This is a short account of Victor and I raced at the Dirty dozen 12 hour race in Warda last week.
Pre Race: After our original plan of camping out there was cancelled because of tornadoes and several inches of rain, we set out from College Station at 5:45am in pouring rain to be there in time for registration at 7:00am. Half way there, Ali calls us and informs us that the race has been postponed ’till noon to give a chance for the standing water to drain from the trails. So we get there early, register, set up a rain proof camp, try to sleep in the car and go bug Ali and Kim at registration for a few hours to kill some time until the race meeting starts. At the race meeting we learn that the trail has been shortened to 5 mile loop to make sure we don’t damage trails that don’t drain as well. Also the race will be a 8 hour race, not 12.
The start: 5 minutes before the start of the race, it starts raining again. Undeterred by the unfavorable elements Victor uses his triathlete skills and gets a great start, a perfect transition and speeds into the trees under. Since the laps last for 25 minutes we decide to do 3 laps each so we have time to rest and clean the bike in between turns.
The mud: I get out for my first series of laps and the trails are slick and there are several mud holes. Riding in the mud is so much fun! I quickly learn to breathe through my nose while passing through mud holes to prevent inadvertent mud consumption. The first section of trails is kind of sandy so it holds up pretty well to the abuse. Unfortunately, there is a short cut through a cow field that quickly turns into a giant mud pit 50 yards long and keeps getting wider every lap. I bet the cows are angry with us for ruining their field! The worst thing about this mud pit is that it is littered with cow pies so “mud” is probably not the best work to describe it.
The routine: Victor and I keep switching every 2 or 3 laps our times being regular like clockwork. The timing system is all messed up because of the very short laps so we are not sure of our ranking but we know we are among the top teams. The race becomes a routine: ride for 1:30 hour, clean the bikes and shoes, change into dry clothes, eat stuff, put wet shoes and gear back on, go ride another 3 laps.
The finish: Victor starts his last lap with about 30 minutes left in the race. While I wait for Victor, Bob takes a picture of “Mudscicles” hanging from my legs. Where is that picture Bob? I am secretly hoping Victor gets a flat tire so I won’t have to go out again but no, he clocks another great lap and off I go 1 minute before the end. The rankings are still confused so I push hard in case we can gain one position. Riding in the mud in the dark is something that needs to be done at least once in a lifetime. I cross the finish line at 8:24pm with a team total of 20 laps. I turns our we finished in 3rd position only 4 minutes from the lead.
The support: I want to thank Ali, Kim, for volunteering at the race and also moral support while I was waiting for Victor. Thanks also to Bob and Joel for taking the pictures.
Here are our times