18 Hours on the Farm

The season has come to an end. It has been a doozy for sure this year. I have had more success this year than any other since I started racing mountain bikes 4 years ago. The training and dedication paid off. Now it is time for some R&R. I feel it is well deserved. I have started my cross training as winter approaches. Less time on the bike and doing more impact and resistance training. After one week, I’m sore and realize how much I focus just on the bike. I have to remember to mix it up. That being said, I look forward to winter and will start focusing on next year around Christmas as I will amp up the training hours once again and start the journey towards another year filled full of amped up adrenalin and challenge.

Now, time for a summary of a great race to end the season. My buddy, Chris, and I have been doing some duo races this year. We started last year and we are always competitive, but have come up short of the top spot on the last 3 occasions. We always get in first place, but lose it at the end. We have taken second the last 3 times, but this time we showed up to do business. Now, I must say my body is tired and I have drained every ounce of push out over the year, so I was hoping for the best and I knew that I would last the course. Just not sure how fast I could keep it. Chris showed up in good form.

The interesting thing about the 18 Hours on the Farm is that most of the time you are in the dark. Start at 4 pm and end at 10 am the following morning. It also just happened to be the day the time fell back. Shorter days means more dark to play with the spooky ghouls on the trail. I set off and got the hole shot, I don’t know why but I did. I quickly had a jump of the gears and had to jump off and run up a hill. Best thing that happened to me the whole race, because it allowed me a moment to assess my strategy. I realized that I needed to calm down and understand that 18 hours is a long time. Once I had this connection made, I got into a steady rhythm that I was able to do the rest of the race. Because of the gear skipping I was encountering on the bike, I switched out to my second bike. On my second lap I was jamming and burning. What the heck….my pedal fell off a half mile into the 9 mile lap. Crap, crap, crappp…. Ok, just pedal the best you can and I did for the next 8 miles on a toothpick spindle and still managed a decent lap time. So it goes, I usually never have a mechanical. Two in one race, I guess I was due. We had a competitive field in the Men’s Duo. As the race progressed we managed a top 3 ranking. Eventually through the night we creeped right up into first and held it to the end. It got really cold out there at the Farm, which is near Richmond. Best I heard, it got down to 30 degrees. Our secret weapon was our main man, Trevor, who runs support like no other. He had us hot soup ready and a warm truck to get in and dry our clothes out and warm up. Like I said it was cold out there and when you’re jamming you sweat. When you stop and that cold sets in on that sweat, you get down right frigid. The course was a windy, rooty and fun 9 mile loop with a 1000 feet of climbing. It was also wet due to some rain earlier in the week. This made sections of the lap sloppy and you had to drive hard and keep your eyes on the trail at all times. When it was all said and done, Chris and I knocked out 17 laps in 16 hours (153 miles and 17,000 feet of climbing). We built a lead up through the night and were able to stop early. We stayed steady and efficient all night long and that led us into a lead that the others couldn’t match. I’m very proud as we finally broke the 2nd rung we have been stuck on the last year. The management put on a good event and had one heck of a breakfast for us at the awards ceremony. We stood up hands high and took our check with smiles.

That brings 2011 to an end for racing. I want to thank Trevor, who has helped pull support all year-long for me. I credit him for keeping me rolling and supplied with what I need. Without him, I wouldn’t have had the success I had this year. Like I always say, it is who you surround yourself with that makes the difference in success being achieved or not. Thanks to Chris for being a true warrior and cranking it out with focus in every race. It paid off brother.

It is time for having fun during the holidays now. I plan to ride my dirt bike, shoot guns and watch college football. Yeah, I will train, but for a while I will take it easy. More to come as I start to formulate my winter and spring training plan. Over the next month or two, I should have an idea of the races I will take on next year. Even though I’m tired and ready for rest and recovery, I can’t wait to start another race season. I love it, I truly do.

Cheers

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