Wednesday, June 6, 2012

24 hours- Spokane Round and Round Part I

I spent Memorial Day weekend with four teammates at Riverside State Park in Spokane, doing our first ever 24 hour mountain bike relay race.  This particular race has been on my radar since I learned how to ride a mountain bike, and I was thrilled to finally have a critical mass of people in my life who are crazy enough to undertake this kind of madness.  The format was to ride as many 15-mile laps as possible in a 24 hour period, from noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday.  We were nutty enough doing it on a team of five riders, but there were 50+ other uber-nuts who signed up to do the race SOLO.

Approximately three fifths of our team, dubbed the Boadcious Booties and Bulging Beer Bellies, departed Seattle mid morning on Friday, packing Tyler's Volvo station wagon to the tippy top with gear. We even had a four-bike hitch rack on the back.  JillyB's fancy Indy Fab went on the outside slot, which made me a little nervous, being the nicest of all our bikes by a factor of at least 5, and considering how low the wagon was riding.  Luckily, all the bikes (and riders) arrived unscathed after a smooth, uneventful, sunny drive across eastern WA.  We rolled into camp around 3:30pm to find an expansive scene of RV's, tents, bike racks, camp chairs, and very fit, muscly people packed in tight like sardines. Like burning man, but with Gu and Nuun instead of acid and magical cookies (and spandex instead of fuzzy mini skirts and kilts). The race directors directed us to the back of the camping area, and because Tyler boldy wove the Volvo between the trees into the woods, we scored a huge wooded area with virtually no one else around (great for letting the dogs loose, and for tired racers trying to catch some quiet time between laps).

Lupines and Arrowleaf balsamroot were in full bloom.

JillyB getting ready for a pre-ride

We did a quick trip into town for some groceries, then got suited up for a late afternoon course pre-ride.

I was elated to be back on these trails, the familiar lines upon which I first learned to ride knobbies so many years ago (in my jr. high school years, actually).  The weather was sunny and crisp, and twilight lingered for hours, as it does near the 49th parallel in June. It felt so good to let go of the brakes and let it all go on the smooth, wide open trails and vistas here- such a refreshing contrast to the control required for the technical, damp rootiness of Western Washington trails.
Home, sweet home.  I miss this place!

Tyler and Leslie enjoying the views.
While most of the course was smooth and wide open, there were some notably technical sections, aptly named "Devils Up," a short, steep, rocky technical uphill, and "Devils Down."  At Riverside, "technical" means rocky, which I really love.

I wasn't sure I would make it to the top of Devil's Up, but I scooted to the front of my saddle, shifted to my granny gear, and spun my cranks like a wind up toy, looking for a clear line between the rocks.  To my surprise, I squeaked up and over the top without stopping.  Whew!  It felt good, but I was skeptical about whether I'd make it up that in a race situation.

The course continued over a short section before Devil's Down, a loose, chaucy section that required good line picking skills.

Here's a shot of a mtb tandem couple (what?  they are crazy) doing the Devil's Down section.  Many people  walked this. 
I rode this much more confidently, picking my way through the top, committing to a line, then letting go of the brakes to sail across the bottom.  The chute out of Devil's Down opened up to a glorious, wide open ridge ride through an old forest fire burn.  The race organizers named this section "Strawberry Fields Forever," and I was excited to know this song would be my midnight refrain as I attacked this section of course in the night time.

After our ride, we settled in to camp, made some dinner, and got a few hours of shut-eye before the rest of the Bodacious Booties rolled in around midnight.  After a few more bleary eyed hours, the sun found us around 5 am.  The dogs were up, so I was too.  I snuck out of camp to do a quick last-minute supply run, and was back just as the rest of the Booties were getting out of bed.  We unloaded more camping supplies from the pickup- a bike rack, tables, a fire pit, camp chairs- and set up.  Dave, our # 1 relay man, got changed and ready to go- the Bodacious Booties were ready to race!

Erin, one of our fantastic cheerleaders/ volunteers/ bad asses.

Check out these Bodacious Booties and Bellies!  Even Chase is getting into the goofiness.  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Looks like it was a blast! I want to do a 24 race!