This post is long overdue (nearly a month) it's not because I didn't want to write it, it's more due to the fact that the results were underwhelming.

Heading for a 24

I scrambled out of Rossland on Friday morning heading for Spokane and the 24hrs of Round and Round. It's my second year doing this race and even though it's a really easy course I like the vibe and the fact that you can complete big distance in one day. I think I got in approx 435kms last year (correct me if I'm wrong, Scott).

I arrived at the 24hr race site at noon and went out for an hour long pre-ride and felt great. A couple of hours later I started feeling congested and my sinus cavity felt a bit full. Kinda weird because I don't have problems with my sinuses so I thought it might just be dust or something.

After the lap I hooked up with Scott and Lisa which is always good for a laugh. Here's Scott demonstrating the fuel of champions, yes, that's cheese.

Scott loves his cheese

After catching up we headed down to registration which went smoothly.


The rest of the evening was spent hanging around the pit having some more laughs. Like any competitive racers there was some teasing and provoking and general wondering if we were going to surpass the podium achieving 19 laps completed last year. Good friends make for good racing.

Just before climbing into the bag I grabbed this image of my two race bikes ready to rock... loving the Orbea Alma 29 S Team.

Ready to roll

I woke up on race morning and I didn't feel so good, this wasn't a dust or cold or tired scenario, it was a 'I feel sick' kinda thing. The first thing I did when I rolled out of my tent was cough (a lot) and spit out greenish yellow clumps, hmmmm infection!

Seriously... I mean come on!! I haven't been sick in ages and I've got to get sick now?!?! On race day?!?!?!?! I decided to basically ignore the initial signals and get on with race day prep but the symptoms started increasing at an alarming rate. I tried not to make a big deal out of it as the other racers around me were busy getting organized and keeping their heads in their own game and I didn't want to be a distraction.

Realizing I was off my norm, I figured I would just ride a strong first 12hrs, try to ignore my body and hope the sinus congestion and nausea wouldn't get worse. After the first 12hr I figured I would assess what I had left in the tank and just grind out the remainder of the race. I guess I was tearing off some pretty fast laps and out front enough that every time I went by the pit I would hear things like 'You are on fire', 'You are flying', and the always fun to hear 'You are in the lead'. That went on for a few laps. Why? For the first 8-9hrs I was going hard, trying to get the miles in as I wasn't sure how many hours I could go.


The rigid singleseed setup was performing well but as late evening came around I was looking forward to swapping bikes so I could get some suspension up front. Switching to my white Alma and the SID World Cup fork was pure luxury, a welcome break from all the stutter bumps out on the course.

About 9hrs into the race I finally took my first break because the black plague nausea was right on the brink of erupting. It came on so fast that it kinda surprised me, I kinda figured I would just start feeling so bad that I would eventually slow down but the nausea came on like an ambush. So as soon as I got back to the pit I sat down for a couple of minutes while putting on another layer of clothing, hoping my body would settle down with a mini-break. I didn't want to hang around too long so I headed out again, I still felt bad so I slowed my pace down a bit figuring I could manage the problem but about 1/3rd of the way into my 9th lap (approx 10.5hrs into the race I think) I had to pull off the trail real quick to puke, while still straddling my top tube. Wow, that came on fast! The rest of the lap was a mess with all my calories laying on the forest floor and no desire to take any calories in. I bumbled down the trail on my bike with my night light making me feel like I was on another planet. Eventually I got enough of my rhythm back and pushed hard to get back to the pit as I knew things were getting dicey. It wasn't my stomach that was complaining it was my entire system, every part of me was aching and off balance and I felt 'way off'.

As soon as I got back to the pit I sat down for a while, spitting and dry heaving and generally being a basket case, eventually I realized I wouldn't be going out again and I dragged myself down to the transition tent and chipped out. A shame really because I figured I was on track for a 19-20 lap race which would have put me on the podium. Lame!

The last time I puked like that was my first 24hr race (due to noobie mistakes) and I ended up going to the Emerg with internal bleeding. I've since told myself if I puked like that again on a 24 I should probably hit the eject button. Since I was down there by myself but pitting next to Scott and Lisa, I didn't want to put them in the position of being responsible for a basket case. Hitting the eject button was the smart thing to do BUT I didn't like it. I hung around the pit trying not to cough on people, while Scott raced and kicked butt. I did my best to be a cheering squad/coach which was pretty hard as I kinda lost my voice (bizarre) whenever I would talk louder than a quiet conversation.

When I got back to Rossland I went to see the doc and it turns out I had a sinus infection, which I've never had before. I had to go on antibiotics which I try not to do and I started using a neti-pot to flush the sinuses. Good times.

For the next two weeks I was a mess, loads of coughing and vise-like pressure in my head, center of balance way off, all kinds of not good for riding stuff. Just going for a walk with the boys to get them ice cream was draining, though they didn't seem to mind.

The boys diggin the ice cream

Eventually the short walks turned into longer adventure walks.

Adventure walk

And the longer adventure walks were occasionally interrupted by friendly neighbours with backyard beers.

Adventure walk turned into a beer

Adventure walks turned into casual rides with the boys. Keegan had just finished wiping out in this image, but an ice cream sorted him out.

Keegan's brave face after a wipeout

Casual rides turned into hammerfests.

Awesome ride

In all kinds of conditions.

Wet and dirty

On black bikes.

The Orbea getting ready for a black diamond run

And white bikes.

Going down Larry's

In mud.

Less than an hour into it


Orbea mud guard

And more mud.

Muddy today?

But riding in mud is better than not riding at all.

So what's the next race? Another 24hr Solo in just over 3 weeks, it will be my 20th 24hr Solo, a nice milestone to reach. I'm not super stoked about my fitness level considering the last month of (not much) riding. Having said that I did set some personal bests (wattage) during the last couple of weeks but I attribute that to the excitement of being back on the bike again and simply wanting to hammer as hard as I could. Moving into the new house this weekend won't improve my ability to increase riding hours so I'll just grab bits and pieces of saddle time whenever I can. Whatever the case, I'm looking forward to racing a tough course on my singlespeed and fingers crossed I'll be 100% healthy.

More news to follow on the house and other things. Till next time...

* Late edit - Upon re-reading this post I noticed I totally forgot to thank Lisa for the awesome support at the race. She was looking after both Scott and I and she does it like a pro. Her handups were world-class, she would jump at the chance to help in any way and she was a real positive influence out there. Lisa... THANKS!


Emilis said...

why are you riding with rigida single speed in races?

Shaun Taylor said...

Hi Emilis,

This is my 2nd year of singlespeed racing and I'm really enjoying it. Prior to that it was a few years of full suspension racing.

I like singlespeed for a bunch of reasons. They are simple and quiet and can be quite fast on the right course. On courses where singlespeed isn't a great choice it just means I have to work harder. ;-)

This was my 19th 24hr Solo and singlespeed racing has given me a new way to look at 24hr courses and racing in general.

The rigid fork adds a new dimension to training and racing on a singlespeed, it's even quieter and more simple. The rigid setup is very precise and very light, if you match it up with the right tire and psi up front you can have a lot of fun and be competitive in multi-hour races.

On really technical and gruelling courses I always use a suspension fork if it's a long race.

Some day I might go back to gears and full suspension racing but it won't be this year and I doubt it will be next year either.