24-Hour Solo World Championship Race Report

While indulging in some out-of-hand pre-race smack talk I mentioned I wasn’t going to Worlds to do any learning…LOL!! ooops… Winner Rebecca Rusch taught me a couple of lessons and I re-taught myself a few things I thought I already knew. So I don’t get to say this week I am the best in the World – those kudos go to Rebecca who rode a strong and smart race.

I rode a tough race and I am proud of myself for that. Conditions were hot and the amount of climbing was huge – 2500 feet per lap. I finished with 14 laps and 35,000 feet of climbing. Bernice rode a tough race too. We chatted a little in the morning and riding along she sang out with a smile”I’m suffering and I’ll just keep on suffering”. She suffered herself all the way up into 6th place. Tenacity gets you a long way in a 24-solo. She also said it was motivating to have her coach on course and she couldn’t quit with me there watching. Glad I provided that extra motivation on the day.

Bern is off to live in Alaska for 3 months as part of a reality TV show filmed by Discovery Channel. She will be living off the land with no electricity, no running water, hunting and fishing for food. I have no doubt she is tough enough.

So the race…. I racked my bike on the front row. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not but Rebecca racked hers almost next to mine. Or maybe I racked mine by hers?

The run was ugly fast and furious. Uphill, around a tree and downhill on pavement. Luv running downhill on pavement in my cycling shoes. On the way down a big guy stumbled into me and spun me right around. I twisted my right knee a little but didn’t fall. No biggie tho…

I’ve never met Rebecca and hadn’t eyeballed her up to this point. This pic amuses me. We get to our bikes exactly the same time. Was she shadowing me?? Don’t know…

The next 6 hours or so we were wheel to wheel or very close. We chatted some, worked together some and pulled away from the rest of the field. After 5 hours we even had a pee truce, stopped together, gave a few guys a double show, got back on the bikes and started racing again – that was funny.

On lap 1 we were 2nd/3rd. On lap 2 we passed a hot looking Monique Sawicki flailing around in the sand. I was quite pleased by that as she was a pre-race favorite. We worked together to put a big gap on her.

This is my fav part of the course:

…and my least fav. We went over this bridge twice per laps so I tallied 28 trips over it.

On lap 5 the knee I twisted in the run started to hurt enough to become a management issue. Rebecca came through to take a pull on the road section into the headwind and gapped me without trying real hard. She looked back confused for just a second then smelled it and hammered off out of the saddle. I was done :-(

Every lap my knee got a bit worse and eventually I was putting painkillers in my mouth that would have gotten any of my athletes pulled off the course if I witnessed it… By midnight I was mostly pedaling with my left leg only. The trip over the bridge became a teeth gritting nightmare. I have saddle sores on the left side like I have never experienced before – ugly stuff.

By dawn my pit crew had figured out the soonest I could stop to seal up second place. Energywize I still had a ton left in the morning and it was frustrating not to be able to spend it but to continue to damage my knee further was fruitless. The last lap was agony and I would have cried if Dave told me to go out for another one when I came in after lap 14.

Lights: Amazing! I had so many comments on course at night about how bright they were. The dark didn’t slow me down. We set up my helmet light all spots and the throw on it was incredible. Luminosity. One Aussie I came up on shouted out “you have waaay too much light on that bike”. The folks around the course writing down number plates said “oh no you again, what’s your number” I was so bright they couldn’t read my number plate. Burning retinas…

Pit crew: Dave, Andy, Dan and Kathleen were more than superb. Thanks guys. Thanks a million. It was over-the-top for me to have so many people focused on me. Being a mom and wife I am nearly always in the doing things for others position. Mega kudos go to Andy. After the race I saw a blown fork on the ground “hey Andy who’s fork is that?” Andy chuckles “it is yours – seamless huh!”. He was so slick I didn’t even notice a new fork on my bike!

Worlds was great. I had a race. I loved it. Then it was tough and I gutted out a second place finish. I’d love to go back again. It was darn hard to peak for tho’. Training in the St George desert heat with the kids out of school for the summer wasn’t easy. Next year I think I’ll put my biggest peak near the end of May.

My knee is getting better – wicked tendinitis is the diagnosis.