I wanted to do one more race before work started back up for the new school year. Yes, I do work even though some think I don’t do anything but ride bikes. I chose the Ole Bull Midnight Madness 12 Hour Mountain Bike Race due to it being in a location (North Western Pennsylvania) I had never ridden before. I talked Dave Welty into coming with me. We made the 6 hour drive and stayed in the very small town of Cross Forks on Friday night and enjoyed the local vibe for the evening. Saturday morning we made our way up to Ole Bull State Park to set up camp for the 12pm start of the race. Ole Bull is located in a serene wilderness and I mean it is remote. After setting up camp and getting the pit stop filled with supplies for the 12 hour duration, we sorted ourselves and the bikes out. The course was a 13.5 mile lap with 1300 feet of climbing. That is a big lap as most 12 hour lap races tend to be in the 9-10 mile range per lap. I have had a great year racing and the results have been phenomenal and I’m beginning to feel the effects, so I didn’t have big expectations other than riding for 12 hours and enjoying the ride. That being said once the bell rung, I was off racing. My competitive side took over and I was in the zone. In the Ole Bull race they have a King of the Hill competition at the beginning of the race, which is a 3 mile sprint up a mountain. I had no intentions to go for it as I was racing the solo event. Pace control is the name of the game, but as I was settling in I noticed that I was riding at the front with the teams, so I decided what the heck. I went for it and over the 3 miles I was able to reel in the leaders. There was one guy that was leading out front and he had a few hundred yards on me, but I was closing. With about a quarter of a mile from the top I caught him and set on his wheel for a minute or so and when I saw the summit and the timers, I launched my attack and he couldn’t answer. I crossed the top and claimed the King of the Hill title for 2012. Winded from my exertion, I set back and recovered while rolling down the mountain and let the team guys get out front. I settled into my rhythm for the rest of the race and had a ball. The lap was laid out in the fashion of a 3 mile climb that led into a beautifully forested and bumpy single track section spitting you out onto a gravel road section that twisted back into a steep and blazing single track descent back into the finish. Having to do that 3 mile climb every lap was a bruiser. I felt amazing all day and into the night, which surprised me at this time of the year. I never checked to see how I was doing in the standings until I went out on my last lap. My last lap in the dark was a doozy as I slowed considerably after a non-stop effort all day. Amazed after seeing a shooting star shoot out across the Milky Way, I set off to finish up with 108 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing. The win secured, I was off with Dave to hang out a bit and talk about the last 12 hours while enjoying some refreshments. That night it got down into the 40s and I froze, but I did so with a smile. Good Times!
The Ole Bull Midnight Madness was a fun race and it was challenging. Dave ended up taking first in his division, congrats to him. He has been riding with me a good bit this summer when I have been home. His efforts have paid off and it is great to see his success. The Tioga County Riders Association did a great job with the Ole Bull. Thanks to them and the volunteers. Aid Station 1 was awesome and those short bread cookies were the BOMB! Thanks to the Ole Bull State Park Rangers who were ever-present and supportive of the race. Dave and I had a ball the entire time. We were entertained in Cross Forks for sure, cheers Phil. In order to get a room for Friday night we had to drive to the owner’s house and get them to come open up and she did so in a night-gown, awesome. Ole Bull State Park is a beautiful place located just below New York in the western part of Pennsylvania. It has some great trails leading out from it that go on forever in a pristine wilderness. Check it out if you are ever up that way.
My race season has been amazing. This makes 4 wins in a row for me. I’m ready to take a break from racing for a bit. I plan to just ride for a while with no aim or goal other than fun and freedom.