So, not many photos, but another great weekend. I went out to Bootleg to support a 12 hr put on by my friend and competitor – Sarah. I should have known better j.k. 🙂 This was going to be a fun race, but I wasn’t really that prepared for it. I’ve been riding hundreds of miles of dirt roads lately getting ready for TD and getting in techy practice for Bootleg just wasn’t in the plan.
On the drive out, we like to take a route through the Mojave desert. It’s super pretty during the day and much quicker than going into the L.A. mess to get on I-15. This was our first time taking it at night though and it was such a treat. The nights are pretty dark right now and near Amboy we caught a light show on a building and had to take a brief layover to discover it. Brendan has some pics on his blog, but poplight video (one lady who was super approachable and cool) does some rad installation work at nights on weekends about a mile south of Amboy. After that we were so jazzed that I forgot to look at the map and we blew through our turn. This almost put us out of gas in the middle of the Mojave, so we had to drive into Needles to fill up – about $4.40 a gal! Ouch!
Then we headed north through Searchlight and got into Bootleg Canyon near 1am. The race started at 8am, so this gave us about 5 hours of sleep – not too bright, but it was only a 12 hr – what the heck.
I caught up with Sarah in the morning and chatted a bit while getting ready. She wanted to warm up together, but I figured we had 12 hrs to warm up and I was still getting everything set up anyhow. When we took off, Christina, Sarah, and I set a descent pace amongst the top guys. Sarah and I pretty much knew what to expect from each other, but neither of us had raced against Christina before. We just knew that she was somewhat of a veteran 24 hr racer. It wasn’t a stout first lap, but I totally blew off my 12 hr pacing plan. I just wanted to have fun and try to hang with Sarah on her home course. She got a little ahead of me and I got a little gap on Christina. Then I caught up with Sarah in the pits and we rolled out on the 2nd lap together.
The 2nd lap was my most fun lap and Sarah and I got into a groove and had a good thing going. Then, we started to worry about Christina catching us and the lead men getting too much of a gap. So, when she asked me if I thought we should pick it up on the climbs – I was game. We started to climb well, but each little funky descent I’d awkwardly scoot through and Sarah would finesse over. She started to gain a little gap on me and then we hit the long downhill. I’d been running tubeless and loving running it low. This 25psi gave me great traction and comfort since I was running the hardtail here. It didn’t fare well though, when I hit a good drop at the beginning of the downhill. I somehow gashed open my tire and stan’s juice started spraying everywhere. I rotated it to the bottom and got it to seal. I didn’t realize yet that it was a gash. A passer by offered me a co2 – 2nd mistake – too much pressure when you’re trying to get this thing to seal up. This pretty much made things worse so it took a while to seal up again. Surprisingly, this got me in and I used the floor pump once back in the pit.
Everything seemed good for the next lap and a half, but then my rear tire started going flat again – at the time, I thought it was because I didn’t seal it up well, but it turns out I’d gashed it again! I had to face the inevitable and put a tube in – did I mention that I’m super stubborn and kept pumping the thing up with a mini pump along the route because I hate tubes! So, I finally put a tube in and went about 3 miles down the trail, then bashed the sucker on another rock – pinch flat right away! This time I thought I was screwed. I waited a little while for someone to come by and bummed a tube. I’d now lost about a half hour with this mess and the third place female came riding up. She was super generous to lend me a co2 when I know she was itching to try and take this break. I saw her leaving the pits as I was limping in. I knew I’d have to work to gain back 2nd and Sarah was now long gone. Christina worked hard to fight of the dog nipping at her heels, but I finally caught her halfway through lap 6. I think this fight wore her out as she stopped there.
The rest of my day was spent just enjoying this crazy trail. The fight for placement within the women’s field was over and the men seemed to be dropping like flies. Now, I just had to keep riding and I could place decent overall – hmmm… this seemed like good practice for my upcoming adventures!
As I was heading out on my last lap, the sun was getting low. I took a break in the pit and Sarah flew by – heading out on 9. I knew it would be slow lap as this course had tired me out plenty, so I didn’t even attempt to roll out with her. I just had to cruise one last lap and get in by dark – which was perfect.
I ended up in 2nd with the women, but it turned out that only one ss guy and Sarah got 9 laps and one geared guy came in from his 8th before me. Sweet – I ended up 4th overall. I can handle that. This race really was about endurance and just keeping on riding in the heat on this techy course. It was a good mental and physical prep for the Tour Divide. I realized that the last 3 weeks I’ve slacked severely on my core training and I really felt it – another lesson!