Nothing beats racing with friends!
Saturday June 11-12, 2011
This past weekend was the 24 hours of Pat’s Peak in Henniker, NH. Celebrating it’s 10th season as a whole mountain biking weekend. With Saturday having 6, 12 and 24 hour races and Sunday hosting one of the stops on the Root 66 Series. A group of 5 of us entered the 24 hour Coed Division. The best part about this team setup was the fun factor! I got to race with my twin brother, a friend of 20+ years, a friend of 7+ years, and a new friend whom I met about a year ago. All of us share the same mindset of racing, that it should be fun! No stress, no yelling, just have a good time.
We entered as “Team Paycheck” meaning that our jobs are our sponsors. All of us are “former” serious racers of one sort or another. But with a mix of jobs, kids, house payments, 40+ hour work weeks, schooling, etc. We all race at a much different level than say 5-7 years ago. I joked that the team name should have been “Not as fast as we used to be”.
On Wednesday leading up to the race the forecast was looking pretty darn sweet. It had called for mid 70’s and clouds for most of the weekend with just a slight chance of showers. Paul and I along with our friend Brett who was doing the 12 hour solo race pre-rode a nice dry and fairly fast course on Tuesday……It’s amazing what a few short days can do to a weather forecast…..
Saturday ended up raining like you would not believe. It turned this 5 mile course into a total mess. It also blew our estimated lap times out the window.
Camping for the 24 hour people ended up being in a large field off to the side of the main ski mountain. We had to setup a pretty quick base of operations in hard rain. We had hoped to use the tarps as cover from the sun. Instead they ended up being our locations to stay dry.
The race starts out with a Le Mans style start. Paul kicked it off as rider # 1. We had decided to do 2 laps each. In our original estimate that would have meant at most about 1.5 hours until the next rider. Given the weather conditions and course conditions it ended up being more closer to 1:45-2 hours between riders.
Paul got great position after the Le Mans start and stayed out of a massive pileup that took down several dozen riders about 10 minutes into the race. It’s a blast to race with my twin brother.
Aaron was our 2nd leg rider. Good strong rider and stepped in at the last minute after we lost a guy to a broken wrist. He did not know until late on Tuesday that he would be doing a 24 hour race that weekend.
Melody was next in the lineup as rider # 3. I am a firm believer that having a fast woman is the key to a successful coed team. Melody is crazy fast on a bike and to top it off a total sweetheart too!
Scott was our 4th leg. One of Paul and my oldest friends. Freestyle has the sickest bike handling skills of any guy I know. He just floats over the technical stuff and when he is “slow and out of shape” as he puts it, he is still very fast.
I was 5th guy on the list. So Paul and I ended up book ending our teammates. Based on the estimated laps times we drew up on Thursday I figured my first laps would be around 5-5:30 PM. Turns out it was closer to 7pm and I ended my 2nd lap just around 9pm.
We got through 2 whole cycles of the crew and it ended up with Paul having to head out for a 3rd time and Aaron got in one more laps to end the race at noon on Sunday.
We ended up winning our division and ended up with some cool prizes from S&W and Pat’s Peak!
The tough weather and course conditions combined to make this one of the slowest races I have ever done, but also close to one harder and more rewarding events too.
I can’t end this without thanking Jay Hauser, Shannon Rhodes, and Steve Rhodes for their support during the race. Cooking steak tips and eggs at 3 AM, glazed donuts and coffee, rinsing bikes and keeping track of lap times and who was on deck. We could not have done it without you guys!
GPS data of my laps
Thanks for reading!!!!!!