Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Moab - the more complete story

I think the biggest story of our race at the 24 hours of Moab is how miraculous our luck was. Consider, if you will:

Neither Macky nor I had ever done a race at night in our lives. Macky, in fact, had never *ridden* at night with lights until his first night lap, and I had done a grand total of 3 night rides (none longer than 90 minutes) at Marshall Mesa in the 3 weeks before the race. Yet somehow we were better at night (my laps were only a few minutes slower) than during the day, while other far more experienced teams faded badly.

We had no significant mechanicals, though Macky had his handlebar light fall off on one lap (he finished strong with just his headlamp) and I bent my derailleur hanger jumping over a fallen rider (trust me, that's the best option when someone yardsales in front of you when you're going 25 mph) and couldn't really shift for the last half of my final lap. Oh, and I dropped my chain a few times on the first lap. But all told, no flats, no major mechanicals, no crashes, no injuries. Crazy, especially on that course.

Our support was nigh-nonexistent. Macky's dad Bob helped keep us laughing and our lights charged, but we basically sat in the dark in camping chairs under our EZ-up eating pretzels and babbling incoherently. Most of the other "pro" teams had RVs and mechanics and all manner of junk. Yet somehow all our bikes kept working and we all made it to the start in time for our laps.

We didn't even preride the course - I needed to work on Friday, as did Cameron, and Macky didn't have any way to get to Moab earlier. So my first race lap was my first time ever seeing the trail - it was actually hilarious, because I'd crank around a lapped rider, then have to stop and get off to walk because I'd taken the exact wrong line, meaning that the poor person would pass me back, get passed again, and then have to watch me do the same stupid thing 100 feet later... I'm glad everyone was friendly and helpful about letting me by. I tried to give words of encouragement (or at least a friendly ring of the bell) to everyone I saw. I would never think that 1200-some people could share a racecourse that easily. Great stuff.

So really, the race went as well as it possibly could have. I am betting I could have taken 3 or 4 minutes a lap off my times if I'd been riding and racing all summer as I normally do, but given that I spent a grand total of about 6 weeks actually preparing in any way, I think it was a smashing success.

The course was about as fun as anything that isn't singletrack could be, I'd say. Plenty of rock ledges (both up and down) to challenge your technical skill, plenty of super fast sections to test your nerves, and best of all, the course got faster and easier as you covered the loop - the most physically and mentally difficult sections were all in the first 1/3. That was really nice on the later laps when everything hurt.

Here's a shot of us on the podium with the Trek/Honey Stinger and Hammer Nutrition guys. I was really bummed not to win this race - but I'm not going to whine about losing to a group of really nice guys (who I've known for years and used to race against every weekend) who get paid a salary to ride their bike. Honestly, I think I was the only person on the podium who doesn't get free bikes at the very least. Maybe I need to enter the "guys who built their own bike" category next year...


Anonymous said...



wv: seswin

MIClyde said...

STUDS with a bit of good luck!!

a deep fried banana said...

If I'm reading your body language correctly, you're saying, "Take me to your leader," while pretending to be a robotic based life-form, though that does not completely explain why you're waiting for high water.

Anyways, congratulations!!

How much beer, gas and cash money did you win?

word verification: abble

Walt said...

We made abotu $1500 (total). Not bad, but given that the entry fee was $920, we didn't exactly make out like bandits.

I think we basically broke even after all was said and done. Good enough for me!

Walt said...

Oh, btw, I'm the one in the DeWalt hat and black hoodie. McCalla is the fellow making the weird gesture with his pants rolled up.

kw said...

congrats. that podium picture is the best example of a grassroots team yet.

Ed said...

A team of happy ragamuffins on the podium - awesome! ;-)


a dry roasted almond said...

Not bad, break even is better than break bank.


I didn't know McCalla was hatched from a pod. It's strange, the features are uncanny. Does he act like a Stepford wife?

None the less, brilliant!

word verification: evenchi

Walt said...

Oddly enough, I was mistaken for McCalla TWICE at his wedding last month, and mistaken for "Mike's brother" no less than 5 times at that same event.

Weird. I don't think we look that similar.

Corey said...

So that was YOU ringing the bell at me!

I was in bright orange ICCC kit and on a white Giant Trance. I was kinda looking out for you and some other people I know of from the blogosphere, but it's amazing how once you get out there, the mental focus shifts to just completing the lap.

My first lap was my pre-ride too.

I found the night riding to be awesome and I think I'll volunteer for extra night laps next time!

Walt said...

I think I got to ring the bell for everyone but the Trek guys. I love bells, because they communicate 2 things:
1. I'm nearby and want to pass
2. I'm not a dick

Great on the trails, great at a race like Moab, great on the bike path going to the store. I have 'em on all my bikes.

Corey said...

I have to admit, when I heard the bell, I kind of expected one of the two guys on cruiser bikes to be the ones ringing it...

Mike said...

Congrats! On first look of the podium shot I thought you were the guy in the beanie as well. After reading the comments and going back to look at the picture, it looks nothing like you. You tend to pose funny for pics in general on your blog, sometimes shirtless, and i think we have come to expect a certain level of zaniness from you. well done.

WV: corkma

Walt said...

I'll make sure to make some stupid face or wear an Reagan mask the next time I make the podium. Which will probably be a long time, given how many cookies I've eaten tonight...