5.04.2010

RACE REPORT: The 2010 12 Hours of Lodi Farms

it is Thursday morning...
I have made multiple attempts at a report for the 12 Hours of Lodi Farms

each time I go to make a report I looked for inspiration in the posting of the results or the appearance of photographs from the event
neither results nor photos have surfaced
inspiration needs to come from within... yet I am not finding it

enough time has passed that I just need to just throw something down
lets see what I come up with
here we go... you will have to settle for my short set of photos to assist the story

oh... some background
The 12 Hours of Lodi Farms is a 12 Hour off road mountain bike race
the race starts at noon and ends at midnight
the person or team that does the most laps in that time wins
it is run in a format like a running relay race
one member of the team is on the course at a time
when they complete the lap... they pass the baton to the next rider... and so on... and so on

there can be one, two, or three person teams at this event
one person teams are called SOLO
two person teams are called DUO
three person teams are called SENSIBLE

I have raced this event numerous times on three person teams... usually on a Single Speed Mountain bike
that is a bike with only one cog in the back... no derailleur... like a kids bike or a bmx bike

any questions?

RACE REPORT: The 2010 12 Hours of Lodi Farm
3 Man Single Speed Team with Cargo Mike and Kent Baake

a few months back a plan was made
like many plans... this was a plan made over beers
I think that the discussion may have happened shortly after missing the registration for the Baker's Dozen
in that discussion it was decided that Kent Baake, Cargo Mike, and myself would join forces to race on a three man single speed team at the 12 Hours of Lodi Farm just out side of Fredericksburg, Virginia

there was not much discussion it just sort of happened
it was understood that Kent did not own a single speed nor had he every mountain biked on a single speed
that was not a worry... it seemed probable that I would have an extra single speed that he could borrow

each of us had raced Lodi several times before
we all knew what to expect of the course
we all had a basic idea of our potential on this course
it seemed like just a matter of showing up and racing

time passed... I registered the team and played phone tag with Kent
the race date approached rapidly
the team had not met for a practice night lap
the team had not met to test their lights
there had not been a a chance for Kent get a feel for the rhythm that is a single speed bike with 29 inch wheels
in fact... it was less than two weeks before race day an I had not yet converted my old geared Karate Monkey into a single speed

realizing that this project was more than I was looking to get into I took that bike along with several others to The Family Bike Shop
the weekend before the race and the bikes were ready for pick up
neither Kent nor I had a convenient gap of time to head to the less than convenient shop location
which had me in a panic in the days before the race

lucky for me MikeK of DCMTB lives near The Family Bike Shop and would be racing at Lodi as well
MikeK was especially helpful and stopped by the shop to grab the much needed bike that had gone a much needed transformation
special thanks to The Family Bike shop... then additional thanks to MikeK these things needed to happen

rant on the Gwadzilla Page about The Family Bike Shop
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com


RACE DAY...
Saturday morning came and I was not as ready as I should have been
my bags were pretty much packed but my head was not right
the camping gear for me and my wife and kids had been gathered
the two single speed bikes I was bring for myself were ready
the bike I was bringing for Kent was as ready as it was gonna be
but... my head was not right

my head was not right and I had my usual worries about my body
other than racing the weekend prior at The Greenbrier Challenge and riding my bike home from school with my kids

well... I had not been on the bike
futzing around the house... looking for jobs online... and questioning the direction of one's life can be quite time consuming
time consuming and a little crippling

life being laid off is not the vacation that people would think it would be
anxiety of life was building up around me

the race just did not seem like a priority

there had been nearly as many nights without sleep as there had been days without riding the bike

then on top of the pressures of life...
the night prior to the race I got a call from Cargo Mike
Cargo Mike was saying that he was not feeling well and that racing may not be an option for him
there was some discussion...
after some talk back and forth Cargo Mike told me he would go to bed early and call me in the AM to let me know if he would be able to ride\race at Lodi

just moments after hanging up the phone with Cargo Mike got a call from MikeK
MikeK needed to give me shit about the poor condition of my loaner bike for Kent and my current jobless state
there was some good advice in all the badgering
but... as good as that advice may have been
it weighed on me heavily and did not contribute well to my already unhealthy mental state

morning came and I got out of bed early because I was unable to sleep
breakfast for the boys and morning soccer games for my two boys stole my attention rather the the final gathering of my race gear

