All I can say is “WOW” what a fun way to end the race season!
Because of shift work and home renovations, my final big race of the season was going to be another 24-hour solo event. Chico Racing puts on two 24-hour events a year, Summer Solstice and Hot August Night, as well as other Mountain Bike events.
Hot August Night is held in Bolton, Ontario and runs from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, although it may have been a tad hot, but no complaints since the three previous 24-hour events had been spoiled with rain. They set up a course that was fun for all riding abilities. There were some awesome fast single tracks, as well as some technical down hills, and yes — a lot of climbing.
The course was approximately 16 KM long with a wonderful bunch of spectators and riders at the transition area to cheer everybody on when they came through. It is amazing how friendly and supportive total strangers can be at these races. It is great to see so many people involved in the sport, either participating or watching. It is also wonderful to see so many young kids getting out and involved in the sport.
I was feeling pretty good the day of the race considering I had been lacking time in the saddle. I was going to have fun, no matter what. Well, I loaded up my Osprey Raptor 10 with water, threw a bottle in the cage and set off for the start line. The start is always interesting, as you feel like a herd of cattle.
It was a fun first lap but I think we all learned how hot it really was and that we would need to start to pace ourselves. It’s fine when you are on a team but when you are riding solo you tend to get caught up in the excitement and can hit a wall pretty quick.
By about 8 p.m., it was time to throw the light system on the bike. I use a Maxx D on my bars and a joystick on my helmet and I find they give plenty of light. It is a totally different feel riding in the dark. I can’t believe how much the trails seem to change at night, but the feeling is amazing.
I was hoping during the night laps I would be able to pick up a few spots. There weren’t a lot of solo female riders this time around. Sometime during the early morning, I managed to move up to third. With the support of Gary Brown, my pit crew guy who motivated me to go back for another lap when I wanted to stop, I managed to maintain third spot. By 10:30 a.m., I had 12 laps in, which was enough to hold on to third. Having so many people cheering you on as you pass them on the course also helps you get through each lap.
To prove you are never too old to start riding… I am 43 yrs old and have only been riding for three years. I started by joining a club so I could get introduced to the sport and learn how to ride the trails. My goal was to do an 8-hour solo race. And I have to admit, with my first club ride I wondered what I had got myself into. But I stuck to it, and I am glad I did. I am not a fast rider, but I have determination which helps me get through the 8-hour and 24-hour races I compete in. I set a goal for myself and that is what is important for me. The biggest thing is to go out and have fun and be active. What I have got from this sport is the support and friendship of other riders. Three years of riding have changed my life in so many good ways and I have met so many wonderful people.
I want to thank everybody that volunteers at these events because without your help, these events wouldn’t be possible. Also, thanks to all the spectators that cheer everybody on. Last, but not least, special thanks to Osprey, who introduced me to a hydration pack that was instrumental in my racing success and survival.
I look forward to next season with bigger goals.
More photos available at: http://racedayrush.zoomphoto.ca/eventgallery/13247/1/