Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Moab 24

I last competed in the 24 Hours of Moab in 2000. I raced on a Coed Pro team, Schwinn/Jamba Juice. We went in with the intention of winning, trained our butts off, and raced for the entire 24 hours. Strategy, full on hard efforts, racing, it was all there. Also there was the fights with teammates, legs on fire, chafed ass on fire, and mental anguish (head on fire) associated with racing for 24 hours. We made money but I vowed to not ever again "race" in 24 Hours of Moab.

The last several years have afforded me the option to participate in a number of teams, but I declined all options. The memories of 24 hour torture haunted me and I had no inkling to want to suffer like that again. Until this year. I can't remember exactly who did the cajolling, but in the end, myself and fellow Redstoners Art, Jason, and Chris were packed up and headed to Moab for the 14th edition. We were all under the very strict understanding that we were there for fun. All competitive drives would be washed away by beer. Fun only.

The fun came to a screaching halt as soon as we rolled into the venue. The desert winds seemed to be blowing 500 miles per hour as we tried to set up camp. Setting up took about twice as long as it should have. It took 3 of us to set up Art's dome tent that we would use for hq. Thanks again for bringing the 2x4 firewood, too, Chris. It was perfect. In years past, we camped closer to the scoring tent and staging area. This year, though, we opted for the wind protection of the trees further up the hill.

It was time to preride the course. Chris and I had done many, many laps in the past, but it was a new experience for Jason and Art. I put on new shoes for the occasion. These Pearl Izumi X Alp Enduros were my last set of prototype freebies. Good fitting and shiny, they lacked the black finish and good looks of the production versions.
This was also the last trip for the 5 Spot. I made sure to enjoy every last minute.
Chris leads us out on the course. Desert and mountains, pretty stuff. Them thar LaSal Mountains are tall, too. Couple of the big ones are over 12k.
The course nears the "Behind the Rocks" WSA. There's lots of freaky looking things in the Moab desert.
There's also a fiersome sandy hike on course, too. Guess that meant we were mountain biking after all :)
And slickrock. Slickrock happens in Moab. This is at the far point on the course. The big cliff/rock you see is Prostitute Butte.
Friday ended up being a great day. The sunset was beautiful. The race starts at noon on Sat, the next day. Time to party!
The moon was bright. The course would be naturally well lit the following night.
The course isn't the only thing well lit. Art wasn't the only one either.

We climbed up the cliff behind camp. It was like we were looking down on Lyons from the L. This was tent city. The brightest light was the jumbotron near the scoring tent.
Ah, no mountain bike trip is complete without a visit from our nomad friend, Whiskey Dave. Or Fixie Dave. Or Fixed Whiskey Dave. This is his bike as he has it outfitted for randomly touring the western US. Fixed gear rigid fork 29er. Dave couldn't find a handlebar bag to his liking so he mounted a kitty litter box. Dave says it can handle anything he can throw at it. Dave left after several samples of Stranahan's finest. Whiskey of course. It was time for bed now.
The riders meeting the next day was kind of brutal. The wind was howling by now, the strongest it'd been all weekend. It wasn't cold, but everyone had their winter coats on to protect from the wind. Lucky me, I got to go first.
My lap was good. I had the running lap. The race starts with a LeMan's style start, meaning you have to run to your bike. You run 200 yards down the desert, around a 12' tall bush, and back to your bikes. My running fitness ensured that I would get out onto the starting road at about 200 of 360 racers. Did I mention that I suck at running?
I ended up with my first lap being 1hr, 18 min. Chris was next. He clicked off a fast one, too, before rolling in to hand the baton to Jason.
We were all pretty fresh at this point, seeing how it was all of our first lap. Jason had a smile as he left to go out on course.
I didn't get a pic of Art as he left to ride but I got a pic of the aftermath. Art was realizing after lap 1 that this would not be an entirely easy affair.
That's about all the race recap I've got on film. Basically, if you see our time, you'll notice a 4 hour or so delay around 4am. That's when we all opted for sleep over competition. The next morning, we all go up about the same time, ate breakfast together (beef and pepper fajitas with eggs, heck yeah) and sent Jason out on course. After Jason's lap, Art went out for his last one. Art came in at 11:26am so we still had plenty of time to take in another lap. We decided that 3 laps each was good, though, and we refocused on having fun.
I had to take this pic for perspective. Art was easily the tallest of us and he chose to sleep in his girls play tent. Way to go, family man. Jason poses here with the kiddy tent.
Did I mention that we lost focus easily? Race was over, it was time to relax.
I've been around a while and have seen a lot of bikes. This one caught my eye in the staging area. I've never seen a KTM bicycle before. I suspected that the motorcycle giant had something manufactured for them by a factory like KHS, Fuji, or Hodaka, but the head badge read "Made in Austria." Good on you KTM. Got to keep those moto guys happy even when they're pedaling.

Tinker was steadfast as usual. 2nd place solo behind the mighty fast Josh Tostado. Chris Eatough finished a dissapointing 32nd in the men's solo. Anybody know what happened to him?

We asked, but she was referring to someone else.
We hotelled it on Sunday night, which was a good call. No one was in any shape to drive across the state. We were all pretty tired. We wrapped it up with beers and margaritas at a local mexican place.
Monday was good. Anytime you get out on Mary's Loop in Fruita is good. We only had time for a quickie, though.
Just over an hour on Mary's and Rustlers. Good times indeed. I always seem to forget how the trails are smoove like butter there. Yum.
Duck! Chris finally learned how to throw the boomerang that he's had for years.

That's it. Moab 24. Be warned, though. We're doing a few teams next year ;)


Cellarrat said...

Good Times indeed!

jrog said...

Couldnt have had a better "mancation", a little compition, overcoming some odds and elements, biking, and a lot of laughs. Next year...RV

MG said...

nice job guys. i'm proud of you for sticking to your guns and not making it a competitive affair. i also found it more than slightly amusing that you finished one position ahead of the "that's what she said" team. i wonder if i know those guys?

anyway, great ridin', and keep up the good work having maximum fun rippin it up on two fat tires!


Victoria Crum said...

That Art--isn't he awesome!
Lots of love from IL!!