My First 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race

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I bailed on a climbing trip to compete in a 24 hour mountain bike race over Halloween weekend. My friends thought I was nuts. While they climbed–in costume–at Indian Creek, I raced solo in 25 Hours in Frog Hollow. I showed up to the race by myself, not knowing a single person there. I felt out of place at first (this was only my third mountain bike race ever), and before the race, as I ate breakfast alone, I doubted my decision to ride my bike instead of climb.

The morning before the race, I took a photo of the sweet potatoes I cooked for breakfast. If I'd been with friends, I would have photographed them eating the sweet potatoes. I was lonely.
The morning before the race, I took a photo of the sweet potatoes I cooked for breakfast. If I’d been with friends, I would have photographed them eating the sweet potatoes. I was lonely.

This is what I told myself when I registered for the race: I spent my twenties rock climbing and now it’s time to try something new. Since a new career–or marriage, or babies, or buying a house–seemed out of the question, I chose to try a new sport. Also, I’d won two mountain bike races in the last month, and that made me feel pretty good about being thirty. I should also admit this: the night I registered for the race I sobbed into my dogs fur (up close, he still smells like skunk from an unfortunate encounter this summer), and in between blowing my nose and sipping aggressively from my wine glass, I Google searched for mountain bike races in the area. When I stumbled upon the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow video posted above, I registered for the race.

Photo courtesy of Crawling Spider Photography.
(Photo courtesy of Crawling Spider Photography)

I promised my climbing partners that if I didn’t win, I would start climbing again. During the race, my bike took a serious beating from the mud (it rained for several hours in the middle of the night), my remote seat drop made me want to quit after the third lap, and my shoes were so caked with mud I couldn’t clip in on lap ten, but 26 hours and 195 miles later–I won!

So I registered for another race.

The remote seat drop from hell. On lap three, it wouldn’t stay up, so I raised the post below the drop to above the recommended line. I’m lucky it didn’t break off! On lap seven, the seat drop decided to continuously shoot up between legs whenever I wasn’t sitting on it with all my weight. This made it nearly impossible to get back on my bike (imagine the seat popping up to two feet above the handle bars). Unfortunately, I’d stripped the bolt in the seat post clamp in my haste, which meant that I couldn’t lower the seat post any further to compensate for the dropper posts behavior. So,  I duct taped the possessed seat post into it’s lowest position for the rest of the race.
At least I was smart enough to bring an extra pair of shoes!
My bike was so muddy I could barely peddle the last lap.
Second place was late to awards, so I jumped down to the third place podium hoping to make friends.

1 comments on “My First 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race”

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