Monday, September 14, 2009

24 hour of Hansen Hills part 1

1ST rule in endurance racing, don’t fall!!! Well I broke rule number 1 at the 6 hour mark We will back things up a bit. Rolled into to Hanson Hills about 8:30 to do the last setup. It was chilly but the sun was out. Looks like a nice day.

Looking around Jacob and I made a few comments on the lack of vehicles in the parking lot. I guess we are spoiled for how large the Ontario events have become. This was going to be a real grass roots race. As the count down to start time approached I got changed and headed over to the timing tent. Ran into Tim Finkel and we chatted up things of races past. He may make a return to one of our races next year. Because of the conversation I almost missed the start and got stuck a little farther back than I planned..

Go, all the solo’s left a minute behind the teams. There were more solo’s between the 12 and the 24 hour than team riders I swear. I’m not to sure of the numbers, I didn’t stick around to long of the line to count. By the end of the only double track section of the course I was leading and not looking back. I did glance back to see one rider sticking with me. I attacked the course for the first half before settling into my pace for the rest of the race.

It was a strange novelty of being able to listen to music while racing. It was a nice change especially with the lack of people on the course. Of course this meant anyone riding with me would have to suffer with my bad singing. I feel bad for the guy keeping pace. He didn’t say much. By the time we hit the timing tent we had passed all the teams except one.

Quick bottle hand off of a bottle from Jacob and I was off. I figure I better find out what distance the guy was racing, 12 hour. Ok I’ll ride nice. I still kept the pace high the next lap and we had another ride start getting close. First lap was 47 minutes second was 48.

Starting the 3rd the 12hour guy disappeared but I picked up another rider trying to keep pace. At about the 2/3 mark I picked it up a little bit and never saw him again. Things were feeling good. Coming into the 4th lap I was starting to lap riders already, interesting. Finished up that lap feeling good riding clean lines on the course, did a quick bike swap and I was off.

It’s interesting how too identical bikes with the shock air pressure can feel so different. The bike I was on started to kick me around a little. It felt more like how I set up things for a xc race instead of a cushy endurance suspension pressure. Came through that lap and mentioned it to Jacob and that I’ll switch bikes again after the next lap for him to check it out. Another bottle and I’m off. I tried to keep my time off the bike to a minimal at that point. Even with out a lot of competition I wanted to be at my normal race intensity even if I was riding the course really sane.

At this point of the race I still was on the lead lap, I had almost lapped every rider on the course at least once. I passed a couple that were racing on a tandem for the 3rd time. It was a weird seeing them on the course. I never did get to see how they were getting through some of the sections , I think it would have been a little comical. We did say hi every time I saw them. I wonder if you can tell if someone is slacking off on one of those things.

Finished lap 6 swapped bikes and was off again. Legs were feeling great, I started to attack the single track a little more, I was at that point in the race when I always do something stupid. Try to find the faster line blah blah blah. Surprisingly I was keeping that part under control but just started to ride faster. Coming into the only downhill of the course. Yes, I’m serious, maybe compared to what I’m used to riding here in my backyard it was the only downhill things went bad.

It was a double track section that narrowed into single track at the mid way point. I tapped my brakes a few times like usual but pretty much let the bike do it’s thing. One of my strengths in cycling has always been my technical riding and ability to go fast. Downhill so looking at this little hill I’m like whatever. Of course that’s a bad thing. So there was this little jump which was a highlight of the course. Ya I like to hit jumps, cleared through it then went over this little roller bump that had this small pothole on the back side of it. Well for some reason this time through my upper body got moved a little forward. My front wheel caught the pothole. Not enough to stop me dead but enough to completely kick me forward. Yep over the bars I went at full speed. Let’s just say I was very happy that there were no logs, rocks, trees, gorillas, lions and tigers and bears on the trail.

I hit hard coming down on my left shoulder then to the hip and the knee with my bike coming with me for almost the whole thing. Popped myself up and did my typical responses to a crash, yes it was good there were no kids around even though most have heard those words before. Checked a few things, nothing broken, ok, got back on the bike and finished then lap. It was about 3 minutes to the timing tent. So there is good and bad to a small event. Bad side, not a lot of people so if I was hurt I could be sitting for a few alone, good side, not a lot of people on the course meant nobody saw my crash and my shitty bike handling skills at that particular time.

