Monday, August 9, 2010

Wausau 24(formerly 24 hours of Nine Mile)

Wanted to finally do a 24 more than one time to see how I would do year to year. Granny Gear bought the rights to this race last year when Dwayne and I did it. Well, they decided that one of the oldest running 24 hour events didn't net them enough cash so they canceled it this spring for 2010. Man, was I and hundreds of others a little pissed. This is where the bad asses step in. Since GG now owned the rights but wasn't willing to use them, the more grassroots, less cash infused promoters had to come up with a new title. The Wausau 24 it became. Hundreds of dollars less to race for this soloist, I was happy with the change. Amazing that they put this together in such a short time, and they did it well. I would say in EVERY way, they out did GG. The only kink in my experiment was that they completely changed the course. So I couldn't compare very easily to last year, we still had a blast.

When I say we, I'm not referring to me and Dwayne. He had to man his responsibilities and stay home. Todd Hecht showed interest early on enough to save some dough on early registration, planning on racing the 12 hour. At the last minute Jeremy Bock and Greg Ott decided to go. Turned out great and we all had an awesome time. Greg was doing the 12 and Jeremy figured he could ride when ever he wanted if he did the 24, so it was.

We headed out Thursday afternoon and drove to Madison and spent the night. After a short drive Friday morning we arrived just before the noon time gate opening. We were 3rd in line for the solo camping and got our pick of the sites. We set up(in 75 degree temps) and hit the trail for a trip around the 11.5 mile race loop. I rode the Jet 9 squishy bike.....PERFECT! Just to confirm, we did a partial lap and I took the hardtail out this time. Nice ride, but I knew the Jet was getting the call up. Pretty sweet having the Air 9 for a back up bike. I would describe Nine Mile as being as close to riding in Colorado as I've been but without the altitude, as in, you can breathe. Lots of pines, so lots of roots. When it's rocky, it's rocky. Not too much in the way of sharp rocks though. Generally a sandy, but firm trail surface so no mud. One spot where the road had some water seeping across but not bad. We got a little rain Friday night and other than a few sprinkles during the race the weather was perfect. Got down to 60ish at night and 75 during the day. Very foggy in the wee hours of the morning.

Race started with a(back by popular demand) Lemans start. I didn't demand to run 300 yards to my perfectly functioning bike, in shoes that suck to run in. So I I waited for a long time when the first single track section came. Not worried at all, Jeremy and I soft pedaled the first lap in about 1:10. Our second lap with less traffic was 1:00. We did the first 5 laps together until he had some gut issues and had to stop. I caught Greg on lap 7 and saw him on lap 8, but never passed him. I was taking 10-15 minute pits by now. I finished lap 9 and stopped to mount up the lights. I decided now would be a good time to take a break and clean up. I washed off the legs, put on new shorts and made some food. Greg hung out for a while knowing that he only wanted to do one more lap and the rules stated that a racer HAD to be on the course when the race clock ran out, meaning, he didn't want to go out too early and risk having to go out again or get a DNF. I was getting comfy and started dreaming about the looming free pizza that would be showing up soon, so I decided to take an extended break.

After Lumberjack in mid June, I hadn't had a chance to ride much. My expectations weren't high because of this and thought I would finish better with a nice rest now. The pizza was real good! I think I had 7 pieces and a few beers. Now I felt like sleeping, so I tried. I couldn't. But I did lay down and rest the legs. Set my alarm for 4am and actually got up after one snooze. I felt surprisingly good and set out on my only full night lap. This was a disappointment to myself but I think it was the right way to race on that weekend. I proceeded to turn 3 laps in just over 3 hours, got to see the sun come up and moved way up in the standings. Jeremy was dressed and ready to go when I came through and we killed 3 more laps in just over 3 hours. 6 laps in 6:13, after riding over 100 miles the night before! Absolutely amazing how much faster we were going than all the other soloists still riding. I did manage to protect my placing on the last lap. I was in 11th before we started lap 15. I stayed in 11th, but I would have dropped a couple had I not gone back out. There were tons of people waiting to cross the line after the 24 hour mark when we finished 14. One guy was way ahead of me at 5am and as soon as I started the 15th lap, I overtook him. He could have gone back out and raced for it, but his last 5 laps had an average around 2 hours per lap. Jeremy and I averaged about and hour and 3 minutes.

Greg did 10 laps, Todd did 8 laps, Jeremy 12 laps and I did 15 laps. We all finished and had fun. Todd and Greg had most of our compound torn down by the time we finished our last lap which was AWESOME! I broke down and bought a image from the poor guy that was out there all day taking pictures.

My Garmin reset itself when I plugged it in to charge so my race is divided into two -parts.

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