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Re: Northeast 24 hour race in NY

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:21 pm
by gots_a_sol
Finally it is Friday morning. Wooooooooo. We get up, the girlfriend cooks up a nice breakfast and we finalize some details, like who the hell is going first and how long we plan on riding :shrug: :lol2: We vote Scott to go first as he is the fastest in our group and had been nailing holeshots pretty consistently this year. Also we aim for 3 lap stints figuring lap times in the 40 min range for the 11.5 mile course. So he gets geared up and heads over to the start. The rest of us find out where the start is and say f_ck that, Scott is on his own as it is way too far away to walk :jack: Turns out our class is row 2, right behind the premier class. Scott said the guy next to him in our class is like 3rd in GNCC A 250. The sportsman class allows mixed ranked riders and seeing as how I got bumped to B this year, it prevented us from running in novice.

So they set off and we wait to see how the laps look. Scott does a 32 min lap first lap, then like a 35 and 37. We are currently 8th or 9th in class. We had a white board with all these times written down but tragedy would strike later. They had live timing online which made it super nice to keep track of things. We would see what kind of first lap one of us would do then could estimate when the next lap would be completed so the next rider in line could be ready. One of the things we planned out was to keep the next rider in line mostly ready to go if the current rider had to pull off for some reason. Each of us did our first 3 lap stint without issue. We are 10th at this point.

This is some of Scott's video from the start of the race before his camera died.

Here is Randall waiting to see if Scott was going to pit on lap 2 or go for 3 like planned early on. Melvin is our 3rd rider in the queue who is being the umbrella bitch :lol2:


I'm 4th in the rotation so we are nearly 5 hours in when I get my first stint. The guys who have already ran gave me a brief run down of what to expect. The single track bits are rooty/rocky and the fields are crazy fast and dusty. Great. I hate going mach 3 across fields. Plus now we are 5 hours in so it is getting beat up bad. Ruts, whoops, and braking bumps, oh my. I clicked off some high 30 minute lap times. Not horrible I suppose. I figured I'd be the slowest on the team because of the fast crap but I wasn't too far off. The ruts were starting to get deep where I was dragging pegs in places but for the most part it didn't seem to be getting any worse after a point. The dust was insane though. I was like being a blizzard at times and I had to slow down because I was riding 100% blind.

I finished my third lap and I pull off in to the pits. They are very strict about keeping to the 10 mph pit lane (or as close as you can estimate) btw and it is a 5 minute penalty if you are caught. I turn down my row and Scott is there ready to go to start our second round of stints. I hand off the transponder and off he goes. We saw a variety of methods for holding transponders by other teams, most were some kind of fanny pack. We decided on zip tieing the transponder to a carabiner that we could just snap on to our hydration pack straps. This actually seemed to work quite well and no worry about one rider being rounder than the next and having to adjust anything :killingme:

I think we are 10th at this point. Scott heads out and Randall starts getting some of his stuff on. About 35 minutes later OH SHIT THATS SCOTT COMING IN. SHIT SHIT SHIT GET READY RANDALL! Fortunately he was already most of the way there minus his helmet and hydration pack since we had planned for this. Turns out Scott binned it in the rocks and damaged his throttle cable or housing causing the bike to not go below 1/4 throttle. We never did figure out the exact cause. Kenda had a vendor stand and he got a new cable but it didn't change anything (the old one was damaged/kinked though). After thinking on it for a bit I thought maybe the housing got dinged and the throttle was binding up. We pulled it back apart and there were rub marks on the throttle cam so he put a new one in and I guess it fixed it as I never got a clear answer on it as I went back to camp for dinner.

Random doggo pic


It is about 6 or 7 now when Randall goes out. I tell him to 2 laps because I'm not sure how fast it is going to get dark out. Which he does but it hasn't gotten to the point of needing lights yet. Now Melvin is up and again, tell him 2 laps because it is going to get dark soon. By the time he gets back it is dark but fortunately he had his bike light on and working. I think we are 9th again.

