Since then I’ve grown a little crazier and I decided that for my first 24 hour race, I ought to go at it solo. I signed up about 4 months ago for the 24 Hour Round and Round in Spokane, Washington, and then proceeded to start a new full-time job while pursuing a master’s degree. “Training” has consisted of getting out for short rides a few times a week. My main goal for the race would just have to be to get a good work out and have a good time. Or at least that’s what I told everyone who asked about my training and strategy. But I had lots of other goals in my head that I was secretly hoping to attain.
Lap 2. The congestion began to thin out and I kept riding.
Lap 3. Each lap was about 13 miles, with 700 feet of climbing. I was grateful that it was a cool, overcast day. But I was starting to ache in various places and I wondered if I’d made a mistake by not wearing a chamois.
Lap 4. Hanger. It’s not just a 6 letter word. It’s a feeling.
Lap 5. Bacon and egg rice cakes. And cola flavored electrolyte tabs! Oh my. Food occupied a lot of space in my thoughts.
Lap 6. I started to re-evaluate some of my numerous goals. My first and foremost goal was to still be riding my bike at noon the following day. That still seemed attainable. One of my other (secret) goals was to complete 16 laps, which would put me right at about 200 miles. 6 laps in, that started to sound unrealistic in my head (which was aching).
Lap 7. I started to feel warmed up and settled into a pleasantly painful rhythm as the sun set on the course and thick, dark clouds rolled in.
Lap 8. It was dark when the sprinkles started. The rain smelled sweet on the pines and the course emptied out substantially. Just me and my Joplin riding through the rain in the dark woods. It was lovely.
Lap 9. I gave up on my goal of riding the whole race without a nap and planned to take a short siesta after the following lap.
Lap 10. It was dark and properly raining. I helped a big dude on a little bike who had a flat. Karma points! No siesta needed.
Lap 12. Birds started chirping and the sun started to make a glow on the horizon as the rain clouds dissipated. My stomach was doing cartwheels. I laid down in the van for a 45 minute refresher nap. Two hours later I was cold and cranky and it was hard to get moving again. When I finally did, I felt energized and…invincible?
Lap 13. I mentally revisited my goals and decided that 16 laps was still achievable, even if the podium wasn’t. I rode as hard as my weak little legs could go. I would really have to leave it all out there to get to 16 laps.
Lap 14. Still felt good. No regrets about no chamois. The karma must have helped.
Lap 15. I needed to get to the venue and timing tent by 11:59 in order to head out for one more lap. It was going to be very close. At this point, I knew how long each segment took me and my heart sunk when I rolled past the Stone Temple section sign at 11 minutes til noon. There was no way I was going to make it. I decided that 15 laps was a solid workout, which was my “public” goal and it wasn’t nothing. Then I started looking forward to being done and to French fries and ice cream. Sad as I was about not hitting 200 miles, I did my best to feel optimistic about my first 24 hour race.
Lap 16. Oops- I misread the analog clock on my stem cap. It was only 11:00!!! I had time to eat and stretch AND go out for one more lap! My last lap was real slow. My husband, Matt came out with me for support and we chatted a lot while I struggled to make my noodley arms hold onto the bars. I was pretty sleepy and bonking real hard on that last lap. I’m glad that I left it all out there, surpassed the 200-mile mark and finished in 4th place.