Wednesday, 12 November 2014

25 Hours in Frog Hollow

Dave, Shaun & I loaded up Dave's truck in Fernie and started our road trip to Hurricane, UT. We had a few navigational challenges but eventually made it to our place in Toquerville (great Canadian name) ;-). Andrew & Ryan had already arrived from Jasper and the shenanigans had  begun.

Are we supposed to be in Bozeman?

Salt Lake City stop at Wholefoods

We headed out to the race course on Friday for a lap. It was warm and the course was in pretty good shape. A road climb to begin with some fun descending on Jem Trail. The next section climbed some rock ledges, more descending and a road section back to the transition tent. All up approx. 1100 ft elevation gain and 20 kilometres per lap.

Headed back to the place to do the usual race prep and catch up with the other Canadian racers who had arrived. In total there were eight of us racing solo, all unsupported.

The skies looked ominous race morning and the forecast was looking questionable with rains coming in. After setting up the pit and attending the racer meeting it was time to head to the start line. The Lemans start was fairly civil and before I knew it was on my bike heading up the road climb with Shaun & Ryan in the fore-front. A bit of a bottle neck on Jem Drops but it was smooth sailing after that.

Things were fairly uneventful for laps 1-8. I settled into my pace, grabbing layers and a bottle of Infinit, trying to reduce pit stops. The first main stop was to put on lights.  Mounted Exposure Reflex on the bars and Diablo was ready to go on my spare helmet. I was ready to head back out just as the rain started coming down. That lap was challenging with slippery rocks and sand turning into clay. Arriving back at the pit sat on my cooler for awhile trying to decide if I wanted to go back out. Before I could convince myself to stop,  got back on the Fate and headed out for some more suffering.

The rain eventually stopped and the wind was starting to dry things out nicely. I was getting into my groove again. After Lap #12 stopped at the pit to change my lights and take some layers off. Things were starting to warm up and I didn't want to overheat. I figured I only had a few more night laps and the sun would be coming up. After I left the pit,  looked at my watch and it was only 2:30am! Say what? I guess my timing was a bit of ;-).

Lap #13 is where things got nasty. Halfway into the lap the skies opened up again and this time it was sideways rain and hail on the back end of the course. A full on river was flowing down the trail and I was walking more than riding. My decision to take off my shoe covers and rain jacket was bitting me in the ass! I just wanted to get back to the pit in one piece not hurting myself or destroying my bike. As soon as I got back, jumped right in the truck. I was done!  Over the next hour the rest of the team rolled in and also pulled the pin but Ryan kept going.

Dave's bike - you get the idea
With just over 19 hours of racing  made the decision to stop. Later in the morning found out I was leading for solo women. Whether I would hold my position would depend on if 2nd place went back out. In the end she did and I was bumped to 2nd. Well that sucked but it was the right call at the time and I have no regrets. Of course it was disappointing not to have raced the full 25 hours but sometimes you have to put the podium aside and do what makes sense.

Still freezing!
Smiling even after the sufferfest! 
Solo Women
In the end, Canada represented well with 5 out of 8 athletes getting on the podium. Hats off to Ryan who continued to suffer through all of the elements and ride to a 3rd place finish for solo men.

We spent the next few days having some laughs, eating and trying to find good wine and beer in Utah!

Zion National Park

Getting our pizza on!

The gang outside our place

No comments:

Post a Comment