Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wausau24 Teamin'

I met Danielle Musto last winter when I dove right into the Fat Bike racing scene!  Right away it was obvious she had a true passion for racing her bike and I instantly liked her!  She was a riot!  A few more fat bike races some Thai food and a gifted 4 pack of Farmhand Ale later and I had somehow committed to racing the 12 hour duo with her at Wausau24!? 

Musto is a Pro endurance racing machine and has completed multiple 24 hour races not to mention dozens more 100 milers!  I on the other hand had never been to a 24 hour race , could not understand why someone would ever want to ride their bike for 24 hours straight?! and really I had never rode my mountain bike for more than 4 and 1/2 hours in one day.  Needless to say 6 hours and 64 miles later I am completely trashed...and I can't stop eating.  Its' quite gross actually.  Oh and apparently it turns out that slamming down a pulled pork sandwich in between laps isn't a such a great idea... who would have known?????

Tom and I arrived into Wausau Friday night and quickly checked in and then shared some nervous energy with my teammate Danielle.  We then we headed out to the Great Dane to meet up with Benny G and his girlfriend, Laura who live in Wausau.  Who can turn down good friends, good burgers and good beer?

Both Danielle and I were so stoked for the race the next day we could barely get to sleep! Earlier in the week Danielle had joked that she felt like she was getting reading for a XC race and I felt like I was getting ready for an endurance race.  It was so true!!

Friday morning  finally came and soon we were tearing up the room and throwing as many layers as possible into our bags....it was freezing out and the high temp for the day was in the mid 50s?  The Midwest is such a weird place. We were of course really pushing it time wise in true April fashion and when we got our to our cars and turned on the ignition we realized something was really wrong....ahh shit!  Tom and I had a flat tire?!!! No way? you can't be serious.?? Danielle and I rushed to the gas station to pick up one of those emergency flat tire sealant cans. Midas gave me the touch last spring and told me that these sealant cans are really bad for your tires...well shove it Midas, it worked!! We got to the race site with barely enough time to check in and get my race number.

Danielle had reserved us a sweet pit spot on Friday so all we had to do was put up the 45NRTH tent. Tom was our pit boss and he helped set up our tent and gear while we both got warmed up.  Our pit was right next to Musto's friend Ben and Megan's tent.  Ben raced the 12 hour solo and totally crushed it getting 3rd place.  His girlfriend however makes the best homemade power bars...which eventually made it into my feeding frenzy. Thanks Megan!

The Wausau24 race starts off with a what they call a Le Mans start, which means you set your bike down in a spot and then when the gun goes off you run to it, mount it and then go!!  Danielle thought since this was my first race of this sort it was only fair I get to experience it.  So yes...after a 9 month hiatus I have officially come out of running retirement.  The run was about 200 yards so I figured I had better do some wind sprints to warm up....this was me after my first warm up run totally gasping for air...yikes. 

Finally we were at the start and I was so flustered and really just praying I wouldn't pull a muscle!  Finally GO! I felt like I was Running with the Bulls!  It was hilarious to have people stomping around in bike shoes and then trying to dodge each other while we hopped on our bikes...what a hilarious way to start a mountain bike race..I loved it! 

Where's Waldo?
 Racing as a team rocks as not only do you want to do well for yourself, but you also want to do well for your team...it's super motivating!  I was hammering it on the first lap and since I hadn't pre-rode the course my handling was a bit sketchy. There was a few rock gardens at Nine Mile Forest and on the first lap I hit my handle bar on a tree right before one and my shoe came unclipped and then smash... I crashed right down the rock garden! Oh bother.... I'm so used to crashing these days that I just carried on like usual and made up some time smashing through the double track!  I finally came ripping into the transition area to see Danielle waiting for me, we slapped hands and then she was on her way!  What a rush!

Throughout the 12 hour period we rotated doing single laps and double laps. Doing single laps is perhaps the fastest way to do it, but having the 2 laps gave us a bit more time recover, fuel up, fix our bikes and in my case eat an entire pulled pork sandwich....

I of course had packed a whole bag full of energy gels, bars, fruit and other snacks that I should have been eating,  However none of that seemed appealing so throughout the day I just pretty much ate what I wanted which included the following (and then some!):
  • 7/8 bottles of Gatorade
  • 2/3 flasks of vanilla EFS
  • 1 Latte Clif Shot
  • some water??
  • chocolate wafers
  • pulled pork sandwich
  • coffee
  • chips
  • hot dog
  • more chips
  • Red bull!
  • lemon wafers
  • beef jerky
  • bonk breaker bar
  • some pretzels
  • Megan's amazing power bars
  • some Pringles
  • watermelon
  • more of Megan's amazing power bars, yum!
  • 2 chocolate chip cookies
  • Finish line Pizza!
  • Finish line Beer!
Believe it or not, my stomach never even hurt. However I did have one really shitty hot mess lap, which we now refer to as the Pork Sandwich Meltdown.  I never felt sick, but all the sudden I had zero energy.  It was like my world came crashing down and I was having hard time controlling my bike.  Eventually I crashed face first down the exact same rock garden smashing my forearm on a lovely rock. Based on the smorgasbord above it couldn't have been for a lack of calories...rather I'm pretty sure my body just wanted a  nap post Thanksgiving Feast :) oops!

Danielle has obviously done this before and thankfully she had packed a 4 pack of  Red Bull.  This meant once it was time for me to do another lap, I had wings!!! I felt amazing!  I guess this roller coaster is what makes endurance racing so much fun!  The last lap I did was in the dark and I even cleared some of the tougher rock gardens with lights!  It was rad! 

Thanks XTR for capturing this night shot! Proof I can ride rocks!

Danielle had the final lap and she killed it in the dark!  When she came ripping into the finish she had the biggest smile on her face!  We had won!!!  Woo hoo! 

Right after the race Danielle said it best, "that was so much fun!"

Wausau 12 Hour was a blast we are already making plans to head back next year!  In fact, we were so pumped Saturday night we stayed up til 2 am sharing stories from the day and drinking you guessed it, some Farmhand Ale...poor Tom was exhausted and passed out after being an amazing pit boss.  He told me Saturday night that Danielle was a much better "employee" and whenever he told her she had 15 minutes until her next lap she would do as told and get up and start getting stuff  ready.  I on the other hand was a total pain in the ass and would ignore him until well pretty much I decided it was time to get up and get ready.  You aren't the boss of me!!  :)

The following day were the awards and we were of course we were still eating.  I didn't have a place to change out my shirt so I put my Foundry jersey on over my t-shirt.  I of course felt like a sausage and asked Ben, Megan, Tom and Danielle if I looked like "fat girl in a little jersey?" They lied to me!!

Food baby?
Thank you Tom for supporting us, you rock. Thank you Scott for stopping by to entertain Tom for a bit and also for fixing my bike! Thank you 45NRTH for letting us use your tent. Wausau for a kick ass race and a kick ass trail!  See you all next year!

Oh and for the record.....I still don't know why someone would ever want to ride their bike for 24 hours straight!

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