If last weekend was any indication of what racing with 92Fifty’ Cyclery is going to be like, I’m a happy camper; literally. In a last-minute foray into the unknown and unplanned-for, unprepared as we were, Kyle Taylor and I loaded up the 92Fifty’ camper and headed deep into the southwestern Utah desert. The event was 25 Hours in Frog Hollow, the longest “one-day” race. Neither one of us knew what we were getting ourselves into; probably for the better. I had originally planned on racing on a 4-man team until about 3 days prior, when plans fell through and racing on a duo team was my only option. Kyle was planning (loosely) on racing solo. Each of our “plans” resided around the fact that neither one of us had ridden our bikes very much in the past couple of months, with absolutely zero real “training” leading up to this mega event. Since the flooding hit Boulder in September my riding has been reduced to small ventures up to Nederland for fun rides and hot laps around Betasso Preserve above Boulder. Even these were few and far between. I had been implementing Yoga into my “training” routine. Not too sure if a month of doing Yoga is proper training for a 25-hour race, but there was no turning back now.
We left 92Fifty’ Cycles in Blackhawk, Colorado on Thursday afternoon and headed for Fruita. It was about the halfway point, and we couldn’t pass up riding out there. On Friday morning we rode some of the 18 Road trails, each of us dying to stay out there and ride all day; kids in a candy store. We knew we better not push it, so forced ourselves to call it a day after about 2 hours and headed further West for Hurricane/St. George.
My duo teammate for the race was Josh Bezecny. I met him for the first time on Friday evening. I didn’t know much about Josh, but had been told that he was really fast and competitive, which was all the inspiration I needed to take this thing a little more seriously. Kyle and I finished off the last of our Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA's and called it a night.
The race started on Saturday morning under perfectly clear blue skies and cool temperatures. Josh led out the first lap and I anxiously awaited my turn. Before I knew it he was coming around to the start/finish with only one guy ahead of him! Damn, this meant I better be fast! I went out hard but still conservatively, just using this first lap to learn the course. My lungs were feeling that ever-present XC-full-gas-burn early on, which was something they hadn’t felt for a while. After climbing up singletrack and service road, dipping into and out of washes and gulleys for about 25 minutes, you get to the JEM trail, where the real fun begins. From here you get a solid 20 minutes of all out, big-ring crushing, stupid-fast and flowy buff desert singletrack. On this first lap, going into the only technical section of the trail, I took a sweet over-the-bars face plant as my front tire got stuck trying to make a switchback and catapulted me into the air. I laughed it off and got back with it, only realizing later that I had bashed my right knee pretty good. The rest of the lap was more a feeling out process: super-fast JEM trail, a little service road, some technical and ridiculously slow (and frustrating) rock gardens, a few steep singletrack climbs, and ending with an all-out riding-on-rails descent into the finish. I came around in 50:01, besting Josh’s 50:51 first lap time. He put in an even faster second lap, and I was feeling ready to do the same. Having a teammate push and inspire me was a great feeling. On the second lap I went out strong and was feeling great. Poised to put in a sub-50-minute lap I had my head down on the opening climb and missed my turn, only realizing after I was a few miles up the road. After turning back and hammering, I finally got back to the course after losing about 15 minutes. So much for a super fast lap. Even though I lost a bunch of time, in my second go-around of the JEM trail I was railing it noticeably faster than I had previously, hammering my largest gear and barely touching the brakes. Adrenaline was pumping out of every pore. I put in a 1-hour second lap; not too bad after losing so much time. The rest of the race was mostly a blur. Short, fast, and super fun laps, followed by not-enough rest time (usually only about 30 minutes after undressing, eating, then redressing and getting ready again), rinse and repeat. I did get lucky enough to get the sunset and sunrise laps! The sunset lap was amazing, as colors changed drastically on the high mesas surrounding this beautiful area. Into the night we went, and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees. All of my night rest-periods were spent in the van with heat blowing on me. It got real weird as the night progressed. Not seeing or talking to anyone for hours, in a state of sleeplessness and adrenaline-fueled action, and ripping singletrack in the dark desert made for an interesting experience. I really loved the night laps. I was able to stay mostly positive and was feeling great physically throughout, something I can’t explain given my lack of time on the bike in the previous months. Josh and Kyle were both huge inspirations to me. Josh kept putting in fast lap times, and pushing me to do the same. At one point about halfway through the night we were ahead of all the 4-man and 5-person teams! Kyle kept pushing on and staying positive lap after lap, which gave me no excuse not to do the same. In the end Josh and I walked away with the Duo victory, and had the chance the set the new Duo lap record with 25 laps, had either of us wanted to go out again! Kyle, on the other hand, did set the new Solo Male lap record with 22 laps! Crazy and inspiring what he was able to do. Josh and I each logged about 150-miles of fast-paced racing.
|Kyle Taylor: 1st Solo Male|