My first official race of the year turned out to be a humdinger. I joined up with two of my fellow peers (Tony and Dave) at the Blue Ridge School. We competed as a 3 man relay team at the 12 Hours of Lodi Mountain Bike Race. We loaded up and took off to Fredericksburg, VA on Saturday morning. After taking a few wrong turns led by Tony, we arrived at the Lodi farm and began setting up the Team Crank casa. We set up initially in the shade, but that would soon fade bringing a heat wave that sapped everyone attending the race. The temps at the start were 90+ and none of us were prepared for the beating the heat would throw at us. After the casa was up and the music going, we began our strategy phase. We sat at the round table eating Snicker bars and decided that I would lead off and get us up in the front. From there we would alternate laps, which meant 2 hours rest for each in between individual laps. Sounded good and in the end it worked out well. I was late getting in the line up, but was able to squeeze into the top 25 on the line out of 100 or so. The prologue was tight and everyone was trying to squeeze one more place in and finally we were released and I put the hammer down. I entered the single track ready to fly and due to good positioning I was able to do so. I passed 15 or more riders on the first lap getting us in the top 10 overall and a sub hour lap, which is good at Lodi. Lodi is a fun place to ride, but it is rooty as all get out with short technical climbs that punch you in the face. Handing off the baton to Dave, he blasted out putting in a good lap. Tony did the same on his first lap. The heat started taking its effect on us as none of us are acclimatized to it at this point in the year. We pushed on and kept ourselves hydrated and fed. We kept our momentum, while only losing a few minutes per lap. I was feeling good about where we were, especially as I mention again the HEAT. Night approached and we donned the lights. We knew as long as we kept our momentum going, we would be on the podium. However, things began to change towards the end of the 10th lap. I was cruising along enjoying my spot light as it lit a path almost as bright as the sun. I was about a 1.5 miles out from the finish and hopped over a log, but I didn’t hop over a log. My bike just sat on top of it teetering on the bottom bracket. I jump off look down and my rear derailleur is hanging in a not so common fashion. Crap…Crap……..Run, Run, Run. I began an awkward run if you call it a run as I tried to carry my bike through the mud and up hill. It was more like falling forward stumbling and trying to regain balance constantly. When these things happen, you tend to panic and over analyze the situation. Once my heart rate got up so high that I had to stop, I realized ok dummy, calm down. I finished my run-hobble to the finish and passed the baton to Dave for our 11th lap. I began to clean up and hang out with Tony. We started guessing if we would still be on the podium. I had only lost 15 minutes while having to run 1.5 miles with the bike. We felt good and Dave had left at 11:15 on his final lap, as long as he rode smart and steady we should be fine. Tony and I hung out a bit with our neighbor racers enjoying their hospitality. Eventually, we decided to go to the finish and welcome Dave in for a good day’s effort of racing. As we hung out and chatted with the other racers eating pizza and such, we noticed the time and started figuring Dave would be in at any moment. That was at 12:30 a.m. Oh well, soon. 12:45…..no Dave, thats weird. 1:00…..something could be going on, he will be fine. 1:10…… I hope he is ok. 1:15 and Dave comes running up the trails carrying his bike. I greet him on the straight away and run with him to the finish. He had been running for several miles after he CRACKED his frame. Yes, two bikes broken and at least 4-5 miles of running with them. After all of this epic battling we were rewarded with a solid podium finish. It was a heck of a race and the guys showed up and layed it down. We hung out recounting our adventures of the day with others and each other. It was epic indeed and HOT. Great way to start the year off. Cheers to Tony and Dave for a phenomenal effort out there. Thanks to Blue Ridge School for supporting us.
We left Lodi to go eat breakfast after we attempted to sleep through the rest of the morning. Did I mention that it was hot and humid? We let Dave lead the way and he missed the turn. We ended up in downtown Fredericksburg as a running race was taking place. Great……….after several confusing turns and twists on one-way streets we made our way out of the city to arrive at IHOP. The omelets were delicious. We parted ways feeling great about our racing and with the notion that we will show up next year and do it again. Hopefully, without the wrong turns and broken bikes.
I hope to have some pics and video up soon.
Until next time.