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Saturday I left my house way earlier than necessary to get my ass to The Cowbell 12 Hour Challenge right here in my hometwon of Charlotte, NC. I needed to get there early so I could snag a primo position for my Suzuki Samurai (my official local-only vehicle) near the course. I was going to use it as my pit and a giant garbage can to throw my bottles in, so location was key. After placing the teal doorless wonder under the crackling high power lines I went down to the parking lot to do the pre-race meet and greet and check out the competition. As usual Zach B showed up just to make my life interesting. His one goal is to beat me this year, and even though he was rolling a single speed he was entered in the open class. I think he does it to mess with me knowing damn well that if I win the SS class, but don't beat him, the victory will be empty. Also in from Asheville was Jason Morgan. He finished less than 13 minutes behind me at Cohutta 100. He had actually caught up to me at aid station 2 in the Cohutta forcing me to run away from him like a scared little girl. He is strong, and what's worse is that he looks strong. There were also contenders from as far away as Vermont so I had to deal with a few unknowns in the seven man field. The conditions were going to be less than perfect as a thunder shower dumped on the (almost entirely clay) course the night before. The temperature were going to be close to ninety degrees, and the humidity was so high that you could swim in it.

I had a bit of a secret goal this year. I have never placed better than third overall (male solo) in my four attempts at 12/24 hour races on a single speed. Actually I have always gotten third overall in every single attempt. Last year at the Cowbell I was two laps down on Eddie O'dea and one lap down on Chad Smith. I wanted to win the SS class, but I really wanted at least second overall and to finish on the same lap as the winner. A lofty goal perhaps.

So after all the pre-race jibber jabber we lined up for the LeMans start. The best thing about cheaper endurance events is that people are prepared to have more fun. Sure a few hammer heads shoved their way to the front, but most of us made small talk as we jogged up the road. We got on the bikes and rode off into the sticky air on peanut butter covered trails. It didn't feel like a hotly contested race for the first few laps and I hung out near Eddie O'dea (who took an early DH spill and had cleat issues early on). Somewhere around lap four or five I was actually in the male solo lead as Chad Smith was fading and Eddie was still recovering from his earlier problems. Zach disappeared from site ( I haven't heard what went wrong yet), and just before we were six hours into the race I got word that I was one lap up on second place SS. I must have passed him while he was pitting (or so I thought). I decided to back off the pace due to the heat, and I put on my looser fitting Youngstown State University Penguin Flyers jersey. I rolled my watch over so I couldn't see it on my bars anymore, and I figured I would kick back until Jason got back on my wheel which would give me a 45 minute lead to work with.

Well this all seemed like a good idea until my friend showed up, and I saw him standing next to my Sammy. I asked him if he had seen the current standings, and he said as of 5pm I was 25 minutes ahead of second. "WHAT??" I checked the results myself and my addled brain came to the same conclusion, so I went out back out on the course to put in a couple lap times that would hopefully discourage him. I flew through the next lap, but on my second attempt to lay down a fast lap Jason caught me. I told him he just took the lead, and he disagreed with me. He wasn't sure what lap he was on, and I didn't know what lap I was on, but he was confident that I still had a lap on him. He was riding super strong, and I had no chance when I tried to stay on his wheel. I was mentally defeated. I started doing the math (which is pretty much impossible when you have ridden your brains out) and I figured out that if he just took the lead I could do one more REALLY slow lap and finish in eleven hours take second. I also figured that if I was a lap ahead of him I would need to do two more laps to seal the win ( I think).

I wasn't sure what I wanted to see when I finished that lap and looked at the results. Two more laps to win sounded nice, but one more lap for second sounded a lot better at the time. There would be no shame in loosing to Jason. He is a strong rider, and he is riding a 29'er so I can just use the "superior bike" excuse (just kidding). I looked at the standings, and I really had a hard time figuring them out. I was too tired to do the math so I asked Arleigh of Black Sheep Cycles to confirm what I was thinking. She felt pretty sure that I was still ahead of Jason by just under a lap. I was slightly devastated as I had been menatlly preparing for one more lap, and it just turned into a "two to go" scenario. After a lot of cursing my fate I was informed that I needed lights to go back out on the course. ****. My lights are back up at the top of the hill, but luckily Arleigh came through with a demo HID, and I headed back out on the course cussing up a storm.

