Written by Jason Mahokey Sunday, 15 May 2005 00:00
Got to Lodi Farms about 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon. We found a camping space right along the trail near the check in/out tent and Tom went to work setting up camp like only Tom knows how.
I went out for a pre ride on my hard tail and the trails were dry, dusty, fun and FAST! When I got back to camp I cleaned up and got settled in. More racers were pouring in to the camp area and setting up camp as I started making dinner.
Just as I finished eating the winds kicked up and it proceeded to thunderstorm for 2 hours or so. I tried to sleep for a couple hours until the riders meeting at 10:30 p.m. After that it was back to the tent to strap on the Bikeman.com kit and get lights, gels and drinks ready for the start.
11:55 - Tom took the bike up to the start line. Racers had the option of laying bike down or having a team member hold it. I chose for Tom to hold it. I went down near the creek about 50 yards from the start to get in line for the Midnight Lemans start. At Midnight the EMS trucks siren goes off to mark the start and hundreds of racers sprint to their bikes. I grabbed my bike from Tom and headed down the double track in one of the lead pack of riders. Things started to back up as racers funneled across a 3 ft. wide bridge to get to the single track. Then we all settled in on the single track in a long line of racers. People were "mooing" and making cattle calls. Since we looked like herded cattle. The pace was pretty good and there we're only a couple minor dismounts due to people spinning out on the wet roots. The soil was not that bad but the roots were darn slick.
First lap took a little over an hour. My pit was right along the trail near the check in tent, but I had no need to stop for anything after laps one or two. I'd pass the pit and Tom would offer bottles if I needed them and holler encouragement. After lap 3 I stopped for more Hammer Perpetuem and Hammer Gel, then I was off for lap 4. Laps were taking about 1:10 or so due to a slower pace of night and wet roots. This was slower than I thought I'd be, but wasn't bad. I pushed my Niterider Storm's battery to an uncomfortable 4:20 before I stopped before lap 5 and had Tom mount up my light to the bar with a bottle mount battery on my hard tail leaving the Salsa El Santo with him to clean up and ready for day light laps. About 1.5 miles into lap 5 my legs started spinning wildly. I thought I dropped a chain, but it was worse... FREE HUB!!! It wouldn't engage. $&*^! For some reason If I dismounted and bounced the rear wheel a few times I could loosen it up and it would engage. I had to do this about every 2 miles or so. Could have been a lot worse. After the lap I got back to the pit. Tom had the Salsa El Santo ready to go, so he quickly got it set up with the bottle mount and I was off for lap 6.
Lap 6 should have been great. The sun was coming up and I was half way home but it sucked! I was all over the trail and ended up in the bushes several times. Just couldn't concentrate. Maybe there's something to this sleeping thing? About this time all I could think about was Pepsi. As soon as I got the pit I started guzzling Cherry Pepsi. I took a couple bites of Cliff bar while Tom got rid of my lights and wiped down the drive train. As I checked in they told me I was in 2nd place, sweet!! This gave me some fire as I went out for lap 7.
Laps started getting harder now. I tried to keep a good pace but it was hard. Started walking more sections to conserve energy. About the time I started thinking of things to keep me motivated... Dairy Queen ice cream, Good beer, a nice steak and some things I'm not able to mention in a family oriented race report...HA!
The next couple of laps seem all the same. Ride/walk/ride/hurt/ride/eat/drink/check in.
After lap 9 I asked where I was in the standings. I was tied in 2nd but with the other rider now over 30 minutes ahead of me...DRAT! This was really discouraging but I had to keep on keepin' on. I completed lap 10 at about 11:35 a.m. I had our pit buddy John go check the stats. I was in 3rd. I didn't want to risk missing the podium or possibly a shot at 2nd so out I went for lap 11. This lap actually wasn't that bad. Motivated by the podium and the thought of real food I pulled a decent lap and retained 3rd place out of 61 registered soloists.
After my final lap I clocked in, handed in my wrist band/baton and Tom met me with a beer and a towel to dry off. We stuck around for the awards, then Tom packed up the car (I was little to no use) and we started out for our 5 hour drive home. I slept first, then Tom slept for about 45 minutes to an hour. It was a llllllllllllong drive home.
I'm feeling pretty good about my performance but still need to work on some things for the 24 Hours of Big Bear in June. Overall the Salsa El Santo worked great, the pit routine was good. I realized I need more of a variety of nutrition. I'll need to work on that. Might need better chamois cream too. HA!
Tom did a great job working on the bikes and having my bottles and gels ready for me. Thanks! And thanks to our pit neighbor John, I guy I just met that day, for the encouragement and for that hunk of orange he gave me before lap 10. May have been the best orange I ever ate!
This was my second year at Lodi Farms. Great bunch of people. I'll be back next year. I highly recomend this race. Time to recover for a few days, then start getting ready for Big Bear.
Photos by: John B. and Tom Hong
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