I suppose I could find a few people to blame. First, my husband Eric for introducing me to the 24-hour bike race format when we began dating. (He and a friend put on the 24-hour mountain bike race 24 Hours in the Sage.) Second, a family I met at 24 Hours in the Sage. Sometimes everyone races, sometimes parents support the daughter for a solo effort and sometimes they go for a father/daughter duo. After meeting the bunch I thought, “My dad and I like to ride bikes; maybe we should do a 24 hour race … “
Whoever’s fault it is for giving me the idea that I could be part of a 24 hour mountain bike race … I thank them. Because it was a blast.
Let’ face it. I’ve heard from many that 24 Hours of eRock isn’t really mountain biking, that it’s boring, it’s all dirt roads and so on. Sure, that could be true for seasoned mountain bikers.
But for me, a beginner, 24 Hours of eRock was an excellent introduction to riding at night and a good realization that if I ever do want to tackle a solo effort in a more technical environment (which I do), I really need more technical skills and more confidence in the skills I already possess.
My husband, my dad and I competed as a trio with the goal of riding through the night with no breaks. We accomplished this, along with a total of 248 miles and no sunburns. Not too bad, considering that we rode more in the last 24 hours than we have since last summer/fall. (Consistently slathering on the sunscreen certainly didn’t hurt, either.)
As far as the course, the folks who speak of dirt roads and no trails are definitely on target. The roads are practically groomed paths, which explains why so many people showed up on cyclocross bikes.
Since 24 Hours of eRock ran on a 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. schedule, I only got one lap in before the absolute blackness of night and thus found a bit of sand on the pedaling downhill section. As a beginner, I had to slow down considerably but the sandy sections were short, so it never came down to walking. And in daylight, sand was easy to avoid. 24 Hours of eRock was perfect for my first time riding at night. And I’m sure it’d be perfect for anyone looking to clock a lot of time (and miles) in a 24-hour bike race.
For now, I’m looking forward to sleep, more riding, improving my technical skills and attempting a solo effort on trails. Any suggestions?