a few days have passed and I can hardly recall a specific moment from The 10th Annual 12 Hours of Lodi Farms in Fredericksburg Virginia. The pain and the passion, the near cramping and the near vomiting, the near crashes and the near collisions... it is all just a distant memory. Yet... I am trying to get down a few words
Race Report: The 2008 12 Hours of Lodi Farms PART II
The Final Chapters
The Final Laps
These multi-lap mountain bike relay races can be a blur, especially when you are dealing with the twists and turns of Lodi Farms. Looking back there is only subtle distinction between my final laps... even if my second lap was in the night while my third and fourth laps were in the light.
The first lap was marked by my effort to catch Family Bike Shop Tom and my photo finish effort with CityBikesMike. The final three laps lacked this sort of drama/excitement. Although each lap was exciting in its own way. The laps involved a fair amount of passing ,me passing other racers while no one passed me. I admit... having Cargo Mike hammering in the slot ahead of me put me far enough ahead that the faster races would have not only had to be faster than me but they would have had to been handed the baton just after Cargo Mike crossed the line. My times could have been faster had I been challenged by other racers on the course. The removal of the cat and mouse left me to finding my own race pace. It was just me reeling in the racers in front of me trying to make fast and efficient passes. Pace can be tough... especially on a course like Lodi Farms where it is about maxing out the power on each pedal stroke. Trying so hard to take it to the RED LINE with out blowing up. My times are what they are... MY TIMES.
In so many ways the time is arbitrary... but these times do say something. 57-59-59-56 All laps under an hour or no laps greater than sixty minutes... that time is arbitrary. It is only significant because it is a round number, one hour. For some reason it is fun to say my average was just under an hour.
It is not clear to me what I was doing to be so slow on my second night lap and my first day lap. I would think that familiarity with the course and being warmed up on the bike would allow for me to log faster laps. But... riding alone may have allowed me to drift while chasing Family Bike Shop Tom gave me a reason to rage. My effort to learn how to work the course allowed me to groove a little better, but I may have mellowed too much. I was intentionally pulling off the throttle a bit. Trying to keep things such that I was doing less SKIDDING AND PANIC STOPPING! Trying to get a speed where I could flow through the turns. This speed was slower... but not more effect and more efficient as I had hoped. After the first lap I felt that my bike was a tad over geared... a smaller gear could have facilitated more flow. But... thinking like that only makes those with gears remind the single speeder that the gearlessness is a choice.
seconds add up!
where did these minutes come from?
a few seconds here and a few seconds there and your times drop a minute
My final lap was my fastest lap. This is often the case. So much of this multi-lap relay racing is about pace. But on the last lap there is the notion of maxing out and leaving it on the course. The lap time comparison can be about personal best. I set out on my last lap to log my personal best. My personal best may have been slower than some of the other racer's average... but they are not me. I need to do what I can with my skill, my strength, my body and my bike. It is my training and my input that creates my time. Comparing my times to other racer's times is not as important as comparing my times to my own... as these people are not me and I am not them. In the end we are racing ourselves and shooting for our personal best. The last lap offers the greatest familiarity with the course. Which allows the racers to know where to hammer and when to let off the brakes. I had actually decided to run a few flat sections of the freshly cut trail towards the end. It was just inefficient for me to try and pedal through this stuff... it is racing... I wanted to move fast... if I am faster on foot... then foot makes more sense.
Did I want to finish my last lap in 51 minutes? I was not thinking like that... I was just riding my bike. Trying to be effective on the bike. On my last lap I wanted to be faster than the previous laps. That effort did not involve a watch... all I had to do was work harder and that hard work paid off.
light photos by gary ryan
except for the shot of me after the race which is by wrenching in the gears steve
thanks again to Emily and Conrad of