The week leading up to 12 Hours of Stony Creek was a hectic one. There was some testing at work that was running behind, so I was working Midnight shift on Monday and Wednesday. My shift on Wednesday ended up being 20 hours, tying my #2 longest shift. That is OK, lack of sleep should help prepare for a 12 hour race on Saturday.
The morning of the race, we were on the road at 5 am, so up a little after 4. The 2 hour trip meant that there was a minimal amount of time to sign in, set up camp, change, and prep the bikes. I felt a little rushed as the countdown to the start began. My wonderful wife was snuggled cozily in the backseat of the truck, awaiting the sun to rise at the very least.
It was time to line up for the start. I sauntered up to the group of riders, no warm-up at all. I figured I had 12 hours to do so. I was amongst the Motor Club, and then I saw TrevRev from No Boundaries and Jacob in the mix as well. (Jake was the rider ahead of me at MSB). When the time came, we took off, rather fast if you ask me. We had 11 hours, 29 minutes to race and these guys were blasting through the gates. I accelerated a bit to get into the line for the singletrack, and settled in. Trev, Jake and I all pretty close.
Aryn and Brian were behind me a bit, but I figured they would close quickly. The initial plan was to cruise with each other during the race. Then Jake came up to me, and we began pushing a decent pace. I would do my geared duty on the wide-open areas and pull, and he would do the singlespeed thing and surge ahead on the climbs. He was good company, and I think we finished the first lap in about 46 minutes. Pretty fast, as the previous year's winner had 11 laps in the whole 12 hours.
During laps 2-3 we were pretty spread out now. Jake and I were just cruising along, feeling pretty decent still. We stopped after the 3rd lap for a bottle change. My wife had awoken from he slumber and was manning the tent, so to speak. Swapped some bottles, grabbed some food and back to it.
It was probably another 3 laps before we stopped again. I think we had 6 laps in the first 5 hours. The pace was starting to wear on me. A can of Coke really helped things along, so we left again, planning on coming around the next lap just as the 6 hour people started and let them pull us for a bit. We came through early, and started our lap ahead of them. We figured they would close fast, and the pan would still work.
When hour 7 began, the hardtail was wearing on me. Evey rock, bump and root made it feel like my kidneys had jarred loose. I rode the first half of the lap standing. I was seriously considering quitting, or at least stopping for an extended rest. All of my pit stops have been quick changes, no sitting. Everybody at camp kept saying "You look goo out there" but I was suffering.
|Some dry gloves and a banana and then back to work!|
Jake would not let me though, he motivated to keep pushing on, even as the rain began to switch from a mist to a sprinkle. I was fortunate I never removed my arm warmers, and just pulled them back up.
Another Coke and some Advil and I was back at it. Brian was at camp and checked the results for me, and I was in second, around a lap down. I wasn't sure how delayed those numbers were, but I was determined to put up a fight. At this point, with some consistent laps, we could end up with 14 total.
It was frustrating that our main experience with the 6 hour group riders is that they would sit on our wheel! We offered to let them pass, 8-9hours on our legs, and they politely declined.
Around hour 10, I was spent. I was barely able to keep my legs going around. I felt we could still get our 14 laps if we pushed, but lap 12 I dropped to the little ring up front, and couldn't shift back out. It wasn't a chain or derailleur issue, but a leg one. Jake was still hanging with me, but seemed fresh as a daisy. He kept handing my Honey Stinger chews and urging me on.
Starting lap 13, I just wanted to be done. I was soaked, sore, tired, mentally crumbling. I didn't know what place I was in, but at this point in the day, there was no reason to stop. We went out again, and the torture was much of the same.
We crossed the line together after that lap. We were ~20 seconds late to begin our 14th lap. For that, I was grateful. After 11:20+ on the bike, my hands were numb, my arms and shoulders could barely support my torso, my lower back was in knots, thighs powerless.
Jake technically beat me by one second, and I am OK with that, because had he not ridden with me, I would have stopped long ago, and he probably would have finished probably 2 more laps. All in all it was 13 laps, 136 miles. We completed more laps than most 2 and4 person teams, something to be happy about.
|Jake and I after the race. Apparently I am a bit delirious!|
I slowly helped close up the camp. The Motor guys packed up and left, and I waited for food and awards. There was about another hour shivering in the cold waiting for things to wrap up. Part of the delay was a rumored missing person on the course, but there was no information regarding if the person was a racer, or even existed.
I guess at this point I am leading the endurance series, but I still stand by the fact that I am not an endurance racer. I think one 12 hour race a year is enough for me. Maybe I could have a Lumberjack race in my legs someday, but not this year.