The first 12 hours

Mo and I set up our pit and camped out Friday night before the 24 Hours of Round the Clock. We got a optimal spot right on pit row.

Morning of the race I went over my new plan … that is to pace myself and try a new hydration scheme.

After the first lap I was sitting in 11th place 6 minutes off of the lead. #51 Chris Brown the eventual solo single speed winner was in the lead.

Lap 2 I had worked my way up to 9th place just behind Peter Lambros a friend from Missoula. I don’t know how I worked my way up since I wasn’t working at all and just trying to stay at a low zone 3 heart rate. But now we were 10 minutes behind. Vince Haag who would later finish behind me in our age group and 3rd overall was now in the lead with Chris slipping into second.

Lap 3 I stopped for lube to discover I was still in 9th. Mo let me know I was ahead of pace and was doing great. Although this was good news I was frustrated with how slow I was climbing.  But I had to stay in my zone. I was now 14 minutes off the front losing another 4 minutes. It was still to early to start worrying about losing time.

Lap 4 I worked my way up to 7th place as everyone started to find their rhythm. Vince was still in the lead 15 minutes in front. I know full well this is when everyone starts thinking of building a lead with eventual hopes of lapping competitors so I was concerned that everyone would start pulling away. One racer was already lapped. I was super impressed with how well this large group was sustaining this pace and wondered if we were in for a record setting weekend.

Lap 5 I started to hold the distance between the leader Vince Haag and myself at 13 minutes. As a bonus I was now in 6th place and started to feel confident the slow pace would pay off.  But there was something wrong as well. I wasn’t feeling well and it was because I could not get food out of my pocket.  My jersey was like a belly shirt.

Lap 6 I was back to riding with Peter Lambros and we discussed when we would be putting on our lights. I suggested we could get in another lap before we needed to worry about it. By 6:30pm I was standing at my pit totally feeling awful for some reason and started to eat nutrition while standing.  I expressed that it was impossible to eat out on course and the new plan, hydration in the bottle and food in the pocket, was harder then I thought it would be.  On the plus side my stomach felt great and no cramps ever surfaced.  The new hydration was working wonders. I was now in 5th place but had slipped back to a 14 minute gap off of #21 Vince Haag.

Lap 7 7:35pm I was back at the pits and was feeling slightly worse. And I was still not eating on the bike and thought the fueling was the issue.  The results started to show that I was still keeping on pace because I was now sitting in 3rd place but still 14 minutes behind Vince. As we put on my lights Mo suggest she make some quinoa pesto if I wanted for my next pit stop.  I agreed that would be tasty because nothing else sounded good. I passed Peter as he was fumbling to put on his lights and never saw him again.

Lap 8 It was now the lonely night hours and the quinoa that Mo was making started to stabilize my energy. As I gazed into her eyes I could see her concern.  I was starting to look awful.  Now in 2nd place I mounted my bike for another lap a full 16 minutes behind Vince. I was succumbing to the conclusion this guy was going to stay solid and slowly build a lead on me. To make things worse … I couldn’t counter because I was feeling like shit.

Lap 9 I came in right at 10pm to find a concerned pit helper.  She gave me lots of encouragement because I was really doing well.  The results didn’t show it though because Vince had built the lead into 20 minutes. We both agreed this guy was crushing it. The guy was amazing and I was becoming un-amazing.  I think I felt my worst at this time and the results backed me up … back in 4th place.

Lap 10 By 11:21pm I was already done with lap 10 which compared to last year meant I was doing real well.  But the leader board said otherwise on that last lap.

“Just tell me to stop and we will stop this madness”, I told her.

“I can’t do that”

“OK, I better get going then”, and with that I jumped on my bike and rode off into the darkness. … only 5 minutes behind the leader.

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