It was never dark enough on the next lap to actually use the light, but I did have a problem. I put it on in such a hurry that I didn't notice that the shim wasn't thick enough to keep the light on tight. On the first bumpy downhill the light flopped around and ended up pointing at the sky. Unnngggg. I took the light off and shimmed it with a Hammergel wrapper. I finished out the lap and made it back to the timing tent. Namrita (Eddie's fiance' and fellow endurance racer) informed me that not only was I in first in the SS class, I was second overall, and on the lead lap with Eddie. Alright, time to keep the emotions in check and finish it out.

I went out to meet the darkness, and to ride as carefully as possible. I was starting to cramp in all kinds of places, and I figured that if I wasn't careful I would end up in the fetal postion on the side of the trail watching Jason pass me. I felt my calf, my inner thigh, and the arch of my left foot all competing with each other to see which one could shut me down. I pushed up everything that required anaerobic effort and remounted my bike s-l-o-w-l-y. When I got into the final little loop I knew the race would be over in less than ten minutes. I had my MP3 player on shuffle (with something like 350 songs), and when I hit the final section of trail Stone Temple Pilot's "Meatplow" started playing. I lost it. I started hollering and whooping it up like I had just won the lottery. I don't think the other riders I passed in that last quarter mile knew what to think of me as I rode like a maniac screaming through the woods, but that really wasn't my problem. I rode outta the woods, across the line, and snagged all of my goals.

First SS solo male

Second solo male overall

I finished on the lead lap nine minutes behind Eddie ( I don't think he was being pushed into going to fast as he had a fat lead on second)

Congrats to Eddie O'dea and Rebecca Tomawicki-wicki-wicki on your first place solo efforts. Also a big thanks to Jason Morgan for making it a "real race". I had a hard time out there, and you really, really, really made winning hurt as much as possible.

BTW: Zach, are you OK??
 

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Free Hub Failure

Good job Dicky Congrats to you Ed and Rebecca. The heat was killing me all day I couldnt keep it up much longer. And my prayers were answered I think inn lap 8 my free hub failed so I loaded up and went home with my head hanging low! The kicker is I stoped to pick up new wheels on the way to the race but some how they hadn't made it from the shop (cane creek) to the store (sycamore cycles). See ya at the next one.
 

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Good job...

I had a mental crisis about 3 hours in after my second flat...
my FIFTH race related flat in four races. :madman:

My apologies to everyone who passed by while I was fixing
them...the potty mouth was in effect.

Spent the rest of the day in Green River Gorge drinking Natty
Light and eating all the food I had packed up.

I'm feverishly scouring teh intarweb now to figure out if I want
downhill tubes, UST wheels, Stan's, ghetto tubeless, etc.
Too bad they don't still make solid rubber tires!

Anyway, I think I'll go ahead and take you off my goal list and
switch to finishing a race without a flat. Once I figure out how
ride without banging the crap out of everything with my rear
wheel I'll be back.

Good job everybody, sounds like it stayed exciting to the end.
I'm dying to see the lap times... Rich if you held the pace you
ran on laps 2 & 3, then all I can say is...... YOU SUCK! YOU
CAN'T RIDE A BIKE FOR CRAP AND I'M GOING TO.......
Sorry, smack-talk flashback.

Are you doing Mt. Mitchell or 12 of Dauset?

Z (excuses are like bungholes) B
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Broussard said:
I'm feverishly scouring teh intarweb now to figure out if I want
downhill tubes, UST wheels, Stan's, ghetto tubeless, etc.
Too bad they don't still make solid rubber tires!

Are you doing Mt. Mitchell or 12 of Dauset?
Three words:
You
Ess
Tee

I have had less flats since I went over to UST in Nov 2004 than you have had this year. Quit that old skool noise. Get those kings on some proper hoops. I should be getting some I9's with 819's soon enough.

Probably no on Mitchell. I've got mixed feelings there.
Where in the world is Dauset, and why would I want to do another 12/24? I think after the "Worlds" I may be throwing in the towel on these lap deals. They are really loosing their appeal, especially after doing some hundies. One loop, always feeling lost and hopeless, and the only way back to the car is forward.
 

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TD. Great job at the cowbell. I'm also wondering about Dauset. Where and when is it? I'm doing the 24 Hours of Pisgah solo this yr and would like to get a 12 hour race in for the training. TD, c'mon do Mt. Mitchell. We'll race and since it seems we share the same recovery nutrition philosophy afterwards we'll drink.
 

