This year's addition of the 24hrs of Summer Solstice was a blast again. Compliments and thanks to Chico Racing and crew for putting on a fantastic event. Combine camping, not sleeping, hanging out with friends, and riding bikes in the woods and this is what we got on the weekend. Andrew W and I plus 3 others competed (more like completed!) at Albion Hills conservation area. The format is a team relay, about 400 teams, varying from the really nutty solo's, to 8 person corporate. We were in the 5 person - 200 to 250 total age category. One person on the course at a time, start at noon on Saturday, last lap must start before noon Sunday, complete before 1pm Sunday, team with most laps, shortest time wins.
Yes we ride thru the night, in the dark, in the woods, with lights. The new LED lights are amazing.
The course twists and turns in the forest for nearly 17km. Lap times are 50 minutes, very fast, 1.25hr good rider pretty fast, to 2 plus hours for tourists. Lots more technical single track and more hills made this year's edition a little more demanding, and I think about 5 to 10% slower than last year.
For us, we are not contenders, we are out to ride hard, and have some fun, not finish last! Good rides from our bunch and I think we did 18 laps.
The weather held off and instead of the promised thunder showers, we only got a few sprinkles before noon, then clear and hot!
First lap for me started around 2:40pm. I am off, pushing too hard at the start, course starts with hills to string the people out before the first single track. Heart rate went up, and stayed up for the whole loop, there really is no rest. The lap is pretty good, but, the effort was hard on me. Mt bike riding uses a lot more upper body and core than road riding, coping with bumps, sudden terrain changes, lots of twists and turns pushes all those little muscles and I felt everyone of then within about 10 minutes after finishing the lap. I guess the fitness guys telling us to work the core really are correct!
A rest then back out. Lap 2 night time - awesome, I love riding with lights. Cooler temps, track was just damp enough to keep down the dust, but not be slippery. Rest, repeat for lap 3. Still feeling good, hydrated with a higher concentration of Heed than normal using a camelback while on the rides, and lots of water and some endurolytes between laps. Seemed to work, no cramping issue, no GI troubles.
Lap 4 started Sunday about 9:50, the sun is high, and with the humidity, it's hot! Still riding pretty well, course is getting familiar, so I am more tactical with the efforts and faster thru the technical, but need to drop into the smallest gears on the steep climbs to reduce the heat buildup. Water station midway, a few cups to douse the head and back for additional cooling, feels good. Laps done, feel great. The celebratory glass of champagne to toast to another good race and remembering that mountain biking is awesome!