12 hours by yourself

Gee this endurance racing thing is getting popular isn’t it? I wonder why.

Part of it may well be that entrants are able to get out there and ride, or race even, without having to be super fit. This might sound a bit silly if one considers that an endurance racer, if they’re doing a 12 hour race such as the Lab-Gear 12 Hour coming up in September, should really be spending that half of one day in the saddle riding as hard as they can.

And this is where self rationalising comes into it…

I’m doing said Lab-Gear race solo. There, I’ve admitted it publicly. Even better, I’ve set myself up for a world of pain because a couple of mates are also doing it solo. Of course, there’s international currency (beer) at stake for the loser to purchase. Nothing like a bit of competition to get me scared into training. Uh uh.

To top it off, the race is run on the same weekend as my birthday, so I’ll be toughing out my birthday at an endurance MTB race rather than eating way too much at a nice restaurant and getting a bit, err, drunk.

But why do this event solo when I have trouble even getting myself to, let alone being competitive in, club XC races?

I think (and hope) that it’s because you don’t have to be ultra fast to have a good race. My main motivation is to ride for as many of the 12 hours as is possible, and to hopefully beat my mates in the process.

I reckon that while speed won’t be the be all and end all of the matter, I will have to have a great deal of endurance riding behind me. This is the sort of thing that can be built up easily enough (hah, deluded already!) – I’ll just have to ride everywhere from now until then.

If there’s a social ride starting from the other side of town – ride there. Leaving home earlier in the morning and riding to work the long way should make up a bit of distance. And doing the same on the way home. And plenty of long rides on the weekend. Sigh.

We won’t even begin to talk about finding somebody enough crazy and kind enough to provide support. I think I’ve got a crew lined up, but it will involve some tuition between now and then, and hopefully they’re understanding if I get a bit tetchy because I’m dead tired, hungry and not quite myself.

But the toughest part of the whole event, having listened to other guys that have done well in 12 and 24 hour races is getting your mind around the whole idea that you’ve got to ride for a long, long time…

This might not be best way to approach it, but I’ll be looking for any distraction to get my mind off the pain that’s likely to be whalloping in. Whatever this entails – putting together MiniDiscs full of Rage Against the Machine and At The Drive In, inane conversation with riders passing me (until they realise how stupid you must be and take off at hella pace), thoughts of designing a better mousetrap, whatever… – I’ll be doing it.

Damn, this doesn’t sound too hard. It’s only half a day, right…

I’ll keep y’all posted.


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