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Dauset

allan8147 said:
TD. Great job at the cowbell. I'm also wondering about Dauset. Where and when is it? I'm doing the 24 Hours of Pisgah solo this yr and would like to get a 12 hour race in for the training. TD, c'mon do Mt. Mitchell. We'll race and since it seems we share the same recovery nutrition philosophy afterwards we'll drink.
It's a Gone Riding event in GA somewhere.... I think around Athens. Same
weekend as Mt. Mitchell. I've not yet decided which to do. Curtis Creek
road might kill me in my current fragile emotional state. :rolleyes:

www.goneriding.com

ZB
 

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;) AHHHH ok. Thanks Broussard. I'll have to miss it then. Mt Mitchell laid a serious butt whuppin on me last year and I've been obsessing over it since. I've even gone as far as to go and climb Curtis Creek once or twice every few weeks for the last 3 months. Funny how much easier it is when you haven't been up and Kitsuma before you get there.
 

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Nice job, Dicky. Way to get back in the saddle.:thumbsup:

12 Hours of Dauset is in Jackson, about 45 minutes south of Atlanta.

I'm really bummed about missing ORAMM (I've done it the past 2 years), but I'm doing Breckenridge the weekend before and the W101 the weekend after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
IF Harvey said:
I'm really bummed about missing ORAMM (I've done it the past 2 years), but I'm doing Breckenridge the weekend before and the W101 the weekend after.
I am in the same boat. I would only do ORAMM if it was convenient. It is definitely the kind of course where you really have to hang it out to do well. With the 101 being a week later I wouldn't be to tempted to hang it out all the way. I'm kinda happy to have a five week break with nothing but down time (now that I have a decent result to reflect on).
Good luck at Breck!
 

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It was a foggy morning as Kristin and I took off at 6:45am headed for my first solo attempt at a 12 hour endurance race. I was excited to race as Kristin was excited to use her newly purchased Cannon camera. We met up with Joe who was also attempting his first solo, Chris and Barret who were riding in the 2-man division. As we pulled into the venue I noticed that all the wonderful NC red clay had turned to peanut butter from the strong thunderstorms that rolled through on Friday night. Oh boy, a course I have never ridden before and it is going to be slick as snot, sign me up! As Joe and I checked in Barret and Chris set up our pop up tent thanks to Paul and his shop Harrel’s Bicycle World. So we had our electronic timing chips and it was time to race.

The race started with a LeMan’s style start. This meant we were running about ¾ of a mile to our bikes and then riding the first lap. Chris who acclaimed to be more of a runner than a biker made a hasty attempt to be the first to the bike since there was a prize for this. He was second, sorry Chris.

So off we went on a very crowded first lap. Things were as expected very slick in the beginning. The course was fantastic. Two open fire road climbs and the rest was all beautiful single track through the trees. After passing and being passed quite a few times, I rolled out of the trees with my first lap behind me. I met up with “The Angel” (Kristin has adopted this name from me for providing super-star support) for an extra bottle and off I went. The second lap went by with no problems and I quickly swapped bottles and food out with the Angel again.

The third lap brought upon my first mishap of the race. About halfway through my lap, I heard “on your left” and watched as Rich Dillen lapped me. Yes that’s correct I was being lapped in the first 3 hours of the race. Yeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaawww! Shortly after that I made an attempt to “get fancy” bunny hopping a log (haven’t I learned my lesson from the Adventure race?) and pointed my wheel at a willing tree. I pulled of a graceful fall and surveyed my bike for damage. Broke a spoke on the front wheel, oh well, I tucked it into some other spokes and took off watching my front wheel weeble wobble down the trail.

The next few laps went off fine and were a ton of fun. The middle of these races is where I have the most fun. The Angel kept me hydrated and cold towels on me as I continued laps. My main goal for this race was to keep a steady pace and not rest in-between laps so my body wouldn’t shut down.

Around lap who knows, I started to get a cramp in my inner thigh. It was from throwing my leg over the bike since I was now walking the steep sections. I requested salt from the Angel and on the next lap she and Heather (Joe’s wife) produced a bag of white cheddar popcorn. MMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, the Angel shoved popcorn in my mouth and I chewed with all my might.

I used my Zen Master skills taught to me by “The Tao of Pooh” to stave off the cramps on the next few laps. It was working and my legs got their second wind.

