Much like the Mike Nosco ride earlier in the week the 12 Hours of Temecula mountain bike race was not on my radar but with the Everesting ride being delayed 5 weeks and Becca passing on her fall Marathon due to her collar bone this opened up to me.
It was never that it was going to be a race bit more of a long day in the saddle for me. Knowing what I know about Mountain Biking 12 hours on the trails would be around 100 miles. That would be if I managed to stay the entire duration. This would be the first time riding this duration of this race, the last time was the 6 hour race last June where I tapped out after 4:40. This time I had a much deeper cycling specific base having switched over the bike proper in April this year.
Becca and I headed out of town on the Friday to get as close to the race for Saturday morning. This meant we didn’t have to leave at the crack of dawn, the race site was about 2.5 hours from our home. Even though the race didn’t start until 9am getting there in good time meant we could stake out a pretty good site to the side of the course which would be home base for me to stop at each lap to refill.
The format of the race is simple, 12 hours, as many laps as you can. Start at 9am, finish at 9pm. Make sure you have your lights fitted by 4:30pm.
So with that, a low key briefing we were on our way. The first lap is called a parade lap and misses the first couple of miles of the actual course. This allows beginners to complete an entire lap without getting caught up with the general population. The course is an 8.5 mile loop with about 1000’ of gain. It basically a 4 loop cloverleaf course with the leaf being blown from the SE to the NW. Roughly anything NW was up and anything SE was down. The terrain varied from sandy fireroad to 12”singletrack strewn with rocks with a 50’ drop on one side! The grade maxed out around 27%...and that was going up!
The course had slightly changed from last some of it was easier and some was harder. On the whole most of it was fun in one way of another. For a loop I was able to ride about 80% of it, the remaining 20% was too steep to ride up or just too hairy to ride down. Once again I was humbled by other riders abilities to throw their bike off of a mountain and hang on till they landed. That’s just not in my skills base and as this wasn’t my main event it would serve no purpose in doing something silly and breaking either myself (or worse) the bike! There’s no doubt that with practice my skill and confidence would grow but MTB time this year has been next to nothing!
With all that said I still managed to crash two of three times. Fortunately all I picked up was a couple of choice bruises which are now turning several shades of yellow and purple!
This was also an opportunity to test out my Everesting lighting solution, I had 2 Bright Eyes CREE Spots on my bars and a Chinese knock off on my helmet, the lights worked out really well but I determined that they need diffusers to spread the beam rather that have it focused on one section of trail. This will be even more important on the road when the speed is greater.
In addition this was really a test of endurance and with that in mind I was pacing myself as best I could and ensuring that I was eating and drinking enough along the way. To be honest I went out a bit light but I improved my hydration as the day wore on and I was trying to drink a bottle a loop alternating Skratch Pineapple and Raspberry with a mix of BASE Amino powder. As I was able to stop every lap I didn’t feel the need to wear a CamelBak (actually mine is FOX, but you know what I mean). This was supplemented with a firm favorite Mexican Coke (real sugar) and Sprite. In terms of food, I stuck with real food with PB&J rolls and several other items from the Skratch Portables book. All of this worked really well and will be the foundation for the Everesting ride, I’ll be adding warm Apple Skratch during the dark sections…because well 45f!
I chipped away at the loops and the day passed by. I gained confidence as I went round and that helped with some of the trickier sections. Once the 6 Hour riders left the trail opened up and not having someone breathe down your neck helped too. I had set a mental goal of 10 in the 12 hours in total. This was adjusted as I got an understanding of the course and realized what I would have to navigate in the dark down to 8 laps. By the time I started my 7th lap the sun was setting and 3 miles in it had set. The lights worked great but as mentioned they need to have diffusers fitted. The other main taking away is that I need to bring my clear lens glasses, riding at speed in the dark without glasses just results in my eyes tearing and streaming…no fun! With that in mind and after discussing it with Becca I decided to call it after the 7th lap. 60 miles 7:57 moving time, 8:46 total time on course, so three hours longer riding time than last year! For reference these are my splits;
Fairly consistent all things considered.
One of last year’s takeaways was to change the set up on the bike and I have added a lockout for the shocks, this allows me to set the suspension rate on them depending on whether I was riding up or down or along. This is a simple lever on the bars and works great! It took a bit of time to get used to it and once I had the finger and thumb co-ordination figured out I was good to go. In much the same vein as last year I did spend my time in only 3 or 4 gears, again a complete waste of the 26-27 I wasn’t using. With this in mind the next change will be to make the change to a 1x10 set up which reduces complexity and weight!
Overall it was a good, solid day. As always Becca was there to support my craziness, cheering and taking photos throughout the day, hers are above. There were also a couple of Professional photographers on course, here are the best of their photos!
With less than 3 weeks to Everesting this was a good day’s worth of training.