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! 

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Comment by DRU on June 24, 2013 at 8:15pm

Hey Jeff! It was a great 24hrs of mountain bike riding, that's for sure! Great to ride with you, David and the new guys! Perhaps next year I should remember to bring the battery for my lights! There's nothing worse than forgetting an important piece of gear on the kitchen counter! Well, except for not training enough for a tough event! Yours truly, busted on both counts! That said, I was super happy with the new course, way tougher than last year, gotta love a challenge! I think we ended up 19th out of 37 teams in our category, not too shabby huh!? After a painkiller, a couple of beers and a good night's sleep, I find myself looking forward to next year! :)

Comment by Alexx Hooper on June 24, 2013 at 8:46pm

Sounds like a great event - and definitely tougher than last year. Jeff, you and Dru make the same point about riding at night - only being able to see in front of you makes you focus on what's ahead; sometimes not being able to see the 25' drop beside you and all the pointey stuff that you could land on is a good thing! I've never thought of it that way! Glad the weather held out for you and that you had a good time. Andrew said he enjoyed some great KD&weiners between laps - that'd be enough to motivate me! ;)

Comment by Jeff N on June 25, 2013 at 7:57am

We are masters of epicurean delights.  Dru cooks a mean KD and I personally wait all year for my pb&j with bananas fix! 

Comment by Gordon Bogden on June 25, 2013 at 10:39am

Hi Jeff -- congratulations!  A real effort and accomplishment -- again for you guys.  I have been training up at Albion a few times this season -- trails are great!  400 teams makes that a real challenge, especially at night.

Comment by Peter Sutton on June 25, 2013 at 10:02pm

Congratulations, Jeff.  The 24hr races have (or at least used to have - been quite a while since I've done one) quite the festival atmosphere.  Amazing events. 

Comment by Bob Knight on June 28, 2013 at 12:32pm

Well done!

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