Hit the pit and told Jacob what happened, grabbed to advil and went out for another lap. Had to see where things were at. I also needed to stay out of my head about the crash. This lap was interesting, I kept the same pace and the legs and knees felt fine. The interesting thing was where my left hand started to be. It was dangling over the grips. I was starting to find it uncomfortable to hold onto the grip and when I did my neck and shoulder started to get sharp pains. I did keep saying the drugs will numb this to bearable, hey I’ve raced with 3 broken ribs and got through, this is minor.

About mid way through the lap I had the first of a couple scares, because of the new position that my and hand had taken up I was having a hard time holding on in the bumps. Yep, had the left grip pulled out of the hand in a chatter section, I love riding single track with one hand. I never went down but came close a few times. Came into the pits with my shoulder and back aching. Got off the bike and thought out things.

I guess in the end I was more concerned about my safety, there were no check points on the course, no officials, no first aid and not a lot of riders. I did talk to the timing people about the thought of changing to the 12 hour and they had no problem with it once I explained what happened. I was tempted to get back on the bike but then it was like whatever. Looked at Jacob and he said exactly what I was thinking. Pulled the plug, it was funny, I wasn’t mad, frustrated, pissed off or anything.

Jacob passed me a beer and I just sat and chilled for a bit. The event organizer came over to find out what’s happening. We had a great chat on the different events in Michigan and what we have back here in Ontario. He was pretty shocked when Jacob and I gave him the run down on our races and how many people there are at each one including weekly race series. Maybe this explains why we had 8 Ontario people at the world Cup in Switzerland this weekend.

I was in a pretty good state of mind considering what was happening. A great line that my coach uses came in to my mind. It is what it is. That’s about it, it’s just a bike race. We loaded up the car and made the plan. Let’s head to Sault Ste. Marie and figure things out from there. Kinda wanted to be back in Canada plus if we go that way we could go over a 4 mile long bridge etc. A little more scenic than taking the interstate back to Sarnia.

I’ll put all the photos up tomorrow. Highlights, stats etc of the race. The loop was 11 miles or roughly 18.5 km’s for us metric people. I averaged 51 minute laps, does that give you an idea of how fast the course was. We normally average about 14-15 km/h in an 8 hour not over 20. I burned up 4660 calories in the 7 hours and my average heart rate was only 151. That is low for me normally I’m around the 165 mark. Yep I could have ridden even faster had I needed to. My legs felt awesome, my nutrition was perfect. Used my 24 hour mix from INFINIT and had zero energy loss. Of course the beer did taste great but not a great race fuel. Totalled 88 miles or 140 km’s. Still shocked on how fast things were.

Little things after the race that confirmed that my decision was the right one. My left knee was pretty swollen on Sunday morning. I had some good sharp pains happening. On the drive home in the morning I reached both arms forward to stretch and my left arm was about an inch further ahead of my right and I could feel that my left side was not touching the seat like the right side. Yep I’m pretty twisted up. I guess crashing at 40 km’h will do that to you. I see Dr. Bill this week so We have some work to do.

I have to give a huge thank you to James from IBEX for a little extra help for this race. These guys have been amazing all year. I never did get to fire up my lights but I know I would have been running the best system for this course. Jacob ,buddy, thanks for keeping the bikes running amazing and keeping the bottles coming at me. This is the second time he has kept my bikes perfect at a 24 hour,

It was a great adventure playing in a new venue It did reminded me on how good I do have it at home though. So that is where the next part of my season kicks in. As long as my knee and shoulder settle down. The mystery event is no longer going to be a mystery. I’ll be at the Hardwood Fall 8 hour. My original plan was to possibly ride it single speed and have some fun not really caring. Now I’ll be riding with a mission on the Anthem’s heading for a podium finish.

More tomorrow time to try and make me not as crooked. Later.

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