Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Race Report: The Bucket List does 24 Hours of Moab.

The 24 Hours of Moab is one of those classic races that you have to do to call yourself a mountain bike racer.  For its 16 years of existence, it has been held in a valley called Behind the Rocks south of Moab. The really crazy people attempt to do the race solo, other only mildly insane people get teams of between 2 and 5 people to race as a relay.  The person or team completing the most laps in each category wins.  Drew had done this race about 10 years ago, but had a less than great experience.  Our good friend Jim has had this race on his bucket list for many years, and secretly, so have I, so when Jim started talking back in January about getting a team together, we were game.   Our Revolution Peak Fasteners teammate and friend Steve was in, and we recruited my cousin-in-law Christian from Loveland, Colorado.  Our team name: The Bucket List.

Drew and I headed down on Thursday.  We had expected to be driving Bobke, our VW Westy camper van but once again, he was not ready. Instead, we took our trusty Toyota. We stayed at Christian and Milissa's condo in Moab, since ours was rented out.  Friday we packed up early to get out to the race venue.  We staked out and raked out our camp spot. 

and made a makeshift bed in the bed of the truck.

 It was really quite comfortable, although the cramped head space made it a little bit hard to change into race gear.  The weather was great as we did some bike maintenance.

After we held the fort down for most of the afternoon, Christian came out to pre-ride the race course with us.  Below is a picture of Drew and Christian (left of the green bush) riding on course.

 Here are some racers testing their skills on one of the technical sections, of which the first 6 miles was full.
 But the last 9 were a mix of this kind of sandy road

and more mellow slickrock.  The race course was not as bad as I remember when Drew and I rode it for fun a few years ago, but then I wasn't thinking of it with a race in mind back then.

Steve and Jim showed up at the camp while we were out riding.  After a pre-race preparation beverage for some of us, we headed into Moab to have a super delicious homemade dinner of pad Thai made by cousin Milissa at the condo. It was so great to have our fill of race fuel and not have to deal with the crowded restaurants!

Back out to the "campground" for a restful night's sleep and up with the sun to do some final race preparations.

The race started at noon; Jim elected to go first.  The start involved about 325 solo riders and teams in a LeMans start, running about 100 yards around a bush and back to the tent again before they picked up their bikes and headed out on course.  Massive mayhem.

LeMans start of the 16th annual 24 Hours of Moab.  La Sal Mountains in background. Photo by Lyna Saffel.

Here is a video of the craziness, which included a gorilla, superman, and a guy with a penguin on his head.

Jim turned in a 1 hour, 29 minute lap; pretty good considering the run and all the traffic he had to deal with.  Steve was next up, doing well with 1:21.  The transition from rider to rider at this race was well run and efficient.  Here is a video of Steve coming into the timing tent, clocking out, and handing off to Christian. 

Christian also turned in a great time on his first lap of 1:21.  After those three, we were in 10th place in our category of 27 teams!

I was next, heading out for my first lap at 4:12 PM. 
 I felt reasonably good and turned in a time of 1:30.  I think we were in about 12th place at this point.

Now the hard part.  Drew went out as dusk was approaching.

 Night riding is by far more difficult than day riding.  Even though we have good handlebar and headlights, depth perception is not what it is in the daylight. Technical sections are challenging! 
The night laps are definitely the hardest, but since when has "hard" stopped Drew Diesel Jordan?  Drew finished his first lap in the dark in a time of 1:26.

Why this race has to take place in October, when the nights are long and chilly, I don't know.  Jim, Steve and Christian each did their first night lap in under 1:35.  I went out for my night lap starting at around midnight and it took me 1:52. Sheesh! Talk about a scardy cat. I walked almost all the technical sections; I just couldn't make myself go fast enough to have enough momentum to clear the obstacles. I didn't check our standings after my dismal time, but by morning, we were down to 15th place. Drew went out after me and posted a time of 1:38 and finished at about 3:30 AM.  Then the rotation started again in the deepest darkest part of the night.  Jim and Steve each did about a 1:45 before Christian headed out for the sunrise lap, clocking a 1:29. I went out for my last lap starting at about 8:30 AM. It was chilly when I started the lap - probably about 50 degrees, but it warmed up quickly. I turned in a pretty good time of 1 hour 39 minutes considering I (1) was out of shape, (2) was slightly sleep deprived and (3) had done 30 miles already in the previous 20 hours. I was glad to roll into the timing tent one last time.
Photo by Milissa Melle.
After I came in, Drew went out for our team's last lap.  The rest of the team had turned in their timing cards.  Jim was ready for some relaxing.

Photo by Lyna Saffel.
 But Drew had other ideas.  As he came in with an awesome time of 1:28 to all our cheers and jeers,

Photos by Lyna Saffel.
he went out again for a 4th lap! He said he felt good and couldn't let 25 minutes of time click off the clock without racing.  The way these races work is that any member of your team can start another lap up until 12:00 noon.  He had come in at 11:34 AM. If we had stopped and any team behind us had gone out for a 16th lap after that, they would have passed us in the standings.  Drew was determined to hold our middle-of-the-pack standing!

His second straight lap took him 1:37, not bad considering he'd run out of food and water.  He finally finished up The Bucket List's run of the 24 Hours of Moab at 1:11 PM.  We did a total of 16 laps or 238 miles and climbed over 21,000 feet in 25 hours 11 minutes. Time to celebrate!

The Bucket List. L to R: Lucy, Christian, Steve, Jim, Drew

We all chilled out for a while, then headed back to the condo for another delicious meal of burritos and ice cream while we watched Race Across the Sky, a movie about the Leadville 100 mtb race.

Monday, after breakfast, all of us including Milissa rode on Sovereign Singletrack. It is such a fun trail, but most of us just weren't into it after that ordeal. We cut the ride short and headed for home.

All in all, it was a great time, but I'm glad to say I can cross that one off my bucket list!

1 comment:

  1. Nice work! Looks like you had a blast. Wish I could have been there to cheer you on.