Life is full of things to do, just beware of bitting off more than you can chew.
I was registered to do the 12hrs of Cranky Monkey this past Saturday as a singlespeed duo team with my teammate Tom.
Tom is one of our juniors and a really good bike rider, both on and off road. We were all psyched to do this race way back in early April. Fast forward to a week before the race and things start to unravel. First, my grandfather had fallen very ill and I wasn't sure if I would be able to race so I told Tom I would help him find another teammate. Second, Tom was now leading the Jr. 17-18 BAR competition and would have to miss a BAR points race the next day. I left it up to him, we could work it out with me doing more laps to keep him fresh for Sunday, but ultimately decided it was best for him to not race Cranky Monkey and be rested for the crit.
This left me with several choices, find a replacement teammate, race solo or not race at all. I tried searching for a teammate but everyone I was referred to was already racing solo. It's hard to find someone to commit to racing a 12hr race let alone on singlespeeds. So I was left with two choices and seeing that it was too late to get my entry fee back I decided to just race solo, how bad could it be?
Bad, very bad. Cranky Monkey is held on the Marine Corp training base at Quantico, VA. Of all the off road racing I've done in VA, unless you're west along the Appalachian's, the courses are flat to moderately rolling so I figured no problem racing SS for 12hrs. Well, the course turned out to be very singlespeed unfriendly in my opinion and was shared by some of the other solo SS riders as well. Fast descents into hard turns where you then then faced walls.
After the first lap I was already questioning my sanity and ability to finish 12hrs of this course in the hot and humid conditions. To make matters worse, I started the second lap without pitting and went out with a third of a water bottle for a 10.7 mile loop. By half way through the second lap my head was pounding, dehydration headache. I pitted after lap 2 and downed some Coke. I felt a bit better on lap 3 but not great. About a mile from the finish I flatted on a long gravel road section. Nystrom stopped to lend a hand as I had given my toolkit to Adam at the start of lap 1 when I saw him standing on the side of the trail on the first climb with a broken chain. As I go to inflate the tire and put it on the rim, I notice I have way more tube than required for a 26" wheel. I remove the tube only to discover it's a 700x35, WTF? Why do I even own this tire let alone carry it as my spare. Nystrom riding a 29er didn't have a tube so I rode in on the flat.
After about an hour or so of rest, rehydration and eating with Nystrom, Chris Larkin and Tony Vachino who were all racing SS solo as well, we decided to go out for another lap. Larkin was rolling and was already a lap ahead of us and Chris, Tony and myself were pretty much tied for 2nd although in time I was off a few minutes due the flat. Nystrom and I started our 4th lap together but less than a mile in I knew I was cooked. I struggled up every little rise and walked the steeper stuff. Soon some stomach cramps kicked in and the headache was back with a vengeance. After a crash in the last few miles I decided it was over. I couldn't concentrate on the downhills and I wasn't about to hauled away for dehydration or heat exhaustion or some horrific crash. At the end of my lap I turned in my key fob tracker and resigned myself to the tent to rest up for the trip home.
I definitely think I bit off a bit more than I could chew and that my appetite for suffering was larger than my ability to swallow the pain it brought.