Saturday, September 16, 2006

24 Hour World Solo Championships 2006

I just finished the 24 hr World Solo Championship in Conyers, GA and wanted to thank all my sponsors that helped make it possible for me to race! It was a brutal race and I was very happy with my 3rd place finish. There were some fast ladies racing this year, probably the strongest competition I have raced against in a 24 hr race.

The 8 mile course consisted of 2 loops that were about 4 miles each. The first loop was fairly smooth single track with mostly rollers. It had 2 steep climbs that were a couple of minutes each. After completing the first loop, the course intersected the field with the pits, which was nice for getting fluids and food. The second loop was much harder, with several short, steep, technical climbs. It was really rough and we had to climb and desend on bumpy, off- camber granite slabs. There were 2 or 3 sections where I got off my bike after the first 6 laps when the course got loser and my legs tired.

My plan was to keep my laps as consistent as possible during the race, and I was hoping that some of the competition would fade during the morning hours. The leaders went out at a fast pace as I predicted. I had a pinch flat on my first lap. It only took a couple of minutes to fix but was still a bit frustrating. Eric and Alex, my awesome pit crew, started out asking what I wanted the first few laps when I came by my pit, but after a while they realized I wasn't planning on stopping. They quit asking and just handed me my other bike so I could switch if needed and always had a new camelbak and bottle of sustained energy ready. The course was so challenging and I was riding so hard it was really difficult to eat. I tried eating a tortilla with eggs, but couldn't chew and breathe at the same time so I reverted to drinking my sustained energy. Before dark I ended up with another pinch flat and asked Eric to pump up my rear tire to 38 psi.

During the night I could feel I was getting a bit weak and realized I needed some solid "food". The only thing I could imagine eating was a Little Debbie Swiss roll, so I went through a whole box of those. That saved my life!! I did throw up once, all over my bike, but it didn't slow me down, I actually felt much better afterwards. Thanks for cleaning the puke off my bike and light Alex.

I never got cold, so I just kept my sleeveless jersey on during the night. When it started to get light again, I passed Monique Sawicki and a few minutes later Katrin van der Spiegel, the Australian national champ. I was still feeling fairly strong and kept putting time on Monique and Katrin to finish in 3rd. Sue Haywood lapped me sometime after dark. She looked incredibly strong and smooth when she passed me.

I ended up with 25 laps. 200 miles with 27,500 feet of climbing in a time of 24 hrs 48 minutes. Thanks to Eric and Alex I never hade to get off my bike during the race. They had everything dialed in perfectly the whole time. Eric was in 2 different spots on the course every single lap, and whatever I needed was always ready! I have never before done a 24 hrs race without getting off my bike for at least a few minutes. I definitely need a little recovery time before going to La Ruta!!

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