24 Hours Solo National Championship Race Report
by Justin Lund, Evomo Team
So this year for the 24 hour national championships I was a little more prepared training and equipment wise, but there is basically no such thing as being 100% ready to ride your bike on a trail full of rocks, roots, and tight singletrack for 24 hours straight. In 24 hours you basically increase your chance of equipment failure from around 20% in a shorter 2 hour WORS race to around 80-90% because of the dust increasing wear on simple parts like a chain and also with the amount of stress the pivots on the suspension and tires from loose debris that others have kicked up as well. This situation is something you have to mentally block out cause if you worry too much it will get to your head as time passes.
The start of this race is running start where you basically sprint around 800 meters or so to your bike and begin your lap. Luckily enough I earned my front row spot this year and got off to an excellent start probably one of the first 5 to get on my bike. Now from there it is really easy to let the huge crowd get to you and start riding fast, it was also difficult to let others go by you at this point, but looking back you could see who was on a team and who was doing 12 hour events as well and I tried to not worry about those guys so I basically looked for the contenders that I knew were going to be in the top five based on previous results and kept them in sight for the first few laps.
As the day ticked on I would stop only for a new bottle of Fluid or eat a little bit, or if food didn’t sound good I would drink slim fast to keep the calories and vitamins coming in with no time to sit down or rest. This routine would continue until about my 6th lap when it was time to get my lights on and would have to take time for that anyway so I sat down and at some “real” food and also had some neglected bike parts re-lubed, tire pressures checked, glasses cleaned off and I was back out on the course again to finish lap 6 and move onto 7.
The 7th lap went as the earlier laps did with a stop long enough to rival that of a nascar event things were going very well at this point.
The 8th lap is where I started to feel physically tired for the first time and tried to really focus on eating and drinking enough, focusing on not trying to race everyone up hills and other energy wasting movements as well. By now the fatigue has really started to sink in, but you realize that the pain will not get any worse than this unless you crash so I try to block it out but at this point when the eventual winner and 6 time world champion goes by you its hard to not let it get to you, but I move on into the darkness and begin to turn on my lights.
lap 9 was pretty good but slower than my previous laps as I am still trying to grasp riding fast in the dark. I stayed consistent on my lap splits as much as I could but times would only get longer as the darkness continued. It was good to hear that I was moving up through the rankings at this point so i pushed on.
lap 10 is basically where I got my 2nd wind with the help of a team that created a cheering section back in the woods. I know the Team Performa guys and gals pretty well so it was great to have them basically going crazy when I rode through the rocky section they were all cheering from with their megaphones, adult beverages, and loud voices.
Lap 11 was basically the point where everything started to hurt and I was in pure zombie mode where getting to the tops of hills with no memory of how I got there was common I may have blacked out, fell asleep, or simply day dreaming. At this point I’ve been awake for close to 24 hours and falling asleep on the bike has happened to many others in this type of race and is very common. I don’t remember this lap too much at all and honestly that may be for the best.
Lap 12 was honestly frustrating and one of my longest laps of the race. by this time the sun has come up and the sun usually helps push everyone a little harder. For me I ended up running something over and suffering a flat so I fixed it and continued but for the sake of making sure I didn’t further damage my bike I would check it before the next rocky section. It seemed fine but at this point I panic because I don’t want to end up walking my bike in towards the end of the race.
So on lap 13, my final lap, I decided to go out on my back up bike so that I could put my mind at ease and just ride and that’s exactly what I did and knowing that I wasn’t going to move up any spots or move down I got to my pit area and relaxed until around 10 am and crossed the finish line to make it official.
All in all I accomplished a 17th overall placing in the 24 hour national championships, I rode 13 laps which accounted for around 192 miles. In a field of factory pros and world top 10s this is definitely a highlight race for me and while I am happy about how I did, you can bet cash money that I will be back next year to shoot for a top five. I do have to thank so many people mainly my wife Sam who puts up with all of this bike stuff all year round, and also really have to thank my main sponsors this year Evomo Clothing, Rudy Project, and Fluid Recovery drink. Honestly, if I didn’t have all of their support I wouldn’t have made it to the start line and are very important to my success in such a demanding sport. That and Evomo shirts and the team jerseys make me look like a fricken rockstar.
The aftermath, I consumed 6 cans of slimfast, 5 snackwraps from mcdonalds, about 4 tubes of nuun tablets, a container of el fudge, can of pringles, bag of twizzlers, bag of beef jerky, and one Point Nude Beach beer.
I slept from 11:30 till around 5pm ate took a shower, bath, and another shower, went to sleep around 8:30 and slept till around 9 am Monday. I couldn’t physically ride till thursday and am racing this weekend in southern Wisconsin. This is how I Bring Da Rukus!
Results are on <a href=”http://www.velonews.com/results/81315″ target=”_blank”>velonews.co</a>