Now it is my turn to head out with full lights. I've only ever done some light trail riding in the dark, never have I tried riding at pace. The first thing you notice is the lack of detail. In the sun light you can see those little rocks and roots but in the dark all that stuff disappears. The ruts appear less deep and the down hills look a lot flatter while the uphills seem steeper. Also the dust is so much worse. It is exactly like driving in a white out/blizzard. My first lap ends up being almost equal to my slowest day time lap. On my second lap I'm in this nasty rooted section about 3/4 of the way around the course. I go to ride over this bunch of tree roots and the front wheel goes up and over and lands in a hole on the backside. Well I don't have enough momentum for the front wheel to roll out of it so it just stops. What momentum I did have has now transferred to the ass end of the bike and has propelled it straight up in to the air throwing me over the bars face first**. I can't help by laugh about it. Anybody who has ever ran a gopro knows what happens when a branch or the ground makes contact with it and the helmet lights are no exception. One light is now pointing up in the air and the other is pointing to my left at a 90 degree angle. I'm pretty sure I'm now laughing even harder about the situation as people are going by asking if I'm ok (I have a leg partially under my bike still). It takes me a minute or two to get the bike up and get lights pointed in all the correct directions again before I can set off. I think I'm getting delirious at this point.

**This does bring up an important topic relating to how you set up your lights. My helmet lights run off of batteries in my pack. I saw some folks running theirs off of the bike. The problem is when you and your bike go separate ways you have now lost your power source and may be standing there in the dark trying to find your bike. I also set up my bike light straight off my battery so even if I stalled I still had lights.

After getting back on the bike and taking off I seriously can not remember what lap I'm on. Second or third. We had decided now that it was full on dark to go back to 3 lap stints. Second or third. Keep riding. Second or third. Second or third. Second or third. I have no clue. Mileage on my bike odometer is like halfway between where I should be for having done 5 or 6 laps so that is no help. I finally say screw it I'll just run through the pits and see what the team says :lol2: Well I finish my lap and pull in and Scott is on his bike ready to go. Oh, must have been three. Hand off the transponder and start talking to the guys and they were like "we didn't know if you were on your second or third lap either so we got Scott ready to go just in case" :screwy: :killingme: :killingme: Turns out I had actually only done two after we updated the white board.

So I go lay down on the cot in my trailer. NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES PEOPLE. I did not have any. I don't think it would have made much difference as every time I would nod off something would start to cramp up and I'd have to reposition. That is how my night went. Scott's went worse. He finished his first lap fine but was apparently a bit long on his second lap coming in so Randall got fully dressed to go. Scott finally comes in and says he moved over to let a fast guy by and that dude clipped his left elbow with a bark buster and he ended up going down and smashed that elbow in to some rocks for good measure. He was done for the weekend.

Randall runs his laps. Melvin does his. Finally it is my turn again. We are in 9th or 10th. I head out at 4:20 am for what should be the last night stint we do. 10 minutes later, the skies open up. Oh my god, it is so crazy slick now. No more dust at least :killingme: I can't even accelerate in a straight line without the bike pitching sideways. Finally the rain soaks in enough that it honestly starts to get better? I'm confused but I'll take it. It is dark and raining and I'm turning laps only a few minutes off my previous pace. Wait, am I having fun in this? I think I am. Oh DAMN here is the finish, lap 1 of the stint down. Bring it rain, I'm loving it for some crazy reason. Lap 2 down, only some minor silly spills on slow turns. Hahahahahaha weeeeeeeeeeee. Then the rain stops and it gets so much worse :lol2:

Apparently during the rain it was only my girlfriend and Melvin awake at the time so they were trying to get everything that shouldn't get wet tucked away. Well the whiteboard was taped to the side of my trailer and was forgotten about. All our lap times gone. DAMN, that is a bummer.

There was only one tough hill and on lap 1 of this stint I'm pretty sure everybody who was still turning laps was stuck on this hill. I somehow picked my way through the field of bikes and bodies and continue on. Lap 2 the marshalls are out there and they literally reroute the course to avoid this hill as I go by them so I'm the last person who gets to enjoy it. Fortunately there is nobody else in sight and I could take the easier line this time which I totally didn't screw up anyway :lol2:

Oh and something odd I was experiencing was the bike felt like was running out of gas on the field sections or on hills. I had a full tank. I flipped the petcock over to reserve which seemed to help but it was quite annoying.