Lisa left out with the boys for back to back kids soccer games... with the understanding that she would travel out to join me at the race site in the afternoon

at 9am I got a call from Cargo Mike... he was not better... but he was game to give the race a shot
we each spoke like we were packed and ready for the short drive south
neither of us were anywhere near the car
I really should have already been in the car

more futzing and more putzing around the house
it was nearly 10:30 when I left the house

not a practical time for someone headed down to a race that started at noon
traffic was not bad but the flow was not good
without any foolish or aggressive driving I managed to arrive a few minutes before noon
there I discovered that Cargo Mike had yet to arrive


at the race site all sorts of people razzed me about the condition of my loaner bike for Kent
apparently the seat post was frozen in the frame and the rear hub was giving some resistance
the bike I had loaned Kent was not exactly "race worthy"

luckily Kent had arrived early enough to look at the bike and set things right or at least as right as they were going to get

Kent warmed up with MikeK on the unfamiliar Karate Monkey Single Speed
it was established... Kent would go out first... I would race second... then if Cargo Mike were to sh
ow... then Cargo Mike would go third
that was a serious mix up

to our initial plans when we set things up we had thought we would go man to man against an
other DCMTB Three Man Single Speed Team
having Cargo Mike lead out first against Jonathan Wheaton...
Kent match up second against Darren Biggs...
then have the battle of the beards as I measured up against Kevin aka KMAX
it seemed like a pretty well balanced battle

this rotation of sending out the fastest rider first also had Cargo Mike in the slot to do an addi
tional lap if we broke the 12 lap mark before the midnight finish

well... things do not always go as planned
we would have to balance the scales in another fashion
we would have to sort out the race in a less calculated fashion

BAM! the race started and I got to see a set of DCMTB race kits head for the woods in a pack close to the front
there was a long line of racers moving aggressively for the woods

behind them was an assortment of racers soft pedaling their way into the game

some of them solo racers... others first timers... and then some who knew that if they did not fight for the whole shot that they would have to just fall into line at the bottleneck that often occurs when a jeep road files into singletrack

it was a strange showing at Lodi

there were a solid number of people in attendance but a great number of vacancies
peo
ple I usually expect to see were not in attendance
it seemed that so many of the team categories were oddly small
while all sorts of people were racing as solo or duo
many of the solo racers were riding solo more than racing solo

it did not matter...
I was there to ride my bike hard
events like this can be a race against the clock more than anything else
in this case we had the pleasure of being evenly matched with another DCMTB team in our class
this heightened the level of excitement for the day

the race had started and I tried to get my head right
as the first lap rolled somewhere in the woods around me I tried to set up my camp

two tents and all the fixings were set in place
before I could inflate mattresses and lay out the sleeping bags I realized.... this is Lodi... this is a short course with fast laps
it would make sense for me to suit up, fuel up, and take a look at my bike

to our team's credit we were camped at a location where we not only had a good view of the racers as
they made a dash from the START FINISH to the SINGLETRACK
but we were conveniently set up next to a section where the course popped out o
f the woods for a second
this sight of racers headed to the finish gave us a chance to hang at our camp and rush for the hand off of the baton

so when the
white red and black racing stripe that is the DCMTB racing kit passed this point... we would know that we had no more than a few minutes to be at the transition tent

I gathered at the line with KMAX
we broke the tension with falsifying a warm up as we waited for our team mates to finish lap one
I stretched my back
still not feeling it I knew that I would be better on the bike
it is always better on the bike

KMAX got the passing of the baton from Jonathan Wheaton minutes before I got the baton from Kent
or did KMAX take the hand off from Darren
it is all a blur... sure it was only days ago
but so many of the details have been erased by repetition and fatigue

at the hand off I took the wristband baton and took off for the woods
still unsure how my body felt I knew I would feel better in the woods

it is not clear to me how much time KMAX had on me heading into the woods but I was intent on catching him
it was fun to have a rabbit to chase
even with him out of view he was still in my sights

sure enough... as I made that first turn down the hill towards a short wooden bridge that fed int
o the woods the familiarity gave me comfort
I was on the bike... I was in the woods... I was racing... I was where I needed to be
there was no time to worry about expensive mortgages and job searches
it was all about rocking things as hard as I could without slamming into a tree


YE HA! LODI FARMS!

there was new trail
there was unfamiliar trail
all the trail was characteristically Lodi

lots of short tight turns doubling back on themselves

lots of short steep downhills feeding into ninety degree turns
all sorts of ninety degree turns sending a racer up a short steep rooted climb
yes... roots... roots, and more roots
roots and twists and roots and turns
turns on top of turns

there were some short steep climbs
some of which I hammered others that I knew to dismount and march
smart racing... effective racing... efficient racing


