Wednesday, October 14, 2009

24 Hours of Moab

The 24 Hours of Moab is one of my favorite events of the year. I have now participated in 6 of them including last weekend. I think that the thing that draws me to it is the variety of experiences that can be had all in one 24 hour period of your life. What else is there that allows you the opportunity to suffer from hypothermia one moment and within about 4 hours, you are sunburned to a crisp? It truly is a unique experience.
In the 6 years that I have done this race, we are yet to have a solid team of four to count on. It has always been myself, my brother-in-law and two other guys that we can find somewhere (usually from the internet). This year was no different except that our fourth man came down with walking pneumonia the week before the race and had to bow out. We scrambled to find someone at the last minute and were able to reunite with a past acquaintance that we hadn't seen or heard from for a long time. It worked out great.
I headed down to Moab on Thursday afternoon with the wife and kids. We got to Moab at about 7:30 in the evening and met up with 2 of the three team mates for some dinner at the Pizza Hut. After that we headed to the race site and set up camp in the dark. The weather was great and that got me excited. It hasn't always been good for the race, and this year was shaping up nicely. A couple of hours after we arrived, the final team mate showed up.
Friday morning dawned cold and clear. We hung out at camp and cleaned up the bikes and headed out on the the course for a pre-ride of the lap. It was the first time that one of the guys had ridden it and in fact, this was his first race on a mountain bike. He did quite admirably I might add.
The course was in decent shape on Friday morning. The sand pits weren't as bad as I have seen in the past and they all had a good path raked out of them so they were mostly ridable. The only exception to this was the final descent back to the finish line. What a mess that was. One thing that I have learned though is that all of this can change with every lap that you ride.
I volunteered this year to ride the first lap. I have sone this once before and I liked it because of things go well, you get to ride both the sunset and sunrise laps with only one lap in full darkness. It's my favorite part of the race. Turns out that this was a good move.
The first lap was a bit brutal simply because of how many people were out on the trail (not to mention I'm not a fan of running). It was difficult in many places to pass and I was surprised by how quickly one could become surrounded by people everywhere. I had a good time though of 1:30. Turned out that this would be my best lap.
I was happy with the way that I rode overall and had a descent lap time in the dark.
We had a couple of problems with the transitions and missed two of them (riders came in and no one was waiting there to go next). Oh well.
By the end of the race, we had a rider taken out with a nasty head cold and finished riding at 11:20 in the morning with 15 laps and in 13th place in the highly competitive Men's Sport class. I was amazed that we did that well considering that we were just there for fun and trying to break in a new team. They said that they would be back next year, so I guess we'll see. Next time, I am going to get off of my lazy butt and train for the race.

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