The Wausau 24 is one of my all-time favorite races and I look forward to it every year. The course is fun, the promoter does an awesome job, and the people are great. Whenever I go there I feel like I'm at a big bike-family reunion.
Scott and I left really early Friday morning so that we could arrive at the venue with enough time to set up camp and pre-ride the course. The race had several different divisions and my plan was to race my Selma SS in the women's open 12 hour solo division. During the drive over I told Scott that I was considering racing the first lap on my El Mariachi so that I could put it in the big ring and try to get the fastest lap. Scott gave a gasp and told me that I wasn't a true singlespeeder. Which I'd like to point out I never claimed to be in the first place. I like racing with gears and I like racing without them. What-EVER.
Anyways, I hung my head in shame and decided that I would stay on my SS the entire time. No shifting allowed at this race :-)
After a quick pre-ride, lots of talking and eating, we settled down in our tent and listened to giant mosquitoes attack our tent from the outside. It was scary! Wisconsin mosquitoes are just like the ones in Michigan...blood-sucking monsters!
The race started at 10 a.m. and I was dripping with sweat by 9 a.m. Not a good sign at all. My goal was to pace myself evenly throughout the race (even though I still wanted the fastest lap) and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I was racing with a bottle of water on my bike and had my hydrapak filled with powerbar drink mix. Lemon-lime! I never get sick of it.
We started with a typical Lemans start. I think we only had to run about 1/4 of a mile, but it was 1/4 of a mile too long in my book. It's hard to imagine that I did a 10 mile trail run this spring, because I was barely moving. It hurt so freaking bad. During the run I promised myself that IF I made it to my bike alive I would start running a little bit again.
I was so, so happy to reach my bike. I swear I heard everyone switch into their big rings all at once and I had to pedal my brains out to try and stay up on the doubletrack. Once we hit the singletrack I was able to move up a few spots, but for the most part it was wheel to wheel for the first 11 miles.
The trail was much clearer during the second lap and I ended up getting the fastest female lap! Woo hoo...and all without shifting! From that point on I just worked on building my lead. It was super hot out but my legs felt good and my laps were pretty consistent. It was the perfect trail for racing my SS on. The only difficult part was on a few tight sections of trail that had a lot of rocks and roots. Normally I would shift into an easier gear and pedal through but I obviously couldn't do that. Instead I was doing a lot of half-pedal strokes and coasting.
My legs felt good throughout the race, but during the 5th lap they started to feel awesome. At first I didn't realize that the temps had dropped, but once I looked at the sky I realized a storm was moving in. It turned really dark and windy and I loved every minute of it. Especially when it started thundering and lightening. At times I felt like I was riding in a river and it was FUN!!!
Obviously not safe though, and the promoter had to postpone the race. I was bummed because I hate stopping, and was ESPECIALLY bummed when I found out that my 5th lap wasn't going to count. It was because they had to pull some people behind me off the trail, so it wouldn't have been fair. Oh well, everyone was in the same boat. Since I couldn't go out for another lap I did the next best possible thing. Changed into dry gear, climbed into our truck with the heat blasting, ate a ham sandwich, drank a red bull and then took a small nap. It was kind of nice!
Exactly 2 hours later we were able to start again with a mass start. I was concerned that my legs would feel stiff, but they felt really good. It must have been the ham sandwich and mini nap. The rest of the race passed in a blur and by night I had enough of a lead that I was able to finish an hour early.
I am really excited about now I felt during the whole race and I never wished for gears once. Or maybe I did, and I've already forgotten about it :-) Now I'm trying to recover quickly. I'm not that sore, but I AM tired. I think I'm more tired from sleep deprivation then the actual race. I have the hardest time sleeping after an endurance race and it was even more of a problem in the tent.
Sadly I don't have any podium pictures but oh well. The awards weren't until noon and we had to leave early to get back to Michigan at a decent hour.