Anyway, lap 3. The rain has stopped. The mud has changed from slime to sticky goop. Prior to this I was thinking I was going to do a 4 lap stint. After the rain stopped? Hellllll nooooo. The bike has picked up what feels like 75 extra pounds already. My boots have 30 pounds hanging off of them. This has gone from fun to well, not fun. The bike is still sliding all over the place in the field sections. A faster guy is coming up on me so I try to hug the inside to stay out of his way on a turn. The back end just goes completely perpendicular to the trail right in front of the dude who gives the wheel a little tap and puts me down. He does yell sorry but honestly, I had already crashed before he tapped me, he just sped it up a bit.

I finally get to the end of my lap. It turns out by toughing it out and doing semi ok laps through the rain I pulled us from 10th to 7th in class. Randall takes over since Scott is out. He does three ok laps and we hand it over to Melvin to bring it home for us with a victory lap :lol2: Randall caught him at the end of that lap and had him wait because even though it had just clicked 10 am, the overall leader hadn't taken the checkered yet. Melvin said he probably wouldn't have been able to do another lap anyway so he was thankful for stopping him. He ended up with some pretty nasty blisters on his hands by the end.

We each got one of these guys for taking the checkers.



Ok race is over and we start breaking down camp/pits. While doing so I hear they have the times posted up so I walk up to have a look and they have the trophy cut offs marked. Team 4 man sportsman, 7th place, which is us! Hell yea!


Apparently I managed to expertly dodge all the camera guys the entire race :censored: Here is a pic of Melvin though


Notes for next time (will update as I remember everything we talked about)

No trailers in the pits. All ezups.
Individual tables for each racer to keep his crap on. We had shit laying everywhere, it was a bit ridiculous.
Noise cancelling headphones
Don't let the white board get rained on
Mountain bike to get around the pits quicker. Randall had a bad ass pedal assisted bike, but I'm way too cheap for one of those :lol2:

Re: Northeast 24 hour race in NY

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:46 pm
by Marylander
That sounds pretty fun. Great write up. Congrats on the good showing. I take it the ironman class is people doing it solo. Nuts!

Re: Northeast 24 hour race in NY

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:20 pm
by Laoch
:thumbup: :cheers: :freakey:

Re: Northeast 24 hour race in NY

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:25 pm
by smdub
Thanks for the writeup! Was an enjoyable read.

The problem w/ not seeing shadows while riding in the dark plagues mtb'ers too. The majority of the problem stems from lights that are close to your eyes don't cast visible shadows and creates 'flat' light. You are effectively looking from the same vantage point as the light source and can't see the shadow that is behind the object. From the vantage point of the sun you'd never see the dark side of the earth or moon or even any eclipses. On the MTB I run equivalent lighting on on top of my helmet and down on the handlebars. The helmet allows me to project light where I'm looking (through corners) but the bar light is the one that casts visible shadows. If you are running the stock headlights you probably have miserable lumens there and you are swamping it out w/ your big helmet setups. Try strapping more lights to the bike (low is good) and not so much on the helmet. I also run a horizontal diffuser on the bar light whereas I leave the helmet light a bit more of a spot.

FWIW, I think your twin helmet light setups are making it even worse. What tiny amount of shadow your left eye sees different than your right eye from the right side light is perfectly counteracted by the left side light. You're basically on your way to building a ring light - which in photography is used to eliminate shadows. You should have more luck mounting them both close together and on top of your helmet (or down under your chin bar?) They don't have to point the same direction (a little bit of offset will spread the beams) but both lenses should be as close together as possible. Sometimes its a little bit easier to mount them so as to cross the streams;) (right one points a little left and left one points a little right.)

Re: Northeast 24 hour race in NY

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:27 pm
by gots_a_sol
Video from Melvin

Re: Northeast 24 hour race in NY

Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:35 pm
by gots_a_sol
Melvins night stint

Re: Northeast 24 hour race in NY

Posted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:51 am
by gots_a_sol
Randall's video, bunch of clips from all of his stints.