I had no idea about time or mileage
somewhere in my lap I was really feeling the heat
it was hot... unseasonably hot
I started to wonder where I was on the course
this short lap was feeling painfully long

the bike and body were feeling pretty good
I was drenched in sweat
there had not been a moment where I saw KMAX
yet I chased just the same

then there was some familiarity
I recognized the trails feeding into the stream crossing

the stream was deep
on my approach I could see that it dropped off into a
serious sink hole
I stuck it then hammered back into the woods

to my surprise the stream crossing was not the marker of the finish
there was still a short section of trail

but the thought of the finish approaching was a strong psychological push
I had the energy to hammer that last section of trail
rolling into the Start Finish and passing the baton to Cargo Mike


for a few laps... maybe half way through the race it appeared that my DCMTB team was going to sit in second behind the other DCMTB three man single speed
well... that is how it appeared...
but I knew different

even SICK I knew that Cargo Mike had the potential to put in the fastest lap on the single speed (at least in our group)
knowing this because healthy Cargo Mike has shown that he can put in the fastest lap on the course over all for the day


sure enough...
about halfway through the race our three man team pulled ahead of the other DCMTB Three
Man Single Speed Team
the results have yet to be posted and I have been too lazy to crunch the numbers
but.. once we got ahead of them
we stayed ahead of them
our intensity did not drop even if our lap times did

for years the 12 Hours of Lodi Farms was known for its quirky MIDNIGHT START
as fun as that midnight start may have been it did not come without consequences

the Midnight Start with the Noon Finish made things such that people were driving home in a hypoxic state
I can not remember how many times I fought to keep my eye lids from sealing shut on that short drive back to the district
there were people who stopped racing Lodi Farms because they thought that they were going to drive on the way home
then of course... there is the following work week
the sleep deprivation can kill the first three days of the work week

a few years ago I approached the promoters and discussed the Noon Start Time and the Midnight Start
there was hesitancy... but it made sense
they changed the race format

my family showed up in the late afternoon
the boys were as excited to see me as I was to see them
I took them down to the creek and I tried to guide them on behaving around the racers on the course
but really... I was racing and my wife Lisa had to monitor the action of the kids

the boys were having a blast

our kids hung with MikeK's kids
apparently the kids were wild
as much fun as they were having
it was decided by my wife Lisa that they would not be camping
I did not argue... I had to think about racing and did not have the energy to really do more than a slight assist with monitoring the misbehavior of the children

there were sad eyes in my boys' eyes
but I knew that my wife was being sensible
they stayed until shortly after dark... I brought out glow sticks but did not get around to sparklers

the Noon to Midnight Start means less night laps

my lap times were starting to drop
my body was sore
my first two laps were consistent and strong
my third lap felt good... but that may have been because I spent too much time resting and trying to flow instead of hammering and hurting myself
on my last and final lap with my lights I took to the woods and immediately had stomach cramps

I had fueled up too late in the day
water and whatnot had been stuffed in my belly far too close to race time
it was hard to focus on the trail when I was in such pain
it was a long hard lap in the dark
this last lap lacked the flow that it should have had with the familiarity gained on the previous laps

it was all work
I fought to knock it out
I fought hard to not give into the pain
I fought hard not to get caught by the other DCMTB Three Man Single Speed Team

it was a hard lap... not an especially slow lap
but a painful lap
a lap that did not offer as much pleasure as a last lap should give

when I finished my lap I passed the baton to Kent with great relief

hold on... I passed the baton to Kent?

as it turned out Cargo Mike had given all he could give
sure he could have done that last lap... but at what cost
it seemed practical to Cargo Mike to drive back to the city where he could shower and sleep in his own bed
Kent stepped up and did a fifth lap out of rotation

it was not that close... we had a slight lead on the trailing team
we discussed it... it was decided that even though we could get our racer in before the Midnight Cut Off
we would leave it at 12 Laps
no need to rush for 13
the input to reward ratio had us leaning towards beer and pizza over one last lap
which was good... since with Kent stepping forward and Cargo Mike gone... well... that would have had me on the course after midnight

after that last and final lap it was time for celebration
beers and pizza provided by the race promoters
awards and swag give away after the final racers crossed the line
Kent and I stayed up late and watched the stars while other racers slept

it was another fantastic race day at Lodi Farms
Konrad and FRED EVENTS host quite the party
it is an amazing course with its own unique character
the bathrooms were nicer than my bathrooms at home
and the pizza and beer... well... it does not get much better than pizza and beer

it was great to see so many familiar faces on and off the bike
The 12 Hours of Lodi Farms has a down home grass roots feel while also offering up a tough course and equally tough competition
thanks to Konrad and his crew of volunteers


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