Even though I've done quite a few races at Nine Mile Forest this was my first time driving over solo. I guess the only downside to having a winter AND summer race schedule now is that Scott can't come with me to all of my summer races if he wants to come to some of the winter ones. He's getting off pretty easy this summer if you ask me, especially when I saw the insane amount of movies he watched while I was away :-)
Anyways, I was bummed that Scott couldn't come but still extremely excited to get to Wausau. I guess it's pretty obvious that the Wausau 24 is one of my favorite races since I keep going back...and once again it did not disappoint.
The drive over seemed much longer then usual and I suspect it's because in the past I would sleep at least half of the trip. I finally arrived around 9 p.m. Thursday evening, ate, and went to bed. It was pouring rain the next morning but I managed to keep myself quite busy (drinking coffee, eating, drinking coffee, eating). Finally the rain stopped and the sun came out. I drove over to Nine Mile Forest to meet up with my friend Ben and his girlfriend Megan.
Already tents were popping up on the main strip...
April and her husband Tom to arrive. We talked a bit about the race and what our game plan would be. Neither April or I had done a 12 hour duo race before so we were mostly playing it by ear. Both of our coaches basically said the same thing. Go out and hammer and then immediately rest and eat in between laps.
Before I knew it our alarms were going off...RACE DAY!!! It was surprisingly cold outside. Like "late fall in Michigan" cold. It was perfect riding weather for me, but I realized that I had made a slight error when packing. I'm so used to racing solo that it never occurred to me that I would be sitting down for half of the race. Luckily April had brought a blanket and a jacket so we were able to share. That's what teammates are for, right?
We set up our pit area and got ready to race. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to 45NRTH for letting us use one of their tents. It sprinkled off and on throughout the day and the tent kept us nice and dry! PS. Isn't our pit area organized? Ha!
The racers started coming through the transition area and all of a sudden I saw my teammate hammering through. Holy fast lap! We slapped hands and I was off. My first lap was all sorts of crazy. I haven't raced many cross country races this summer so I was afraid I was going to explode. I also felt like I was riding like a crazy person and hitting every single rock and root out there. My legs felt good though and the lap went by quickly. Then I tagged April and she went out for another two really fast laps.
Sitting and waiting was the hardest part because it was so gloomy and cold. The promoter gave us all a beanie in our registration bags and it was a great item to get because I ended up wearing it all of the time when I wasn't racing. Tom (April's husband) and Megan (Ben's girlfriend) were amazing pit support. Initially I didn't think we would need that much support since we were on a team but au contraire. After each lap I was whacked out so they fed me and made sure I was warm and kept track of our laps.
I wasn't sure how I would like racing duo but I loved it. I loved going out and trying to hammer as fast as possible and I loved how I felt while doing it. I had so much fun out there. That being said it was also extremely hard, especially when we were doing two laps at a time. When I finished up my quads felt tired, like I had just finished a cross-country race. The only difference was that I was going to have to go out and try to do it all over again :-)
The best part about racing duo was coming through the transition area...it was so much fun to see April smiling and shooting out of the crowd to meet me. Having a teammate also made me push myself on each lap...especially on the doubletrack sections.
Since April started the race I finished the race. It was great having April, Tom and Megan waiting at the finish line. Our team (JetBlack) had finished in 1st place with 14 laps.
I was so proud of both of us. We worked really hard and well together. And the best part of racing duo? Having a teammate to celebrate with!
Once again I have to thank Tom and Megan for being such great pit support. They were amazing. And congrats to my teammate Tim (go Salsa!) for getting second place in the 12 hour solo division and my friend Ben for getting third! Ben is an ultra endurance runner and he mainly does 100 mile trail runs, which I can't even imagine doing. I witnessed how great of shape he is in when he was riding behind me on my second lap. He was talking like we were sitting down having coffee and I could barely answer him in one syllable words because I was breathing so hard!
And that's a wrap on another year at the Wausau 24! Goodbye Nine Mile Forest...thanks for more great memories and see you next year.