Tag Archives: 24 hours

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo: Take 2

“He knew how to handle pain. You had to lie down with pain, not draw back away from it. You let yourself sort of move around the outside edge of pain like with cold water until you finally got up your nerve to take yourself in hand. Then you took a deep breath and dove in and let yourself sink down it clear to the bottom. And after you had been down inside pain a while you found that like with cold water it was not nearly as cold as you had thought it was when your muscles were cringing themselves away from the outside edge of it as you moved around it trying to get up your nerve. He knew pain.”
― James JonesFrom Here to Eternity

My second night lap was not as good as my first. I hadn’t slept and I was hopped up on all kinds of chemicals. I had laid in the tent listening to Timmy breathe while my heart was racing. It was early in the AM (I can’t remember the time exactly…1:30?) and I was anxious to hit the trail and work whatever this was out of my system.

I had more than enough lights this time around thanks to Gary and Dennis. The pressure was on since we were in a solid 5th place, but 4th place had taken a bad lap and we were currently in 4th place. We weren’t sure we could maintain it, but we wanted to try.

I flew through the night, catching and passing far more than I was passed. The lap was almost a memory when my stomach decided it had had enough abuse. I don’t know if it was the diet, the drugs, the hernia acting up or what, but the last 3 miles it was all I could do to keep pedaling, wheels on the trail, and not throw up.

The nausea came in waves, over and over, assaulting me! What had I done? I was so very very ill. What did this mean for my team? How slow was I going now, barely able to push the pedals?

The truth was- I was sick. But I also came in very close to my previous night lap time. Where the sickness was slowing me down, it was similar to riding behind light dude on the previous lap. It was just fascinating to observe how quickly I went from sailing to dying. Not my typical M. O.

I did something unheard of; I skipped the rock drop at the end. It was a shame, but I could barely think and didn’t want to risk injury, and thus insult. It was good to finally be done.

When I got back to camp it was obvious to those who were awake that I was ill. Tappin was woken up to prep for his lap (the order was Gary, Me, Troy, Tappin, Jake…repeat), and he was so kind to me- saying if I couldn’t do the next lap they would re-arrange the order to accommodate.

Dennis tried to help, but there wasn’t much to be done. I went back to the tent to try and sleep, and I probably did for an hour or so. When I woke up it was my turn to start getting ready for my next lap. I woke up Troy and begged him to move up the order and go in my place. Though he was probably as sick and tired as I was, he took up the next baton.

Can you see why I absolutely honor and appreciate these men? Whenever I think back on this experience, these are the things I will remember: my kids playing and getting filthy dirty, Dennis cooking, and the complete awesomeness of my teammates.

I spent the morning encouraging my team mates, walking to and from the toilet, and trying to get my stomach to function properly. I was hopeful for one more lap- which would happen if Jake came in before noon. And I got my wish. I got dressed and walked my sickly frame over to the start/finish. I waited and when Jake came in he looked genuinely surprised to see me!

I ran out and hopped on my bike for the final round. As long as nothing went catastrophically wrong we would maintain 5th place and be on the podium. I rode as hard as my body would let me. I still felt sick, but pushed myself. By this time I knew the course well and had only one thought: joy on the trail. This was my last time over this soil, the last chance to soak in the experience- the sun, the smells, the thrill. I was going to come home to snow, mud, and cold. The heat was to be cherished.

The final climb was a practice in endurance, and the final descent a training in relaxation. For the first time there was no one obstructing me. I didn’t have to ask to pass anyone. I could play my own tempo.

When I reached the crowd the first person I saw was Gary, standing on a rock outcropping and cheering me on. “Left! Left!” he called, encouraging me to ride the rock drop. There was no need. I wouldn’t dream of bypassing it this time. As I slowed for the obstacle I recognized the rest of my team, and some of my family and friends. It was a great feeling! The only shadow on the experience was the fact I had zipped my jersey down to my belly button (like I do when it’s hot- and it was HOT), so I had a few moments of self-consciousness.

The finish was remarkably anti-climactic. Most of the teams had already finished, and there was no one waiting for another lap. Back at camp, we relaxed, ate some more, and congratulated ourselves on a solid podium finish. We started to pack up and headed over for the awards ceremony.

