Anyway, I was pretty freaked leading up to the Bradbury 12 since I had no idea what to expect from my body over the course of 12 hours in the saddle. Truth is that nobody really knows how their body is going to respond unless they've done it a ton of times but having my longest ride be in the 3 hour range this summer had me really worried. To top it off, the single speed start list had some name that I was unfamiliar with and despite google attempts I couldn't find enough info to make myself feel better or worse about my competition which, of course, made me feel worse. At some point I figured "ah fack it!", I'll just do what I always do and see where I stand when the dust settles.
With that in mind, in the days leading up to the race I prepped everything I thought I would need during the race and got it all (with the exception of my toolbox and pump) to fit in one large blue rubbermaid tote. Everything was in there, food, drinks, change of clothes and my helmet and lights for the night laps. If there's one thing I learned from my melt down two years ago is that you need to show up to this thing with everything already in order or you will forget to set something out and then die an agonizing death and pull the plug at 6 hours. Not me, not this year.
I got to the start line a smidge late and ended up in the second row of solo riders but I wasn't too concerned. It's a long race plus there is a 1 mile stretch in the opening lap to help sort things out. Once off, I entered the trail in fourth or fifth wheel. There was one singlespeeder in front of me so I hopped on his wheel for a bit figureing I'd better keep him in sight for the first lap. About 10 minutes into the lap I realized that I was squarely in the middle of my zone 5 heart rate which didn't seem to be too smart considering I still had 11:50 to go so I dialed it back and TRIED to bring my heart rate down. I didn't know the ss'er in front of me but I hoped that he was over zealous with his pace and that he'd come back sooner or later. I hoped. The rest of the lap was pretty uneventful. I was having a blast on Bradbury's super dry and fun trails. So much fun that my heartrate kept creeping back into zone 5 and I'd have to force myself to dial it back. Mountain biking is too much fun to not rip it!
I rolled through my first pit transition quickly (maybe 30 seconds) and headed back out for another fun but uneventful lap. I was now solidly in 2nd place in the solo single speeders despite trading spots briefly with another ss'er over the course of the first two laps. By the end of my third lap I began to worry that the ss'er who took the flyer on the first lap my not be coming back after all. During that lap, I caught up to KillBill (who was in the geared solo class) and we cruised together for a bit until, out of nowhere the mystery ss'er came up from behind me. Of course I freaked out and asked if he was already friggin lapping me??? He put my mind at ease and told me he had just taken a long pit the last lap. Phew.
Sometime around then, I realized that I had either lost my bottle somewhere during the begining of the lap or had forgotten it all together. Not good. And to make matters worse, soon after Chris (the mystery ss'er) caught up to us, both of my quads started to cramp just above my knees. Frig! Of course, this is sport so I couldn't show him my weakness and give him an opportunity to attack to I hid it the best I could and pushed through the rest of the lap with both KillBill and Chris on my heels.
Back in the pits I hit the water and heed hard, had some endurolytes and food and headed back out having noticed Chris skipped pitting and had headed back out. It wasn't long before Chris, KillBill and I were all back together again and riding comfortably (I think we were all in a recovery mode for that lap). For the most part, this lap was uneventful as well except I started to hear a weird rattle towards the back of my bike. Eventually, curiosity got the best of me so I glanced back to see what it might be and when I looked back up I was heading straight towards a 6" round spruce tree. I hit the brakes hard but it was too late and I hit the thing head on doing probably 8-10 mph. I scraped up both arms but otherwise things seemed ok so I settled into a new, slightly faster, pace and slowly caught back up to KillBill and Chris.