Early on Saturday morning Ryan and I packed up and headed south to Missouri to Crowder State Park for the Rapture in Misery 6/12. We were going to attack this thing as a duo team in the 12 hour event. This was going to be my first time trying anything like this but I thought that I could hammer out laps if I was taking turns with Ryan.
After the 4 hour drive we arrived at the race venue with a little under 2 hours to get ready. By the time we registered (luckily the 12 hour like was incredibly shorter than the 6 hour line) we started to get our pit area set up and then it was time to get the nutrition and bikes ready and then get changed for the riders meeting. We decided that I would do the first lap.
At the riders meeting they explained a bit about the different sections of the 9.2 mile course and they made it sound pretty rough. After the meeting I got my biked placed in the transition area and headed over to were they had us line up for they were lining us up for the le mans style start. I was a bit worried about the run but I was hoping that I could make it towards the front and get out without much trouble.
When they sent us off I got to the bike in about the first 1/2 of riders but we had a long mowed section through a field before entering the singletrack that I were I was able to get around a whole bunch of people. When we entered the singletrack I quickly realized what they were talking about when they called it the boneyard. I had never seen rocks like that before. People all around me were off their bikes and it was rough. I have to admit I was ultra intimidated and was having a really hard time getting through it. After that the trail just kept taking hits at me with all of the hard stuff, more rocks, roots, off-camber switchbacks into climbs and everything else you could think of. The trail was also slick from some rain that they had the night before not making the rocks any easier to get through and making some of the descents treachorous. Plus I definitely did not have the right tire on and just couldn't get any traction on the trail. On one descent I had to just barely touch my brakes because a rider in front of me slowed and I went straight down.
After I finished the first lap I tagged out with Ryan and went to switch my front tire from the conti race king to a conti mountain king. When Ryan finished his lap and I went back out with the tire change and the trail having dried a bit it was completely different. I was able to really hit the trail and was able to make up some time and I was able to pass a ton of other riders. It felt good to be able to hammer it on the climbs were most people were walking and I was able to ride straight up. Everything was going great on the lap until towards the end of it when I went to take a drink out of my bottle on a straight section and must have moved when I tilted my head back and I was instantly on the ground. Hard. I was able to collect myself and get moving again but my left arm was killing me when I went down. When I finished the lap and switched out with Ryan I went back to the pit area to try and recover and get myself ready to go.
As I went out for my third lap Ryan and I had been sitting in third place for most of the race by now and I was looking to set a good time. I had a crash in the rocky "boneyard" at the beginning but managed to get myself going but the new problem became my big and middle chainrings. Paul my mechanic at the shop told me they were bad but I thought I would be able to make it through this race but when I was in either the big or middle ring the chain just skipped constantly so I ended up having to ride the rest of the lap and the race in the small ring which really hurt me on the flat sections.
The fourth lap went well but my fifth lap would be my first lap with the lights on. I had never ridden at night before and didn't know what to expect. I had some daylight left and was hoping to be able to get through the boneyard before it was too dark but right after the first first little bitty rock section my front tire went flat. I change tires pretty fast but when I can barely see it takes a bit longer. After I got going again I just felt slow. I only had one light on my head and was having a hard time seeing. I can definitely see the benefit of having a light on your head and on your bike. The lap took forever and the team that was in fourth had made up some time on us.
When I went look at the screen (yeah they had live up to date lap times and positions the whole race, very pro) I saw that the 4th place team was still battling it out with us and I knew I was going to be having to go out again. When I left I wasn't feeling very good. I hadn't been fueling very well and I wasn't moving very fast plus I was having trouble getting used to seeing things in the dark. And just couldn't get through the technical trail as quickly as I would have liked. About a third of the way through the lap I saw a light behind me and it looked like the sun was coming up behind me and when the rider past me I realized it was the 4th place (now 3rd place) team member. We were just coming up to a climb and I new that I would be able to out climb him and my plan was to try to stay with him since I had a hard time seeing when he was behind me. When we hit the climb I was about half way up when I felt my front tire go flat again. I couldn't beleive it. Then I realized that I had a tube but no way to air it up. I had blown both of my co2 cartridges on the last flat and I forgot to grab my hand pump from Ryan. Luckily there was an aid station just up the trail a bit and I just rode my flat until I got to hit hoping they had a pump.
When I got to the aid station I asked if the 2 guys there had a pump and neither of them said they did. I was screwed. Then one of the guys realized he had one on his bike in his truck. The problem was it was the tiniest pumps ever made and it took me forever to change the tire. I think took me somewhere around 20 minutes to get enough air into the tire to make sure it didn't pinch flat on the rough trail. I finished the lap right as they were blowing the horn saying no one else could go out for a lap.
In the end Ryan and I lost a podium spot cause of my 2 flat tires. It was a bit frustrating but that is mountain biking. We had a great time at the race and we definitely plan on doing it again. I did learn a couple of things. 1st was to bring lots of clothes. It was muggy and I my kit was wet most of the time and the best thing was when I changed my bibs to a dry pair but that only lasted for about 15 minutes. The worst part was putting on my wet jersey when I was getting ready for the next lap. 2nd lesson was to eat better. I did not fuel the best and just need to remember to keep the nutrition going in .
Ryan and I were both super excited after the race and I think it will defiitely be something we plan on doing more of next season.