Wednesday, May 28, 2008

24 Hours Round the Clock 2008 Race Report

Many things have to go right to win a 24-hour solo singlespeed mountain bike race. A minimum level of physical fitness is necessary to stay on the bike for 24+ hours. A certain degree of mental toughness is required; no matter what shape you are in physically, it is a mental challenge to keep riding hour after hour. Proper equipment is an important part of the equation; if parts keep falling off your bike, it is hard to keep riding. Luck is also helpful. At the 24 Hours Round the Clock race over Memorial Day weekend, I had the minimum necessary amount in all of these areas and was able to notch up my first 24-hour solo singlespeed victory.

The defining characteristic of this race for my was the lack of drama. The weather was benign, the course was mostly flat and not technically challenging, and all of my equipment function as designed. My food plan was executed to the letter, my pit stops all went smoothly, and I suffered only one small crash with no significant consequences.

I limited my long training rides in the early season this year, capping rides at around 6 hours for the most part. I was worried that this would leave my unprepared to a long day in the saddle, but instead I was able to enter the first long race of the season with strong but well-rested legs. My body felt good for the entire race, and I was able to finish with some reserve of energy.

I went with a completely liquid diet for this race. Heed and Sustained Energy mixed to 300 calories per bottle were consumed every 60-90 minutes. I had Gu2O on hand, but ended up drinking very little. I supplemented the food bottle with Hammer Gel when the laps got closer to 90 minutes. I never got sick or felt excessively hungry or thirsty during the ride.

The twin Quiring bikes were perfect! I rode the ti bike for the first 10 laps and the final lap. I could really feel the bike soaking up the braking bumps on the course. This bike had a Reba suspension fork, which was useful for the couple of 100-foot rock garden sections of the course. I did find that running the Ignitor up front and Small Block 8 in the rear at the minimum rated pressure produced a ride that was a bit too harsh. I believe this is due to the design of the Stan's ZTR rims and the stiffness of the Industry 9 wheels. I could have let a bit of air out of both tires without a problem. I switched to the full-rigid bike for 6 laps. The overall weight of the bike was a bit less than it's ti brother because the carbon fork is so light. Running fat tires (Nevegal front and Karma 2.2 rear) made the bike feel even more plush than the ti model! I chalk some of this plushness up to the compliant build of the Mike Curiak wheels vs. the ultra-stiff I-9's.

The competition at this race was pretty stiff. Many of the racers had done this race before; the number 2 and number 3 finishers from last year we present. I was able to get out ahead on the first lap and stay ahead all race. The number 2 rider stayed a consistent 20-30 minutes behind me for most of the race. I was able to open the gap a bit in the final laps, eventually reaching a 45-minute cushion. I found that racing from the front is a good tactic for me. Being the leader on the course was the extra bit of motivation I needed to keep riding strong until the very end of the race.

The Best Support Person Ever lived up to her title. In this case, I gave her very little to do, but just knowing that she was there ready to jump into action put my mind at ease.

Some final thoughts: While I am glad I did this race, I don't know that it is a venue that I will return to next year. I liked that the promoter paid cash in the single speed category; that is almost unheard of! But the course wasn't very challenging and I found myself getting bored. I'll let it settle for a while and see how I feel with some further reflection.

Not it's time to start thinking about Cream Puff and beyond that; 9 Mile...


Dave Condon said...

Kick ass! We're counting on your brutal legs in the Oregon State Team Time Trial championships this Saturday.

shawn d. said...

Nicely played Joe. Nicely played.


PaddyH said...

very nice to hear dude!
after seeing that this is only a 7hr drive for us(and no life altering relocation for this same time next yr) this race will definitely be on Naomi's and my radar.

again, props Joe.

EXPO Racing said...

Very nice write.

Great win.

Joe Partridge said...

Thanks everybody! Paddy, I'm thinking about a 4-man team next year, all on singles. Big gears and big wheels, baby! I'm thinking podium for sure...