Friday, November 16, 2012

25 Hours in Frog Hollow Solo: 3rd Place

25 Hours in Frog Hollow was fast and in hindsight, I should have raced it faster. I ended with 21 laps, good for 273 miles, 23K of climbing, and finished in 25 hours, 34 minutes and unsupported. I’m still having difficulty emptying the tank on 24 solos. I had a 1:07 last lap which was my 5th fastest lap and explains what direction I will be taking my training regimen…power and confidence. I always have the next race to get it together, 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.  I’m beginning to collect the tools to start applying more structured and measured training. Actually, any structure whatsoever would be more than I’ve had in years. For kicks, I did my first set of 3X20’s on a commute from work on the Thursday following the race. I’ve kept going out for rides since then to find the bottom, but it’s as if I’m already recovered. As always, I’ll take everything my legs give me.

If there is a race that I hold closest to my heart, 25 Hours in Frog Hollow is it. Cimarron Chacon, race organizer for Gro-Promotions, consistently presents a fantastic race venue with a friendly race atmosphere in one of the most gorgeous places in the world. The Mount Zion National Park is the back drop. That’s ridiculous. During the race, I remember taking mental snapshots of the sunset against Mount Zion and hoping I didn’t crash because I couldn’t peel my eyes off how unreal it was. I told myself that when the night is long, I have the sunrise to look forward to. It proved to be the greatest sunrise I’ve ever experienced. With mechanicals aside, it certainly helped to have the best witching hour laps of my life, so I had that going for me.

The course, located in Virgin, Utah was ultra fast this year, blue groove fast. The best trail of all, the Gem Trail, is a euphoric experience every single time. If you don’t know, then you need to take a look for yourself. It’s insane and I got to rail it 21 times and it never grew old. Racing is so much fun at Frog Hollow, it just doesn’t ever seem to hurt as much as the other 24’s. Do I need to mention that I’ll be back next year?! Whether I do the 24 Hour Solo World Championships next year or not, three weeks is plenty of time to travel back to the States and race like hell. 

Unfortunately, mechanicals continue to be a critical issue still. This time around, my fork was so packed up by 10pm at night that I raced the next 13 hours with literally an inch of sticky travel. Luckily, I’ve experienced this issue with my fork all year so I’ve become accustomed to it. I also experienced a broken spoke on both rear wheels by 4am so to compensate with the issues and for the rest of the race, I switched the pro pedal off to lean the bike back a bit and tip toed around the technical terrain that threatened the life of my wheel. I now know to adjust my 24 hour race template to include three wheelsets and two forks. Lesson learned. I have a secondary race bike from the Golden Bike Shop on the way so hopefully that’ll alleviate these issues. As always, thanks to Bo, Matt, Dane, and Taylor at GBS for helping me find the right bike for training!

Being nearly two weeks removed I am finding it difficult to provide a play by play of the race. It all seems to become a blur after the race and I swear I have a short term memory when it comes to racing. Maybe it’s because the day after the race, I had started focusing on the next 24 hour solo. Hell, I recall that I was thinking about 24 Hours in the OP on my last lap. By now, I’m identifying errors and corrections for winter training and racing the next 24. 3rd Place was nice but I’m not exactly going to the races to lose. Congrats to Mark Wallace for getting 2nd place and to Andy Wiedrich for hauling ass and snagging the top spot. It was great to race against those guys and it was pretty awesome that the podium racers all lived within 45 minutes of each other. It was bizarre that none of us passed each other during the race so it seemed that our standings had been established within the first several hours of the race.

The most dominating thought that lingers from this race is the question “Why didn’t I go faster?” I have no idea what I was waiting for. As if I was going to die from racing my bike too fast (actually that is a possibility, see the film 24Solo and you'll know what I mean). Maybe it’s because I’m so far removed from the race that the memory of how much suffering was involved is completely erased. But the thing is, I know that for the entire duration of the race, I had very little build up of lactic acid in my legs which brings me back to the question, “Why the hell didn’t I go faster?” Am I pacing for a 30 hour race? I’m not leaving everything on course which is a problem that will need to be addressed. Again, 24 Hours in the OP.

I’m going to the Philippines Sunday for a couple weeks to see my brother, so I couldn’t be more excited! There is no place I’d rather be than to be a spectator in the stands and watch him play. This will be the “off season” since I really don’t have a choice but to eats tons of sushi like it’s candy J and watch my brother kill it in the Philippine Basketball Association for the Petron Blaze Boosters. When I return, I'll throw a leg over the new bike and power meter for a heavy but very fun volume of winter training on canyon roads and finding clean trails wherever I can.

In closing out the last race of a solid 2012 season, I'd like to thank Candlepower Technology with their amazing lighting system, the TT1800. It puts me in the position to go fast during the night laps and removes me from the mercy of a poorly performing lighting system. Maxxis for supporting me in 2012 and 2013 with, hands down, the best racing tire on the market, the Maxxis Ikon. Nothing rails better than this tire while providing superior durability. Honey Stinger for their waffles and new organic gels which I use extensively in training and racing. I have fortunately been able to dial and schedule my intake during the 24 hour solos and these two products have provided an answer to avoiding GI stress and minimizing the race menu to only a few necessary products. Some racers like variety but I've learned lately that all I need is a few, select options. Also, Ergon for making products that fit the rider instead of the rider having to fit to the product. I couldn't imagine racing a solo without the Ergon GS2 grips. These grips allow for several hand positions and enough platform to minimize hand numbness even during the longer races. Thank you to Stan's NoTubes for the support this year and hopefully, I'll be back on board in 2013! I need me some indestructible wheels for training like the Flow EX's! Of course, thank you to the employees at Golden Bike Shop for being my bike's hospital and for the fantastic hospitality each time at the shop! Most of all, thank you to friends and family for the support along the way! I may have gone unsupported but it takes a village to get to the start line and is a massive boost of confidence when you know others are cheering for you and awaiting your results.

Thanks for reading!