So here I was in the last 3 hours of the race with no idea what place I was in and I didn’t care. I knew I had a respectable amount of mileage for my first attempt and I wanted to do one night lap and have a “victory” beer. So I got my lights from the Angel and headed out for my 10th and final lap. So I thought. . .

I passed all the neat trail features I had come to know so well in 10 laps. I paid my respects to the hills bidding them adieu. I said goodbye to the little rock garden that always said clunk-galump as I rode across it. There was a special spot I was waiting to greet on my last lap of happiness. It was a balloon hanging from some caution tape that was marking the trail. I had deemed this the “Elated Balloon of Happiness EBOH” since it was within a half mile of the finish line. The balloon and I had grown very fond of each other throughout the race and I was excited to say goodbye and never see my friend again. There it was! Bye-bye little baaaaaaallooooooooon. I pumped the pedals hard knowing a juicy adult beverage was an Angel’s wing away.

Do you remember what your teacher’s in school always said to you before tests? I believe it went something like this. “Make sure you read the ENTIRE question before you start your answer.” Well I apparently was answering the questions without reading the ENTIRE question. I heard the generator from the timing tent and pumped even harder. I crossed the finish line and the timing chip made its beeeeeeep beep noise to confirm my arrival. Woooooooooooooohoooooooooooooooooooooo. I looked up and said “I’m done.” The race director looked at me and said “One more to go!” Maybe this moron didn’t understand “I’m done.” I had the wrong answer, here was the question. If you want to “stop” you have to cross the finish line after 9:00 pm and before 10:00 pm for your lap and race to count. It was 8:45. . . If I would have waited with my friend EBOH for 15 minutes I would have been able to stop and my race would have been over. Since I crossed the line, I had to go again or receive a DNF (Did not *&^%$# finish). I WAS BETRAYED! I cussed I was pissed. Seven more miles sounded like 700 more miles. After getting over my rush of emotion, the Angel and I stood at the first hill. The Angel said “You can cry here, or you can cry on your bike.” (A quote from Tinker Juarez during the RAAM) Then the Angel said something very devilish “Now get your ASS up that hill.”

The last lap was full of pain and laughter. I was in pain and the trail was laughing. All the features I had said goodbye too were now looking at me with bewilderment as I rolled by. Gu wrappers looked like frogs, roots were Amazon pythons nipping at my ankles. I thought for sure the Earth’s rotation was causing me to go backwards. I longed for my buddy EBOH. I got round to the last bit of trail and I thought I was going blind. Oh no it was just because my light was losing power. I finally saw it. Was it a mirage? No, IT’S MY FRIEND EBOH!!! The generator sound and beeeep beep. I was done with 11 minutes to spare before my last lap didn’t count.

I traveled the course 11 times for 77 miles.
12th out of 33 solo riders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sweet! Not bad for a 1st timer. Nothing worse than being told "one to go" after you just got done telling yourself "one to go" one lap ago. It should make you feel good to know that this year's race was HARD. The lap was longer, there were more climbs, and while it has been hotter, it has never been stickier. I wouldn't have been out for a ride in those conditions unless I was racing.
Convincing yourself to go out for "that one more damn lap" and not DNF'ing isn't exactly easy no matter if you're in first or 33rd. Way to go.
Hey from what I understand you are not giving yourself full credit. The laps were 7.2 miles giving you an additional 2.2 miles. Point-somethings add up when you go around enough times.

Thanks for sharing with the rest of the class.
 

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Hey Extrmtao, did you ever get your spoke fixed or did you ride a bunk wheel?... Don't feel bad, I got the "on your left" from TeamDicky on lap 3 as well... My least favorite part of the race was seeing my "friends" at the top of the fireroad climb sipping PBRs and 40s giving me encouragement like "Whoa, you don't look so good" and "I'd give you some beer but you need to EARN it, sucka!"... Good times, good times (Whistful Phil Hartman voice)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
extrmtao said:
Thanks for the extra .2 Dicky, I didn't have my CYCLOputer hooked up.
QUOTE]

Heck, I didn't have a computer on either. I just heard the mileage this morning. I kinda figure the miles don't matter as much while you're racing, since you have to keep riding no matter how long the freakin' lap is.
 

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w_taylor_s said:
i would rather be mor-on, than mor-off... the the so called race director... glad you finished the race... nice write up too, and thank you for the write on here rich and eddie...
Well I definitely didn't want any mor on the bike. . . Thanks for putting on a great race, I will be back next year and maybe I will read the rules :cool:
 
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