Sunday, May 07, 2006

1 Hour of Lodi

Sorry for the long overdue post, but this was personally a tough one to write up. While it's been sitting in my Drafts box, life is happening and other posts are waiting to be written, and so here it is... ... ok really now

Just back from the 12 Hours of Lodi Farm where I think I just set the course record for the shortest endurance race ever: 1 lap.

I took off well enough at the Lemans start-- a hundred mountain bikers running through the woods at midnight with headlights blazing. After running for about half a mile, I get to my bike feeling great and pedal away into the woods. The first mile of the course is hilly and I pick off a few riders on the first short climbs before settling into an comfortable pace just behind Pedalshop rider JohnC. Markie and Stoner are somewhere close behind. Once in a while I can spot Rickyd just ahead of me as the course whips around and the lights of the peloton light up his red City Bikes jersey. Inevitably, the pack thins out and I'm riding on my own. Everything is fine and I'm right where I want to be.

A few miles into the ~7.5 mile course, my neck snaps back as my helmet slams a low tree branch. Everything goes black. I pull off the trail to check for damage and notice that my helmet light is completely destroyed. It's broken off its mounting and the bulb is shattered. I had three spare batteries to get me through the night, but I hadn't counted on needing to replace the light itself. My backup light only has enough juice for 1.5 hours. Nevertheless, it was my only option and I just needed to get back to camp to pick it up. It's still early in the race and there are lots of other riders around to piggy back off their lights. But the course is really twisty and if I don't stay right on their wheel, I see pitch black every time they turn. It was on one of these blind turns that I slammed my shoulder into a tree. The pain gets to be bad enough that I can't pull on my bars. I ride the rest of the course walking the steep parts (both up and down) and running over the log piles. By the time I get to the starting area I know I'm not heading out for another lap. I crawl into my tent a shivering wreck. Mindless anger reluctantly settling into just bitter resignation.

I was done.

Meanwhile, in the land of the living, Rickyd is putting on the race of his life. In between episodes of sleep I hear him roll into camp to stock up for the next lap. Seems like he's rolling in every hour on the dot, even later in the race when he's "supposed to be" slowing down. He goes on to do ten laps for the win. An incredile performance. Read about it in his own words here.

Till the next episode...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Assume the position...

The singlespeed climbing position that is...

(And forget that last guy, he's a big showoff! Yeah, Pierre rocks.)

All photos taken by lensmaster Joe Foley at last Sunday's Greenbrier AMBC race.

More pics by lensmaster Al Santos here.