It was a challenge to stand in the crowd- hot, sick, and tired- awaiting awards. My back and legs were suffering and I couldn’t hold still. But eventually our turn arrived. When Todd (the owner of Epic Rides) announced our team, and our names, I about cried when he pronounced my name perfectly (a genuine feat, and a complete honor), and then went on to expound on how I was instrumental in the Grand Junction Off-road event.

You see, I tend to think that I’m non-existent, right? I’m only real to my children, and maybe my family. But for anyone else I just imagine that I’m invisible, forgettable. So I’m always surprised when people even remember my name. I could cry.

Okay- enough said. This has been the play-by-play. I’m going to write up another analysis for the Healthy Mesa County blog. If you want the more thoughtful/spiritual/emotional experience, you may read that when it is published.

Now enjoy the very few pictures. Obviously, I didn’t stop to take any whilst racing…

Dennis slept by the fire
Dennis slept by the fire
The sunrise reflected on Silverton.
The sunrise reflected on Silverton.
Awards
Awards
Team!
Team!

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Our trophy
Our trophy
I ♥ My Team!
I ♥ My Team!

 

elisa jones mountain biking

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo: Take 1

I believe that man will not merely endure. He will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. – William Faulkner

I haven’t ever done a team athletic event before. Unless you count my experiences with High School Marching Band. So it was a new experience to me to have a team, be a part of it, with my performance assisting in the determination of the eventual outcome. I can’t describe what it meant to me.

The morning went off as you would expect- kids, camping, meals, preparations. The race started at noon and Gary was first up on our team. Dude is some kind of athlete- won Xterra Nationals last year. It was his FIRST TRIATHLON EVER. Kid you not. We had fun swapping triathlon stories. He’s so cool. Deep admiration.

Three of my four teammates (Jake, Troy and Gary) all work for the Utah National Guard, so that was our team sponsor. The fourth, Tappin, is Jake’s assistant-coach for their NICA team. And I was the token lady-bits and Coloradan. I am still in awe and feel the deep privilege it was to be on this team.

Okay- back to the day- so Gary was up at noon. I was #2 and would hit the trail about 1:00. We had a morning team strategy meeting which was great. Dennis built us an Excel spreadsheet that effectively predicted our start times and lap times. It was super cool. Dennis is super cool.

I walked with Dennis down to the start line to watch them run to the bikes and take off on course. Once they were out I hauled it back to camp to get dressed, fed, and warmed up. I wore the jersey Troy brought for me, drank me some Buzzerk, and did hill sprints to warm-up. I was excited more than nervous and was looking forward to having a great time on the trail!

bikes on the rack
bikes on the rack
Gary, partaking of morning sustenance
Gary, partaking of morning sustenance
Jake demonstrating the proper way to peel a cutie.
Jake demonstrating the proper way to peel a cutie.
me kitted up
me kitted up
The "round two" crowd, waiting for our riders to come in.
The “round two” crowd, waiting for our riders to come in.

Gary was in the top 20 of riders to make it back. He handed me the baton, which I slipped into my shorts, then I ran to my bike and took off like a shot.

The first part of the trail is pretty easy- dirt with occasional rocks (which I turned into jumps)- until it turns onto a Jeep road, and becomes the 7 Bitches. Kid you not. 7 Bitches= steep climbs followed by equally steep descents. I did okay on them, only getting passed by a handful of guys going balls-out. I wasn’t worried. They may catch me, but chances were I could catch them on the flats- and some of them I did. Besides, most of them were the hot-shot 4-man team pro guys. No hurt to my ego.

On one of the climbs I went to shift and dropped my chain. No big deal. Popped it back on and kept on. It was early on in the race and we were lucky that this was to be our only mechanical the entire race.

After this trial of hell came the fun part- fast and flat, windy singletrack through the bushes and cacti. At one point I caught one of these later with my left shoe. At 15 mph the needles pierced my shoe and lodged in my foot. I was only 7 miles in. But I didn’t slow, I didn’t stop. I peddled hard and it was a total blast to be able to release my top speed after so many months!

