Not a race report as I wasn't racing. It was interesting to be at a 24 in the support role. I haven't actually done that before and it was high time to pay my 24 hour support dues. Thanks to everyone who came by the pit and helped
Moab really is a carnival as much as a race. I've always been in a race bubble at Moab so enjoyed all the carnival aspects this time around. Here is Granny handing out balloons at the start.
View of the herd lining up minutes before the start. Chris Etough is hanging out with his mechanic by his bike and didn't go up to the crowd until 1 minute to go. He looked cool and relaxed 100% of the time. He had casual pit stops and rode to a tactical win. On the women's side Jari Kirkland rode an amazing race killing the entire men's and women's field except for Chris. He was the only solo in front of her at noon on Sunday. We were pitted right next to Jari and I spied on her the whole race. She didn't falter. She was on a different plane to everyone else at Moab this year.
Stampede -bandanna over the mouth highly recommended
Chili peppers?? Here are Dave and Josh Tostado. Josh cracked and stopped sometime around sunset in 2nd place. Dave took over 2nd place and cracked about 1:30am. Lots of attrition in both the men's and women's solos this year. More than usual. The course was slow and sandy and hard.
I have photos of some solos at the cracking point with fear and pain on their faces so personal I don't feel I can post them... Here is Mary after she pulled the plug. Mary always is cute...
So why is Moab so hard? Why do so many solos suffer and crack there? The course is certainly one of the hardest to solo with the steep slick rock sections demanding L6 power or you are walking. The sand this year was energy sucking too. The dryness of this year was a stark contrast to the flash floods of last year.
My personal theory is that timing is what is the kicker for Moab solos. It is at the end of the season. Solos are mostly carrying a depth of fatigue beyond what they perceive. They are used to feeling tired - fatigue levels have normalized. In 24-solo racing there is a big difference in being fast and in having the ability to complete it. It is a delicate balance of hard training and freshness on race day. Give up too much fitness in the taper and you will be slow vs. arrive at the race site with underlying fatigue and you will crack somewhere between 8 and 13 hours in. I saw lots of cracking in the solo field at Moab last weekend which is classic fatigue from a season of racing. World Champion Rebecca Rusch soloed Moab and put in a respectable 12 laps but far below her potential. I know she soloed Nationals, Worlds, Grand Targhee and Moab this year - that's a lot! Judging by her face near dawn it was one too many...