12 Hours of Sundance was made possible by Carbo Rocket.
I was actually able to eat some solid food all day, but Carbo Rocket was the main staple for fuel. After every lap, I took down a water bottle full. And I have to say the Raspberry Lemonade is the BEST ever. Love it!
Because it is single speed season*, Chris and I raced our single speeds at this race. Some may view this as cheating and it may have been during the first half of the race. I have to say about half way through, I was not sure I was going to make it. It was so hard. In total the race went well and here are some things about the day that stood out to me:
Chris started for us as he usually does. It was not a le mans start, but just a mass start. This guy in a yellow jacket was way off the front climbing the road. People were commenting on it. I knew he would not hold on to that place though. I don't know who he was but he wasn't Alex, Chris or Chad. Therefore in my mind he was not really in contention. I was surprised that though Chris finished his first lap in great position, it was not as characteristically good. Apparently, he hit his pedal on either a rock or a stump and went down.
The first couple of laps we were behind Chad Harris and Aaron Stites—two fast guys from Racer's Cycle Service—and Matt Harding and Josh Wolfe—another two really fast guys. Chris would get ahead of them on his lap and then I would lose the lead on my lap. It was always friendly banter as they would pass byme.
I think it was my third lap, when I heard the voice behind me greeting me and letting me know he was back there. I was so ticked—it was Aaron. We exchanged some pleasantries; I said I was getting tired, he said it was probably the time of day. We were on a pretty narrow section so I could not really just move over and ride as he passed. So I put a foot out and moved off the trail for a second. It was not Aaron, but Alex. That made me feel just a bit better. I was still a bit upset because I do hate being passed, Alex... I think I was passed four maybe five times. Josh passed me twice, Aaron once maybe twice, and Alex.
I can't remember which lap it was when we took the lead. The announcer said something when I left. I could feel the pressure as my legs were fatiguing. They also announced when we finished our 12th lap. At that time, I was not sure we would hold on to the lead. I was so spent. Chris seemed strong, but I was toast. I only hoped everyone else was feeling it too.
I spoke to Chad and asked if his team was getting ready to slow down. He said he was going to ask me the same thing. Then he said something about not really racing us. We were registered in Coed Duo and his team being Male Duo. I told him that he may not be racing us, but we were racing him. Even though we race in the Coed division, we always have our sights on the overall.
As the day began to close, the race got closer. Josh and Matt started to eat into our time. Well, Josh would eat into my time and Chris would have to make it up again. As Chris was out on his ninth lap, I realized that I only had one more to go and Chris would most likely have another one after his present lap. I told myself I had to go out and ride as fast as I could. I had to keep as much distance between us and Matt and Josh. Chris came in and told me just to ride safe. I pushed harder than I had on my previous laps because I knew I was done. Over and over in my head, “Push; just push.” After the first couple of switchbacks in the trees, I look up the trail and there was a hawk. He was just sitting there mid trail. When he saw me he started to fly away with what I can only imagine was his recent kill—one of those bigger gray bird that fly out of the grass as you go by. He dropped it right off the trail. It was crazy. While it did break my concentration for awhile, it was pretty cool. Then I gather my thoughts and constantly reminded myself to just GO!
I finished my lap at 6:32 pm. Chris went out. The course was to close at 6:40. I sat and watched the time waiting to see if Josh would make it in. I waited and waited. I saw an orange jersey approach, but it was not him. It got closer and closer. They announced there was three minutes left. I waited watching the clock count up from 6:39 to 6:40. Josh barely missed the cut. We had it for sure. I was so excited because it was so difficult; I was spent and it was totally worth it.
Chris' sister Leslie and her boyfriend had come up to provide some support. She brought a cooler full of stuff but we did not eat that much. Racing like this makes you pretty picky about what can go down and taste good. After the race though she made the most delicious turkey sandwich. And I was able to eat my Hostess Cupcake too.
*Single speed season is the time after the regular season—post ICUP and NORBA—leading up to the 24 Hours of Moab. Single speeds are ridden exclusively on the dirt.