Written by John Sumner Thursday, 06 October 2016 00:00
This was my 5th year racing at Bradbury Mountain. I have been consistently riding throughout the winter/spring/summer so I found myself to be in unusually great shape.
The race course was adjusted for 2016 and in my opinion became easier. Nonetheless, this course is notoriously bumpy with many rocks and roots to avoid, so being a local I was fortunate to know the lines on the sections from the years spent riding the trails. However, there were a couple areas that were unfamiliar such as Regan and Fox woods.
There are several race categories to choose from, single, two person, three person and four person. Fellow Bikeman teammate Teddy Homer and I were racing in the two Man Sport category with five other teams to battle with.
The race began at 8am sharp. Being a tag team and 7.5 mile laps, I did not carry a water bottle, only a CO2 pump, tube and tire irons. I wanted to stay light.
After Pat, the race organizer recollected on the decade of the B12, with a bowl of oatmeal and cup of coffee in the tank, fresh legs with 4 hours of sleep. (Due to an unexpected journey to Rochester, NY late in the week), I was off laying the foundation for our team.
Having quickly caught up to several riders within the first mile who were unfamiliar with the trails and not knowing the lines, It was fun to navigate past them all over the course but it did take a bit out of my lap time. It was here that I was surprised at those two sections of the course that I did not train on, one was really windy, fast, and smooth single track, the other rattled my fillings set back in the 80's!
Around 10am, I caught up with a guy who stuck with me after I passed him, we worked together for most of the second half of the course and pushed each other. I posted my personal fastest lap ever at Bradbury; 43:33. I was very happy to achieve a PR. I spent most of the day in the 40's so I was thrilled with how I performed!
On the next lap, Teddy struggled with a deflating tire and this cost us about six to seven minutes. We now had a deficit to contend with and were facing tough competition and realized the podium may not be a reality.
I spent the day riding, fueling and resting at the Bikeman tent with Ryan Rumsey, Ryan Littlefield and Jason Grossi. It was great to spend time with like minded cool people all day! My SRAM drivetrain was flawless and the Schwalbe Racing Ralphs were awesome!
Everyone has their struggles at events like this and hearing about it adds to the entertainment. Midday, we all were starting to feel the result of leaving it on the course. I downed some Advil and drank Heed. However, I found my lap times progressively increasing and I could feel the elevation gain of only 365 feet become more strenuous as the day carried on. We further slid from 2nd to 4th place.
Overall, I was happy with our performance despite our challenges and was glad to not wreck on the bridge on Fox East which I carried way too much speed into and rode the razors edge around the corner. Despite fatigue and back pain, I found myself having fun on each lap.
Being in the woods bombing the same trail over and over never got old, even my sloppy slow final 'night' lap was a blast! I now can brag that I followed Derek Treadwell "Tred" down to Batcave, that guy is so fast, but at least I stuck with him when gravity was my co-pilot!
Gear Works Productions and Pat Hackleman have been organizing this venue for a decade now. They do a great job and the race is capped at 300 entrants. The schwag bag included a t-shirt, free voucher for a burrito, Hammer samples, and Power Shots. The calypso style band was interesting and was a great distraction to the challenges of the day.
Try the 12 hours of Bradbury, you'll like it!
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