The final climb is mild, but challenging for its length. There are a couple of technical sections before the final downhill. For some reason I expected a little more out of this last mile- more flow, higher speed. But it was peddally and lacked the kind of flow and speed I was aching for. But it was okay. I can take it. The last obstacle was a steep rock dive than more than a few regularly crash on. I simply engaged the dropper and dropped that shiz.

I came across the finish line, zipped up my jersey, and handed the baton off to Troy. End lap one.

I would have another lap before the day was over. Between I rested, ate, rested, ate, peed, played with kids, and rested some more. When I went out again it was dark, but I was ready. The first lap had been just a bit on the hot side for me, and I was anxious for the cool of the night.

Unfortunately, I lost a light just a 1/4 mile in! And even worse, it was the one on my head, not the one on my handlebars! This meant I couldn’t very easily track into the corners. I was worried, scared, and annoyed all at once.

But I did what I thought I could: hopped behind a guy and stuck to his tail using his light. He was on a single speed bike and going slow enough we could talk. This was a problem. I was racing. Intolerable. I opted to “skip the bitches” this round, but when I hit the double track I ditched my new friend whose light I had been borrowing. I would take my chances going twice as fast into the darkness with a single light.

Once I broke free I felt amazing. I jumped from averaging 10 mph to 15 mph. The night was cool, and my only complaint (besides missing my light) was having to pass so very many people! At one point another gentleman and I got stuck behind 4 others. We started joking and laughing before we were able to pass and break free. I don’t know who the guy was, where he was from, and I certainly couldn’t recognize him since I don’t think I ever saw him- but he enhanced the experience and I thank him for it.

The rest of the lap went down without a hitch. I felt great. Probably it was the caffeine, the endorphins. But my first night lap wasn’t a whole lot slower than my day lap. I had pushed hard, and my back and legs were aching- but I had no doubt I would be ready to go again in a few hours.

I got back to camp and wondered how I would ever sleep. That’s when I made some mistakes. I tried to drug myself to sleep. In retrospect I should have just stayed up. I’d done so before, when riding the White Rim, and would have been just fine. I didn’t end up sleeping anyway….

Eric fell on the rock obstacle at the end- obtained some sweet scratches.
Eric fell on the rock obstacle at the end- obtained some sweet scratches.
Hanging out between laps.
Hanging out between laps.
Perfection.
Perfection.
Night descending on our camp.
Night descending on our camp.

 

Preparation

“Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability…. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”
― Thomas Edison

Today moved so so so so so slowly.

So.

Very.

Slowly.

We left Prescott early enough, but had to make several stops along the way- lunch, ice, potty… you name it, we had to stop for it.

I started getting text communications with my team while we were still hours away from camp. I can’t begin to express how excited I was that they were anticipating our arrival. They even were waiting on me to do a pre-ride of the course.

We finally arrived, did a quick camp set-up, got dressed, and hit the trail. I wasn’t expecting to do the full 16 mile course. I mean, let’s be honest here- if you’ve been reading my blog you know exactly how many miles I’ve been putting in on the bike. Not many. And when was the last time I did more than 10 miles? Our trails aren’t very conducive right now to mileage.

But it was surprisingly good. The trail was easy riding for me (read: low-tech) and though there were several steep climbs, they were manageable. The biggest problem was reigning myself in because I wanted to show off for my team, right?

Rode in the back seat with my boyz so that my father-in-law could ride with Dennis is the front.
Rode in the back seat with my boyz so that my father-in-law could ride with Dennis is the front.
Map to 24 Hour Towne
Map to 24 Hour Towne
My race plate.
My race plate.
teammates: Jake, Gary, Troy
teammates: Jake, Gary, Troy

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Jake
Jake
Jake and Gary getting their G.Q. on.
Jake and Gary getting their G.Q. on.

It was really a fun ride. Dennis came along. When we got back to camp we did some solid recovery, had dinner, and pretty much just hung out until bed time.

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After partaking of so much snow, ice, and torture over the last few months, it was like heaven on earth to have wheels on dirt, sun on shoulders, and heat surrounding me. A magical dream land! And it was just day one….