Monday, August 13, 2007

24 hours of Great Glen

A cannon blast echoed through the Mount Washington valley. It was noon on Sunday and I let out a giant yee haw. The blast was the sign we were waiting to hear, the race was officially over. All racers on course finish up a final lap and get off your bikes for a while. 24 hours on a four man team and I got the gravy lap, and savored every moment.

One last time through the tunnel. Up the grassy switchback climb and up again to the newer section of single track, to be rewarded with a technical squirly decent, and onward to many miles of fast carriage road and small sections of swoopy connector trails. By now I could ride that loop with my eyes closed, and so could any of the other 426 participants... especially the 53 soloists in this year's 24 hours of Great Glen...
Memories of the weekend will play in my mind providing visions that will make me smile and laugh out loud for years to come. To the guys on my team, thanks for the memories. Sorry we didn't bring home gold but we gave the other "elite" team a run for their money.
The weekend started ugly.. The battery died in Thom's Volvo en rout to the venue, with a car load of men and gear. We truly were living up to our team name, Go Ugly Early. We quickly overcame the dilemma by extracting the battery from my Subaru in a bus station parking lot and placing it in Thom's engine compartment. With the battery swap behind us we drove three hours into the White Mountains and arrived in time to setup camp and get organized.

My teammates, Thom Parsons, and Greg 'the leg' Montello and I spun a warm up lap while our fourth man, Jeff Whittingham was voted "fast guy"... Meaning he'd run around the pond to start the race. Once in a while it pays to be the slow guy ya know. Conditions on the course were superb, dry and fast. Jeff had a great first lap coming in 30 sec behind first. Montello went next and turned in his first of many blazingly fast runs on his prototype IF 26 Ti/lefty to move into the lead. Then my turn. It hurt but went fine, held my own. Thom on his SS up next...don't know how he pushes that 32x18 to the velocity he achieves. If there's anyone with movie clips of Thom P on course please share cause I'm baffled and think the world needs to witness the focus and brutality it takes to rip 40 minute laps at GG on a single gear bike.

Our team was fueled on humor, respect and experience. To say the least it was a good time with friends. Moving into the night laps Greg had a light malfunction and I recorded two slow laps (46's) to back us into second place pro men where we would battle unsuccessfully for the remainder of the race.

Harry Precourt won the mental game with the mountain bringing home gold in the solo men 19-39. The Wilderness 101 last weekend was just the warm-up you needed to pedal 195.5 miles to victory this weekend Harry, good stuff. Hope you recover well and listen to you father, stay out of that stone yard for a cpl days.. :)

Jason Achilich won the men's SS solo. Good for you man. I saw him out there rocking his way to victory on his last lap. Funny thing about this event, as Roz said it too... for such a small course (8.5 miles) I only saw a few of my friends but for a brief moment during the race. Jason once, Harry once and didn't get the chance to see Roz on course at all, Btw congrats to IBC and Roz for your win in the expert 4 person women's field. The only person I WAS aiming to buzz was Western cycle Bill but never saw him either ; )

To all that I did buzz, sorry. I tried to be respectful out there in the wee hours of the morning as the soloists were suffering silently in their self made cocoons of body fluid and chamois cream. Every one I passed I said a quick "howdy do" knowing the only real suffering I'd do would be waiting for my next lap back at camp, cold and wet and tring to decide weather or not to change from my clammy chamois or just slip my sleeping bag on and grab a quick nap.

Thanks to Christopher Igleheart and son Max for cookin up some tasty pasta at night and more importantly coffee on Sunday am. Good to have you both there for support.

Next up Hampshire 100K.


rick is! said...

damn man, when you said you were doing gg this weekend I assumed it was for shits and giggles, not to go for the overall win. Looks like it was a closely fought battle. Nice job.

rick is! said...

i wonder how much the course has changed since my bro and I did the men's pair race? The last year we pulled off 30 laps so I'm guessing they've added some more single track to slow things down?