Monday, August 18, 2008

2008 24 Hours of Great Glen

I missed last year's race due to some broken bones and whatnot last summer, but I made it to the Race this year. I was doing the Solo Singlespeed thing with DEA and A1. More so with DEA and A1 had some crazy idea about actually racing and competing. The weather here in New England this summer has been somewhat damp. I have a half built ark in the yard if that tells ya anything. As a result the singletrack sections of the racecourse were expected to be a mess.

I had an opportunity to pre-ride sections of the course a few days before the race and some of it was so bad that they were actually removed from the race course. Unfortunately the rain didn't let up until the day of the race. We were spared getting rained on during the race however.

DEA and I set up camp in the solo area and A1 set up his RV compound in the main camping area. All three of us were at the back of the pack when the Le Mans start having decided that we did not want to get too caught up in the mess that happens when the race starts and all the racers bunch up and actually end up walking due to the congestion that happens on course. We thought it might be better to hang back and let things work themselves out before we ended up in the middle of it all. We were not racing on teams and doing the solo thing so the race was a lot more than a lap or two at a time; a marathon, not a sprint.

We rode the first 3 laps together and DEA and I decided to pit and recharge with some fluids and food. A1 was being supported by his wife and powered along. DEA and I did another lap and took another break and got some real food. It was about this time I think that DEA was starting to have some cramping issues. I was feeling pretty good and was riding at my own pace. While eating in the main tent, the timing board actually showed A1, myself and DEA running 1,2,3 in the Solo Singlespeed category. It was cool to see, but unfortunately was not long lived.

After eating, DEA and I headed out for another lap, Lap #5 at this point. It was about 6PM or so and the light was starting to be an issue, it would be the last lap without lights. DEA was having some major cramping issues and as we came int the start/finish area he headed to the pits for the night. He was very disappointed and perplexed as to why he was having these issues. I got my lights set up and headed out.

By this time it was dark in the woods and was getting even slicker than it was before. I was rolling along thinking I would complete this lap (#6) and do 2 more before taking a longer break and get a bit of sleep maybe. I was half way through my lap and was in a singletrack section known as "Whiplash." This is a trail that I have ridden many many times in both directions and know it pretty well. For the first 5 laps I had ridden most of it except for a couple of short sections that were just about unrideable. Well the 6th lap would be different, as I came into a spot that I had been riding all day I came over a large granite boulder and and my front wheel came down it was a few inches to the wrong side and stopped rolling. My weight started to shift forward. I could see that the front wheel was not rolling but was becoming a pivot and the bike I was on was starting to go up and I was about to go over the bars. I know that most anyone who has crashed anything, be it a bike or on skis, or anything else has those moments where everything slows down and its sort of a slow motion type of crash, but you are stuck knowing whats about to happen and can not do anything bout it. I was having one of those crashes.

Unfortunately the ground was not nice soft loam, it was a granite rock garden with a foot and a half of sloppy mud. I hit head first. Actually directly on my head. I could feel as my head went under the water (well muddy black slurry of a liquid). It then hit bottom as my neck absorbed the impact that was not taken by the helmet. The rest of me kept moving forward and slammed into the sloppy rocks. I was under water when I came to a stop. I quickly did a quick damage assessment. I had a some pain in my left elbow, but I knew that I had not fractured or dislocated it again. My shoulder seemed to be OK and all I could tell was that my right leg had some cuts of some sort.

I got up and saw that I could not see. My whole head had a layer of sludge on it and I wear contacts. I was afraid to open my eyes and then not be able to see at all. I opened them slowly and was able to see that my light was still on my head but not near as bright as before. I got out of the middle of the trail and walked about 20 yards. I needed to get my eyes cleaned a but better but my hands were like the rest of me, covered in an ooze. I took the nozzle from my camelback in one hand and with my left hand I pressed on the back of the pack trying to make an eyewash. I squirted my face and eyes as well as I could. I shook my head as I tried to clean it off. I had nothing to wipe off with.

I then wiped off my light as well as I could and then walked the rest of this section of trail. My neck was starting to get sore and I could tell that I had some good cuts on my legs. I was also starting to get a bit cold as I was soaked. I kept moving along, but my confidence was gone and I was just trying to make it back to camp at this point. I ended up waling a fair amount of the lap but got back to camp at about 8:45PM.

As I rolled into camp DEA was sitting there talking with Ward Solar. I walked up and they could see that I was a mess. I was muddy, and I stunk. I decided that with the way I felt I was done for the night. I stripped down, took a shower and got cleaned up. DEA and I broke out a beer and called it a night. I surveyed my bike and it looked like it did a lot better than I did in the crash. I then looked at my helmet. I wanted to see if my HID light was trashed. Lucky for me it looked like it got some scratches but no major impacts. About 2 1/2 inches from where the light was mounted however, my helmet was showing some signs of damage.

I could see that It had hit hard and as I inspected closer I could see that it was broken. The internal frame of the helmet had fractured and was done. I guess it did its job, but this helmet had been on its last ride. It reconfirmed my decision to hit the sack.

At about 6AM I woke up and started to move around. My left elbow was very sore, as its the one I dislocated and fractured last summer. My right leg was pretty banged up and my neck was very sore. DEA was stirring at the same time and we went over to the main tent to get some breakfast and see how A1 was doing. After eating and talking with some folks for a while we headed back to camp seeing that A1 was actually leading the Solo SS category but had someone close behind him.

I think both of us were waiting for the other to say lets go and ride for a bit. At about 9AM we rolled out. I was currently in 4th place and DEA was in 5th. I knew that I had no chance at 3rd as I was 4 laps down at that point. We hit the trails and each of us were trying to see how it was going to go as we each had our own issues. For the first 2 laps we rode together with each of us feeling better in sections and not as good in others. As we pitted to begin the 3rd lap of the morning, I ate some more and refilled my water bottle. DEA who was a lap down headed out about 5 minutes before I did. I was about 11:20 and I knew that there was only time for one more lap so there was no real hurry on the final lap.

I decided to take it a bit easier ans I was stiffening up some. I could see DEA off in front of me from time to time but decided that there was no point in trying to chase him down. I came across a couple of people I knew and rolled along with them for a bit as I made my way around the sloppy, muddy, messy course. I was about halfway through the lap when I heard the cannon go off signalling that the race was over. I was about a half hour away from the line at that point and made it safely in.

I was pretty spent as I crossed the line. It was a relief to finish but a disappointmnt as well. Without that crash, maybe I could have been top 3, who knows. I ended up in 4th place wih 9 total laps. DEA was 5th with 8 laps. A1 did us both proud as he placed first with 16 Solo Singlespeed Laps.

Garmin Edge Summary Data
Total Time (h:m:s) 24:28:54
Moving Time (h:m:s) 9:30:01
8:12 pace
Distance (mi ) 69.39
Moving Speed (mph) 7.3 avg.
32.7 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +10,918 / -10,917
Avg. Heart Rate 113 bpm

Temperature (°F) 44.5°F avg.
51.8°F high
Wind Speed ( mph) W 11.8 avg.
W 21.9 max.

Lap(#) Time(m:s) Distance(mi ) M Spd(mph) HR Avg Max Energy(Cal)
1 59:44 7.52 26.2 163 178 772
2 60:03 7.52 24.8 158 178 710
3 61:07 7.72 26.6 156 178 849
4 64:55 7.74 24.6 147 174 810
5 63:14 7.83 25.9 150 171 909
6 65:20 7.48 21.7 140 164 852
7 63:13 7.66 25.7 135 161 876
8 62:16 7.59 25.7 143 159 874
9 66:26 7.61 23.9 140 160 776


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