b2ap3_thumbnail_P7270001.JPGThe Wausau 24, one of the most iconic of all mountain bike races. Superbly managed, the event attracts riders from across the nation. It boasts several categories that seem to entice all ranges of athletes, from the "first timer" to the seasoned pro. I'd be racing the 12 hour solo (geared) division, a race I'd entered 3 times in the past.

great post to read I came to Wausau this year with one goal I'd talk about and one goal I'd keep to myself. The goal I felt comfortable sharing with my wife Amy was the one that said, "I want to be on the podium". The one I kept to myself was the one I thought about the most, "I want to WIN".  

24 heures annonces rencontre Wausau's 12 hour race is different than most 12 hour formats. In fact, it should be called the 12 Hour, ahh, possibly 13 Hour. You see, if you cross the start/finish line a few minutes or even 1 second before the 12th hour strikes you're obligated to another lap, which could mean you're gonna be out there for another hour, thus the 13 hour race. In years past I'd been so wasted at the end of the day that I chose to sit out in front of the finish line until the clock passed the 12 hour mark, only then did I roll across the line. I just didn't have it in me to go turn that one more lap. This year would be different. I embraced the thought of riding 13 hours, I would not shy away from the potential leg ripping extra lap, I kind of wanted it. Sick, I know. Experience has taught me that the thought of that "extra" lap has brought better men than me to there knees. If that man was out in front of me I hoped he'd succumb to the pain that Wausau's course can bring when faced with what would most likely be a 14th trip around.

my company The chaos of the LeMans start was exactly what I expected. Patience was the name of the game as riders fought for their place in a maze of single track. I kept telling myself that it was going to be a long day, there'd be plenty of time for everyone to find out where they belonged in this sea of riders and talent. I soft pedaled through the first 3/4 of lap one until things opened up a bit and I could get into a bit of a rhythm, but it wouldn't come. The grey, drizzly, cool day kept my legs tight and they just wouldn't seem to open up. I was twitchy and uncontrolled, I felt awkward on my bike. "I'm hideous, look away", I thought as I bounced off rocks and roots that I would usually easily navigate around. I hoped it wouldn't stay that way. Approximately two and a half hours in I began to feel smooth and actually thought I might resemble a mountain bike rider. "The legs have finally warmed up", I thought. Now, I all I had to worry about was nutrition, fluids, and consistent lap times.

moved here The laps seemed to be hovering around 55 minutes, not the fastest on the course, but acceptable to me. I figured that if I could stay in the neighborhood of just under an hour per lap I'd be doing just fine. However, as the miles begin to pile up the lap times become harder and harder to maintain. Also, the sense of urgency to hold a specific pace begins to fade as the mind becomes just as fatigued as the legs. Somehow the importance of staying on top of one's game doesn't seem to be that big of a deal as the 65th mile turns into the 85th. I fought the demons and did my best to keep them at bay while I let my mind slip into complete simpleton form. The complexity of my life had turned into that of a clam's as I turned over the cranks and did my best to flow through the gorgeous single track that is 9 Mile State Park. "You have nothing to worry about right now except this trail and this bike under you." I told myself. A smile crept across my face as my Spearfish and I became one. I was enjoying every moment and I felt as if I was getting FASTER!b2ap3_thumbnail_P7270004.JPG

fragen zum kennenlernen lustig 6:00 p.m. and I'd been riding for 8 hours nonstop. Approaching my pit I wondered if Amy would be there. It's not that I expected her to be, but her smiling face sure would be nice, I thought. The fact is, I encouraged her to leave the venue. I know that sounds cold, but without her there the temptation to stop and take a break is removed as is the feeling of guilt that I can get knowing that she's just sitting there while I ride round and round.

recherche femme pour amitie A good feeling came over me when I approached the Salsa tent and saw her wave to me. I pulled in for a couple second stop. She informed me that I looked strong and that I was currently running in 2nd position. I down played my excitement at the news. I wanted to keep a cool head as I knew the race was just about to heat up. Steve Yore, my Dirty Kanza "roomie" was in the 12 hour solo and I was certain he was the leader. Steve has a huge motor and is possibly one of the nicest, down to earth guys you'd ever meet. I wasn't sure I could beat him, but I had to try. I left the pit and the desire to linger there behind me. Just then a rider passed by and yelled something to me I couldn't understand. Something about somebody being 10 minutes up on us or behind us, I wasn't sure. I chased this mysterious rider down and quizzed him on what he knew about how the race was shaping up. "You and I are in 3rd and 4th right now, 1 and 2 are 10 minutes up on us...that's what my girl friend just told me." "Huh", I thought. That didn't seem to jibe with what Amy reported. My mind was clouded now with the simplicity of my new life, I didn't know what to believe. The young fit rider in front of me was full of energy and asking what he must have thought to be a cagey old veteran a lot of questions. "What do you think we should do? Should we go try to catch them? Should we just maintain?" "Calm down grass hopper", was my silent reply. "I think we maintain", I told him. "Maybe they'll crack, I'm riding about as hard as I want to right now." I liked how smooth this kid looked in the single track. I remember liking the look of his white bike also. But, something was missing. I felt I had a little more speed in me. I wondered if we were going too slow. Soon we popped out into a wide grassy "road" section. I decided to take over the lead of our little two-some. I ground up a gradual climb and felt him come off my rear wheel. Then, without any conscious thought it began to happen. A glance to my GPS told me that it was 6:15 p.m., just under 4 hours left in the race or maybe 5. I began to ride harder. Soon the kid was gone and I was all alone again. I wondered if it was too early, but it was too late now, the attack had begun. I was running scared. I didn't want to get bumped out of a podium spot and if Amy was right and his girl friend was wrong I may not be running scared, but rather chasing. Chasing Steve!

The results board and Amy's report to me were all I could think about. "She has to be right! She's been looking at those things for years, she knows what she's doing." I started to believe that it was the case, I was in 2nd position and I had 1/3 of the race left to WIN.

My lap times stayed right in the wheelhouse I'd established early in the day. I took pride in how close of a group I was creating with the times. Night began to fall and a decision to put my lights on earlier than later proved to be a good one. I thought about how Steve would have to stop to deal with the addition of lights while I'd still be riding. The legs that had held up so strong all day were beginning to give way to the demands of the trail. They were shaky and rubbery as I begged them to hang on. Calories became the name of the game as I did my best to make up time on the course where ever I could.

Complete and utter darkness was all around me now and I was taking unnecessary risks in the trail. "You're going to hit a tree, be careful", I said more than once out loud, but the devil on my shoulder told me, "You're catching him, keep it up!". That's exactly what I did. I was out riding my lights on the wide open grassy descents, hitting speed above 30 mph. I didn't care as I put it all on the line.

One lap to go! I flew past my pit to see Amy one more time out of her chair with a look of intensity on her face. Her look told me that she knew what I was doing. I yelled to her that I couldn't stop and that I had "One more to go!" I vowed to not get passed by anyone on that last lap, not even a 4 person team rider. I must have looked behind me 100 times during those 56 minutes, determined not to get caught by anyone. The sections of the course I came to love were coming to a close now and I was on the home stretch. I had it up in a big gear, hoping against hope that Steve would be around the next bend.

Steve never showed up, but the finish line did. Amy greb2ap3_thumbnail_P7280009.JPGeted me and gave me the news, "Steve finished just under 3 minutes ago, you took 20 minutes out of him in the last 4 hours." It felt good knowing that I gave it my best. I wasn't bothered by missing the top spot by such a short amount of time. There's something about finishing a race knowing that you gave it everything you had that feels just like winning.