CRACK and MANIA!!! Thank god! Because it's true, my CrackSpirit ruled the day(s), hands down. There seems to be very little incentive to keep that manic part in check. But the 'stress' factor, I knew, would kill me.
So, in order to keep it in check, it would seem that I employed the following tactics to keep myself from stress-implosion:
- Simplicity. This is how the race went for me: PitFeedChange. Bathroom. Lap. Bathroom. Prep Bike. PitFeedChange. Bathroom. Lap. Bathroom. Prep Bike. PitFeedChange. Bathroom. Lap. Bathroom. Prep Bike. PitFeedChange. Bathroom. Lap ....
- I found that I was far, far more comfortable OUT on the course than I was in the pit. My body was not comfortable sitting still, and I found that my mind was not comfortable sitting still. Not that the pit wasn't heavenly, but that my body didn't want to slow down. It wanted to be flowing out on the singletrack. I did, however, make the most of the pit stops. More on that in a second.
- Humor. I made fun of myself, and everything else around me, the entire time. Case in point: this is me leaving for my first lap ... and YES, I DID do this on purpose:
What do you think? How about this one:
- I did my best to stay as OBLIVIOUS AS POSSIBLE the entire race. Ignorance is Bliss? Outside of LW and SM, I knew for absolute certain that I didn't know jack squat about who else we were racing. I didn't think about it. I didn't look for it. I left it up to my crew to know if I needed to step on the gas or to change things up. Many times during many laps, I told myself to just stop thinking about ANYTHING else but MY RIDE.
- My mantra for the race: SMART LAPS. I wanted to keep things in check, and I wanted to NOT get a nice big phat cacti hug. I wanted to be mindful of my pacing, mindful of my surroundings. I kept saying this: "ALL FLOW, NO BLOW!"
- First lap: FUN and FAST and I felt crack-crazy.
- Second lap: FUN and FAST and I felt CRACK-CRAZY.
- Third lap: I distinctly remember some chatty, yeeehawwin' BLISS with ByerBunny ... and the lights came ON! CRACK-CRACK-CRACK!!! Byers and I held a full on manic hootin' fest with other riders around us ;-) I'd LOVE to know what their thoughts were.
- Fourth Lap: Night lap, felt like I could "hide in the dark" a little... too bad my voice has no clue what that means. I did my best to keep it spinny and mellow.
- Fifth lap: ditto.
- Sixth lap: ditto.
- Seventh lap: I got lost in my lap counts. And I think I started giggling to myself quite a lot.
- Eighth lap: Didn't enjoy the headwind, but enjoyed railing every section that could be railed.
- Ninth lap: Didn't enjoy the headwind, but enjoyed bombing every section that could be bombed.
As I mentioned before: I was far more comfortable out on the bike than sitting in camp. That said, I did make the most of camp, and it was a life-saver every single time. And, true to one of my golden rules above, I kept it as mellow as possible:
- I ATE. Too much, in fact. On my 2nd pit I started to get intensely nauseated. Turns out, I just needed to stop eating. THANK YOU!!!
- 3rd pit, I came in hungry and had my favorite meal of the whole race: plain white jasmine rice, handfuls of gold fish, a large number of dark chocolate with peanut butter candies.
- Other foods inhaled: String cheese, yogurts (cherry and peach), some sustained and heed, but that wasn't workin' out too well. MY MOTHERS COOKIES!!! I think I hate 2 fist fulls of sugar cookies before I went out for my last lap. That was awesome.
- I napped 3 times, for about 5 minutes. That was manna for the mind, and I think it helped to keep me on the safe side of insane instead of the other side of insane.
- A few pix to demonstrate my calm, cool, even-keel demeanor:
jeny eating mashed sweet potatoes... mmmmmmmm!!!!! see how sweet i can be!
jeny trying to get the 'puter rollin' for CynnyBun. Didn't work.
a bit of socializing with the international traveler showing up for her race.
Other Random Meaningful Thoughts and Observations:
- I have absolutely NO 'game-face' or 'race-face.' Anyone know where I can get one?
- I NEEDED Dave, and I NEEDED Lynda, and I NEEED Scott. I felt like our MtbManicSpirits were all connected out on that course ... like we were all riding a long sliver wave of energy that kept our Positive, Powerful, Energized spirits blazing!!!! I think that if there is one thing I will never, ever, ever forget about this race, is the sheer amount of POSITIVE ENERGY from our extended web of crazies.
AARON GULLEY -- Partner in Crime:
Aaron... what to say about my race partner? Holy criminy, this race was definitely HIS race! First and foremost, the man was in the top 10 getting TO his bike at the start of the race ... which was at the far, far end of the running section.... About a handful of freaky-speeders blew by ON their bikes, and here comes Aaron, RUNNING in the midst of them... He was WAY early out on course.
All of Aarons laps were well under 1hr, 18min. SMOKIN' FAST!!! And, I credit Aaron for keeping us far enough ahead of 3rd place that I could play Oblivious Racer ;-) Thanks, Aaron!!!
Aaron has emailed and has this to say about the race:
anything to add? just how lucky i feel to be able to go to such a stunning place and do something as frivolous as ride my bike. a month ago, i thought i was facing my dad's death. he survived, but some 200,000 people weren't as lucky and 3 million are homeless. meanwhile i get to go race. that makes me feel pretty fortunate.
Aaron is full of Grace.
QUOTE of the RACE:
The day before the race, I spotted Lynda in her circus tent area. I bolted over, to steal a hug ... and to chat. And, true to form, I was bouncing off the walls, the ceiling, and everything else. I sincerely tried to keep it all in check and and as mellow as possible... I really was trying as hard as I could.
This is what Lynda had to say to me: "Jeny, do you know how to hit the PAUSE button?"
And, last but not least ... I DID IT. ;-) And I'm glowing still.
Thank you, all you crazy people, for making this such a wonderful event for EVERYONE!!! We really are lucky to get out and play as hard and fast and fun as we do ....
PS: here are all the other pix!! Ed took 99% of them -- and I think there are a few more that I've blatantly stolen ...