Friday, June 26, 2009

The "Coolest 24-Hour Race Boggs Mountain": Hurts So Good

(Update: To view Boggs results, click here.)
There are two reasons the trail became strewn with wet spots at night. Well, actually one reason: pee.

But there are two reasons it was on the trail:

1. There's nobody around for hours on end, so why waste time hiding behind a tree?
2. Sticking your bum out into the cold, dark unknown at night is like asking to become a human midnight snack.

The first few night loops, I tried not to stop for too long--just long enough to add purple leg warmers and eat a pb& pretzel sandwich.

Then two things began to sabotage my chances at winning. Big time: A propane heater, and a 5-hour energy.

I found the heater at midnight. Then I didn't want to leave.
I. Hate. Being. Cold.
The terrible thing is, if I had just kept going, I wouldn't have gotten cold; I got cold standing around eating.

Then I took a 5-hour energy--the first I have downed in my entire life, and began chatting. With anyone and everyone who was up and willing to listen to me. I had energy, and I wanted to talk, dammit.

I discovered on my subsequent loop that I was lonely. The excitement of having all of the 8 hour people out there was gone. I saw nary a headlamp for more than half an hour at a time. I wanted to talk to someone. To jump up and down.

My breaks began to get longer as I started to talk to race leaders for other teams, other teammates being staged, random people who couldn't sleep. Coachubby.

To my delight, a drunken crew of 8-hour racers plus coachubby had walked over to the course's only aid station to heckle riders as they passed in the night. I stopped.
"Hey! You're beating this guy's wife!" one said, while coachubby gave me salt pills.
"Dumbass, that is his wife--why else would she be taking pills from him?"
I needed the comical interlude.

My 5 hour energy lasted 4 hours. I ate a Red Bull and kept on going.

Then, the magical loop came: the Dawn Loop. It was beautiful. I would be able to make out at least a silhouette of a mountain lion before it pounced on me. However, I'd have to be more careful about willy nilly bladder emptying--other riders could more easily sneak up on me without lights blaring.

I was re energized. I wanted to keep riding, but my right knee, bless her, was a mess. I started to walk parts of the big ass backside climb like a little sissy. I also started to get technically impaired (not that my technical skills were too great to begin with). I rubbed up on some trees instead of going around them.

Then, I had my one fall of the race: I stuck my foot out to balance a sharp ziggy-zaggy turn, then fell over. (Make that fall number two, after I stepped to the side to let someone pass, then just fell over. Classy.) I checked to make sure nobody saw, then continued through the chute to my almost final lap.

At 8am, I came through the chute. If I didn't stop for too long, I could do two more loops.

Thus began a big, failing brain battle. On the previous loop, I figured I had one more loop left in me. The clock thought differently. So my brain made me take a big, fat break at 8am, for like 20 minutes, essentially making it impossible to squeeze in a loop after 10:30am in my damaged condition.

The bike karma gods were out strong on my last loop. Some male member of a 24-hour team screamed at me to get out of his way while he was bombing through the last technical section. I was pissed--how rude! Every body else for the past 22+ hours had been encouraging and kind.

Just when I was thinking what a d-word that guy was, I came around a corner, and saw him struggling to fix a flat.

Thank you bike karma gods. (He must've been really, really mean earlier, too. I later learned the same guy had crashed and broken his finger, then snapped it back into place himself!)

I rolled in around 10:30am. Done. No more loops--the final one would not count if I did it. Then another woman rolled in behind me--a loop ahead. Bah! Curse the glowy warmth of the propane heater!

I was covered in dirt. My teeth were covered in dirt. My purple leg warmers looked like compression socks on my swollen legs. Life was good.

Except we were in the middle of to get un-covered in dirt?

Coachubby and I drove to a hotel down the road and offered $20 to the maid to let us use the shower, while I hid in the car so she wouldn't see exactly how gross the shower was going to get from my being in it.

We had to skip awards to make the 9 hour trek back to LA.

But the rule of race-to-driving ratio was obeyed; with 22.5 hours of racing and 18 hours of driving, the ratio was greater than 1. Totally worth it.

Who's up for the Tahoe-Sierra 100 Mtb Race September 12th?


  1. You ATE a Red Bull? Like can and all? :D

  2. Hahaha! That's exactly what my husband would say. :D

  3. Great report - fully entertaining as always! Loved the bike karma part! :)