Monday, August 22, 2011

But you are not a Jedi yet.

So by now you've heard that I got 3rd place at the 24 Hours of Seven Oaks. That sounds impressive. Here's why you shouldn't be impressed:

-I did this on a bike not on foot (just in case you were under some sort of misapprehension).
-I know people who can run farther faster.
-There wasn't a whole lot of competition. Only seven solo riders. (Which means that it could have been you. You should be there next year.)
-4th place had a broken pedal early in the race, had to drive into Ames, buy a new set, and still almost beat me.
-I am barely even sore today. I could have done more.
-I had plenty of time to go out and do another lap, but 4th place conceded and so I didn't.
-I didn't manage my goal of 17 laps/136 miles. I only managed 13 laps/104 miles.
-In the first 12 hours I did 9 laps. In the second 12 I did 4.
-I slept for 3 hours and sat around for the same.

Then again maybe you should:
-I did it on a rigid, single-speed, 26"er. The rest of the field was on suspended, geared, 29"ers
(okay, one guy did have a 26"er).
-This is one of the toughest courses around. Unrelenting hills, 95% singletrack, and virtually no place to rest (unless you want to just stop and lie down).
-I was only one lap behind 2nd place.

So how should you feel about my performance in this race? I don't know. I'm reasonably happy with how I did. It was better than previous years and my best mileage yet. I had a good time. I still feel like I slacked off too much. Decide for yourself when you ride it next year. I'm serious about you coming out and beating me. This race deserves more competition.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Round and round, up and down.

The 24 Hours of Seven Oaks has become something of a tradition for me. Since it's inception in 2003 I've raced in some form or other every year but 2005 (long story, but I'd be happier if I had made it that year too), usually in the solo 24 class. In fact in it's inaugural year I managed a podium finish and won $50. It was my first bike race and I haven't been able to find the magic since.

Every year since then it has been a downhill slide. I go in with good intentions only to lose the will to race around midnight. Some years I have had reasonable excuses, numb hands, broken lights, but most years, I pretty much just give in. Last year I just looked up at the big hill and couldn't will myself to go out there.

I don't quite know why it's that way or why I keep coming back. Some of it has to do with the nature of 24 hour racing. Round and round. It gets boring, and even if you quit halfway through you're still credited with a finish. I'm much happier doing point to point races with a defined distance rather than a defined time. At least it is close, a great course, with great people (though I could live without the thumpin' tunes from the Rassy's tent), and relatively inexpensive.

In any case I'm back. I'm probably better trained than I have been since...ever, even though I haven't been training with this race in mind. I'm riding a known bike that fits me and feels good, even if it is a rigid single-speed. I have lights that work. Even the race time suits me as it starts at 10am this year rather than noon. As for goals, I hope to be on the bike for 18 hours of the 24, get some good night laps in, make it a double metric, and enjoy myself.

(Hmm, maybe those thumpin' tunes could be my motivation to stay out on course. I won't have to hear them if I'm behind the hill in the woods.)