Feb 4, 2008

12 hours of fun

At 0400hrs on Saturday morning, Doreen, Evan and Keegan and I loaded up in our vehicle to head for The Dirty Dozen ™ 12 Hour & Frozen Six Hour Mountain Bike Race. Destination: Warda, Texas - Bluff Creek Ranch - for a 12hr solo mountain bike race on an 8-9 mile single-track course.

The race started at 8AM with over 200 riders in attendance. It was a chilly morning with temps in the 40's and as with most of these things it began with a Le Mans running start to the bike holding area and then it was simply a matter of grabbing your bike, jumping on and putting the foot on the accelerator.

The starting laps were pretty quick, times were ranging around the low-30 to 40 min mark; a lap included mostly singletrack, roots, rock, steep grade climbs and lots of carvy swoopy fun stuff though the trees. I kept my foot on the gas for quite a few hours to see how the competition was, only stopping in my pit every second lap for approx a minute or so to get a fresh bottle. As I remember I only sat down twice in my pit throughout the entire race, for three or four minutes, other than that I was racing my bike.

Berming itDoreen knows that I typically don't want to hear how I'm doing in the standings until I'm a few hours in, on my first report I was leading my category and placing in top five overall. I decided to make a run at the top three overall positions, so for the next few hours I spent a lot of time out of the saddle - a lot. What's a lot? Well for me it was mashing the pedals standing up until I couldn't do it anymore and then doing it for another couple of minutes. ;-)

As day started turning to night I mounted my helmet light and got into my night mode. I like racing at night, it's an interesting combination of zen-like peacefulness brought on by the darkness that reduces your visual stimulus, but then add in the surprises that attack you constantly based on the short lead-time with a restricted tunnel vision view presented by your lighting system. Both of these things act in direct competition with each other - fun!

With the headlights on I had worked my way to fourth place and it was time to start digging a bit deeper. I had a two lap lead on the next fastest guy in my category but I wanted to see how much I could push out overall to secure one more position in the overall pack. My last lap felt like my fastest lap, even though it probably wasn't; I definitely gave it a pretty good pounding. 12hrs and 10mins was my finish time and with 17 laps it put me in third place overall out of 40 male soloists which was pretty satisfying. First and second place finished with 17 laps and were less than 10mins faster, both well known racers, they ran a strong race.

Going up to the podium to represent Sugar Cycles in first place was a good feeling.

Thanks to the organizers Terra Firma Promo and their volunteers who I thought did a great job. Well organized and a good vibe just like their 24hrs of Dirt I did last year. And once again I couldn't have done this well without Doreen's support at the race, she deserves at least half of the trophy, actually, probably 3/4's of it.

Now I'm on for a couple of days off the bikes and heal up a bit, oh yeah and eat the five days worth of calories that I burned during the race. Anyone know a good Mexican restaurant??? ;-)

Next race is Mas o Menos in two weeks time, hopefully I will feel a bit stronger for that one. It's not nearly long enough for me to do well in but I'm still looking forward to pounding it out, I've heard so many good things about the race. Besides, who can turn down the opportunity to get a little bit of hill climbing in, check out that profile, hahaha.



Anonymous said...

Congratulations Shun. you sure earned it.RD

John said...

What the...

What is that chart?

At the 15 mark do you intent to literally start ride/climbing (steeply)up approx 3,600 feet?


Shaun Taylor said...

All I know is it looks steep and I get to do that entire thing twice. Wish it was a chart of my stock market performance, hahaha!

Glennon Simmons said...

Hi Shaun,

Thanks for the photo complements! I just noticed that you recently published a book, Six Weeks in Vietnam. I’m interested in publishing as an outlet for my photography, and I have several projects in progress with this as an end goal. The problem is that I have no idea how to market my project, once completed, to a publishing company. Would you mind giving me advice here? Please contact me via e-mail or phone. I’m eager to talk to you.




Shaun Taylor said...

Glen, message sent.