Tuesday, July 31, 2007

24-9 Report

What does finishing a 24 solo singlespeed feel like? About like this:

No, not the woman to the right; she looks great. (It's Namrita btw, from whose blog I swiped the pic.) I mean that nasty looking gent to the left. I look exactly how I felt; like a warmed-over piece of a$$-meat.

I was going to do one of those lap-by-lap reports, but lots of folks beat me to it. I'll just focus on the things that were maybe a little different for me.

First, I started the race without my usual compliment of ointments for 'down under', if you catch my drift. I left all my personal lubes and whatnot at the hotel. My support person went back to get them, but for reasons beyond his control (more on this later) he didn't get back in time. I was able to get some chamois cream from Eddie but I didn't have my lidocane jelly or my Body Glide. Not a great way to start. I have to say that this lack had less effect on my race than I would have expected. However, I am paying for it now. Let's just say that things down there are a little sore and, well...scabby. Not great.

The race went very well for me. Sure, it hurt. My feet hurt, but not as bad as in some other races. I never had to switch shoes or pedals. My neck hurt, but not as much as at other times. I never got nauseous, probably because I was only eating about 175-200 calories per hour. Yet I never really bonked, although I came very close.

I had a couple of slow laps that were due more to mental than physical weakness. I stopped at the IMBA tent to eat chips, because chips were the only thing that really sounded good. I also spent a bit more time in the pits than was necessary during those laps. And lets face it; I was walking a bunch of the course at that point. I felt like hell and just wanted the race to be over; like I always do.

Funny story; I stopped at the big bonfire at the road crossing located about 2/3 of the way around the course. I was cold, tired, and needed to stop and drink from my bottle. One of the guys there recognized me from earlier in the race. He had invited me to stop by and have a cocktail, and he reiterated his offer. I declined and sipped my Hammer cocktail instead. Then, from out of the shadows steps a tall man, his face concealed by a mosquito net. He says, "Man, you can't say here; you can't quite now. Everybody wants to quite now, this is the worse time of the night. You are doing great, you have to get moving!" You know what? He was right, and I'm glad he reminded me of what I needed to do.

During the night I went from 5th to 2nd to 1st (I guess for a while) to 4th. The last night lap I was trying to figure out if the podium was for 1st through 3rd or 1st though 5th. I was ready to settle for 4th in the latter case and just finish the race already. But then dawn broke, and *as always happens*, I suddenly became a ball of fire. I ripped off two strong(ish) laps, and my pit crew told me Dallas Sigurdur, a cool guy and TI veteran, was sitting right in from of me and in 3rd position. This was bad for me, since on the last lap *when I was feeling strong* he had blown past me like I was standing still. I had tried to get on his wheel without success.

I figured there was no point in chasing. But I chased anyway. I had no energy, but I found some energy. I didn't care anymore, but damned if I didn't care just enough. I threw everything I had into catching Dallas, and did so pretty quickly. I blew right by him and just kept my head down and pedals turning. I assumed he was right on my wheel and I never looked back. I caught Nat Ross (!) and told him I was trying to hold on to 3rd place in solo singlespeed. Would he mind if I sat on his wheel? Not a problem says Nat. Awesome.

I crank out the last two laps on adrenalin and I don't know what else. My knees are on fire; my feet are really starting to hurt, my neck and shoulders are just burning. I was ready to be done.

Then, like these things always do, it ends. Sure enough, I held off Dallas. Sure enough, I got 3rd Place. Sure enough, the podium was 5 deep--good thing I didn't know that!

As I was just starting to enjoy the afterglow, my support guy Dan says "I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you why I was late getting back with you lube products. There is a problem with your car..." Hmmm, not what you want to hear when you are supposed to be on the road in about four hours. We decided to skip the awards (Sorry race promoters!) to try and find someone to fix the trusty VW. Well, believe it or not, two guys that have been up for about 30 hours might have a hard time finding someone to fix a VW in small town in Wisconsin on a Sunday afternoon. After much head scratching and calling around, we figured out that we just weren't going to get it fixed that day. So we did what any red-blooded American men would do: Took a nap, then went out for steak and beer!

In some ways, it was good that we didn't have to leave right away. We got to have dinner with Eddie and Namrita, Scott and Danielle, Aaron, Jason and the rest of the Slingshot crew, and maybe a few more people that I forget. It was great to chat about races past and future; the good and bad seeds in the sport; and, well, the state of our nether regions. Good times.

The car was fixed the next day without further event. Strangely, I started to feel very good. I mean, *very good* considering I just did a 24-hour race. My drive home was fine; I had achieved the sort of rare calm state that I sometimes get after these races. I had done all I had set out to do; now I got to enjoy it for a bit.

Work up today feeling almost...normal. Not quite; my legs are sluggish and my neck and shoulder are quite sore. But I was able to do the team ride tonight, and I could hang with the pack for the most part. That is just incredible--usually after a 24 I don't ride my bike at all for most of a week and don't do any hard efforts for two weeks. I wasn't on top of my game tonight, but I did far better than I ever would have thought possible. I'll have to think about what this means...

Anyway, special thanks to Dan for pulling his first (only?) stint as a support guy. Thanks to Jason for all the help with bottles and, well, that was an awesome sponge bath.

It was great to meet and spend time with Namrita and Eddie. I knew of them before the race; now I feel like I *know* them, at least to some extent. I look forward to racing near them again. It was great to see Paddy, Dallas, and Skip. You guys rule; you almost make me want to camp next time so we could hang out more. Or, on the other had, you could all join me at the Hotel. You know, where there are no bugs but there is ample air conditioning and a very nice pool/hot tub. I'm just saying...

Picture to follow. Dan took a bunch, now if he would just send them to me. (Hint hint)


namrita o'dea said...

yeah, i've got the scabby thing too (TMI maybe?)...i think it's b/c i sat more than i was out of the saddle on this course...

awesome race, what a comeback. congrats, again!

Paddy Humenny said...

Great race again Joe, glad you guys got the car stuff figured out quick

Eddie O said...

Great to meet you too...lt's do it again some time.

...you can use my Chamois Butt'r anytime.

Eddie O

alexdolpp said...

Cool write up.

gjc said...

great write-up, Joe. and congratulations on a great ride.

paula said...

Awesome write up and awesome job!! :-)

Joe Partridge said...

Thanks for the kind words, everybody!