End of the season had to wait until yesterday for me. My last shot at racing this year was an 8h mountain bike race, solo category.
The course is a 10km loop of single and double tracks with few technical obstacles (logs, rock gardens, sand).
Here's my results:
|Category||Solo Male Under 40|
|# of laps||10|
|Average lap time||45:26|
|lap 3||43:18 (pause)|
|lap 5||44:34 (pause)|
|lap 7||51:09 (pause)|
|lap 9||58:22 (pause)|
Oh and I did it on my Salsa Mukluk Fatbike aka "Apsley".
The goal was to do 10 laps, and complete 100km in 8 hours.
The event was a mix of solo and relay team, with wide range of trail experience.
I'm not by any mean an experienced MTBer, but I chose to position myself closer to the start line so I wouldn't have to deal with inexperienced riders. I knew it would start fast but I also knew that a lot of people would start too fast. Not a big deal in a relay, bigger deal for soloist.
My pit stop was setup just before the finish line and the transition area. My setup was just an icebox with water, bananas and two breakfast bagels. That would be far enough.
First lap went fine, for a first time. Section with a lot of rocks were not a problem for Apsley, uphills were fine and bunny hopping the logs was more monster-trucking logs. Fatbikes are heavy and, for Apsley, rigid, but forgiving.
The goal was to do 3 laps before the first stop. That went as planned. I refilled my water bottle and got half a breakfast bagel in, plus a trail mix bar on the bike after transition.
Two more laps and I knew Aplsey rigid frame would be the thing to manage. I started to stop every 2 laps as the day was getting warmer and the fatigue ans soreness was settling in. I kept the stops short though. I knew it's where I would loose a lot of time.
Doing loops became a weird experience: after the 5th lap, my mind switch to "turn-by-turn" mode, no future, no past, just the present.
Cross the road, let faster rider pass, settle in, watch that root in the tricky climb after the turn.
Ok, that's the bumpy stretch, pedal now and let it flow. Then watch the sandy patch in the turn.
First stone garden, watch for stones that moved since last lap. Part 1, check. Part 2, check. Slow down after part 3 and watch that tree.
As I grew tired, the easy choice was to only react and be passive. And that's when mistakes starts to happen: under steering that leads to over correction that sends the bike bouncing around as you pick up speed that makes your pain even worst.
Ok, stay sharp. You got this.
On the bright side, it became clear that I would have enough time to complete the 10 laps. If I wasn't wrong about my lap count.
Every lap, we had to dismount and tap our "baton" chip on a device to register our laps. That's also where the team rider would relay.
As I tapped my chip, I asked the referee for my lap count, he showed me an other screen for soloist that confirmed my own count : I was on track for my goal with time to spare.
An other referee pointed at a plate full of sliced water melon. Oh boy, best thing I could have asked at the time. Sweet piece of watery fruit. I could have spent the rest of the afternoon wolfing slices.
Laps kept going. Lap #9 and #10 were like: take it easy, you can be twice as slow and keep make it.
After 7h34min20s on the bike, I crossed for the last time the finish line.
That was awesome. Painfully long but awesome.
With the other 22 solo that did 10 laps or more, I got the to be called during the ceremony and was given a celebratory "Solo 100km Pin".
Definitively gonna do this race again, with a different bike though...