1200 Miles & a Cup O' Dirt & a little Mississippi Mud!

Take the year long challenge of completing a dozen or half a dozen dirty centuries and join the fun in December! Everybody who completes this challenge will be rewarded with a custom hand-made stoneware mug as well as be in a drawing for other prizes. Read the FAQ for details, and welcome to the fun!

I've increased the fun to give some more folks a shot at the cup - a bit 'watered down' - We'll have the 1200 Mile Cup O' Dirt and a 600 Mile Cup O' Mississippi Mud and new in 2008 is the 1/2 Liter O' Dirt - earned by completing 12 metric centuries in the year! A special award will be presented to anyone completing either a dirty century or metric century in each month of the year.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Yikes! That was HARD!

Well, I mustered up another full hundy - but it took a toll on my body!

I signed up for the 24 hour race at Seven Oaks over Labor Day weekend - and I was kinda hoping to win the dang thing - knowing Squirrel won it on 14 laps last year, and also knowing that he wasn't racing this year - I thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd have a shot at the cool grand o' cash! My other objective was to get 100 miles in - after all, being married, with 3 kids, 3 businesses and all that -it's not often I'm given the gift of 24 solid hours just to go ride my bike - better take advantage of it!

Gun goes off in the sunny heat of high noon and the scramble for the bikes begins - I find myself with about 10 riders in front of me as we enter the single-track... and I know of only 1 who is a 24Hr soloist... causing me to think I'm in 2nd!

I roll around a few laps. Rolling around is too nice a word to describe the trail of Seven Oaks. If you love hard, technical singletrack with lots of 3-5 stroke hills (you know, those ones that take 3-5 hard strokes to muscle up over the top) - you'll love Seven Oaks! It is 8 miles of pure singletrack - no breaks for water, food or just to rest your butt or hands - all work, all the way!

Anyway - it gets to be mid afternoon, about 3:30 and I stop for a refuel and say to my beautiful bride, Dee "I think I'm in 2nd!"

As I am on the last quarter of my next lap, 3 guys roll up behind me. "You guys are riding strong!" I yell back, "What're you riding?" "24 solo" was the reply from Jesse Bergman. "The two guys behind me are 24 solo too."

Crap. I'm in 5th, at best, now - a full lap down on the top 3. Well - there goes my hope of winning the danged thing. My strategy then changes to get 12 laps in, which, with the quarter lap start and some extra rolling around after the race, would give me 100 miles.

I rode at an easy pace - not wanting to succumb to the heat that took it's toll on so many other riders - just wanting to make it to dark in good shape. I took a half hour break about 7 or 7:30 for some dinner, then back out at 8, just as dusk was settling in. I needed full lights as soon as I entered the woods - and had an enjoyable lap in the dark. I had been keeping my laps right on an hour, with a short break to refuel and refill the bottles. I ate a 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich or banana after every lap, along with a swig of Mtn. Dew. On the bike I had one Powergel each lap and would drink about 2/3 of a large bottle of Powerbar Endurance, plus 1/2 a small bottle of water every lap. This seemed to work, as I never felt even a hint of bonk.

The only thing that I really felt was just pure, simple fatigue. Tired. Those 3-5 strokers really get to you. The roots, ruts, rocks and bumps really get to you. My wrists seemed to be taking it the hardest. It got to the point that I had to hold on to my bars via the bar-ends, and only held the grips if I needed to use the brakes (which is alot!). As time wore on - my wrists really gave me the most trouble.

At 9:20pm, I did a fun lap with Kim Hopkins. Kim wanted to do a full lap in the dark, but wanted company. I was happy to oblige. It was fun. I kept her in front of me, so to keep her flooded in my light as well as hers. That was good, cuz at one point her light went out! Yikes! Light restored we continued our lap. As we came down into 'camp' I rode by the MOB squad - who yelled "HEY MABLE! CAN YOU BUNNY HOP?" "Yep." I came around the corner and Kyle Sedore was lying down across the trail! Bunny hop, yes. But over a human (I use that term loosely!)at 10:40pm, after 66 miles of Seven Oaks!?!? "DON'T MOVE!!!" I yelled, as I picked up the speed needed to clear him - JUMP! Up and over - I, thankfully, cleared him! I can not believe he did that, but I am glad I made it!

It was a fun lap - but my fatigue was setting in - and with 8 laps behind me - I decided a long break was in order - plus the midnight chairlift rides and pasta party were looming just ahead! I checked on the results and I was in 4th, as Charlie Tri dropped out. I thought that was cool, but I still went to bed, falling to sleep about 2am.

I woke up at dawn... ate and dressed... and checked the results. 7th. rats. Well, If I ride a lap, I'll move up to 6th. No matter what - one more guy was done, so If I get a lap in, I'll move up. I didn't really care. I had 100k in, and that'd count for the Cup (rather, Half Liter)... but Dee says "Well, YOU signed up for the 24 Hour race, not the 12." Geez. She's right. OK -she talked me into getting on my bike and doing at least one lap. By the end of that lap, I felt great and went for another, doing my fastest lap of the race - 55 min. I did two more, right on an hour, and got my full 12 laps in. Rode around the gravel road for a bit to get my 100 in- and I was DONE!

100 miles of Seven Oaks - that is by far one of the hardest 100 miles I've ever done - and I ended up 6th/16. I'm pretty happy with that- I could have done maybe one or two more, but that's about it. Jesse, Andrew, Matt, who each did 16, 18 and 15 laps, respectively, My hat is off to you! That's guts and discipline! Congratulations to them, and everyone else who took on the singletrack of Seven Oaks.

Now, it's time to re-hab my wrist in time for Chequamegon. My left wrist has swollen and it hurts to hold/lift stuff. It'll be OK - I'll freakn tape the thing and we'll make it through Chequamegon in 2 weeks - even if I need a cast when I'm done!!!

Thanks for reading - and anyone else wants me to post their Seven Oaks stories, send em my way!! dave@all9yards.com

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