8 Hours of Cannonsburg

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This past Saturday, three members from the Founder’s Team (Gabe, Jacobi and myself) decided to give endurance racing a try.  The ski area is one of the best, yet toughest trails around and thinking about riding the 5.5 mile loop for 8 hours can seem daunting.  Adding to this was the logging that had gone on throughout the trail for two weeks prior to the race.  However, with the help of several people and chain saws, the trail was cleared.  Rain fell the day prior to the race which made dirt conditions hard packed and fast.

Upon arriving at the race, Jacobi had the pit area all set.  Jeff seems to know how these races run and had everything dialed in, including a make shift changing room.  As the race drew closer, everyone seemed to be eying their opponents.  In an event like this, you need to know who you are racing against because strategy plays an important role.  There are also several key items you have to think about when racing for an entire day.  How long can you stop in the pit?  What should the pace per lap be?  Can you afford to stop to use the bathroom?  Seeing how this was my first endurance race solo, I figured out the answers to these questions throughout the course of the day.

As the race started, the pace seemed very doable.  Gabe went off the front and led for two to three hours.  He only had four hours to put in and wanted to get a good workout.  As the morning progressed, I found myself right up with the leaders.  Upon finishing my 6th lap, I heard Brent announce that I was dominating my field since I was the only one in the 29 and under category.  This is where I finally started to battle my head.  I pretty much knew I didn’t have to race anyone to win, but I wanted to still prove to myself what I could do.  My lap times stayed pretty constant, but I started to find myself stopping for longer periods of time in the pits.  If there’s one thing I can learn from Jeff, it’s to never sit down and stay consistent.  After my 12th lap, I found myself wanted to just relax and hang out, but Rick talked me into at least one more lap.  As I finished my 13th lap, Rick again was standing towards the finish telling me I had time for one more lap.  Thus, I came through the shoot and headed out for one more lap.

I ended up first in my age group (by default) with 14 laps and a time of 8:24:21.  Jacobi was a beast and ended up first in the 30-39 category with 15 laps in 8:33:27.  Gabe ended up getting 7 laps in 3:47:57 giving him a second place finish in the single speed category.

I did end up learning a few things from this race.  First, one turkey sandwich and four pbj’s about did it for me nutrition-wise.  I tried to drink a full bottle of Heed or water every two laps and really didn’t cramp at all.  Most importantly, whatever song is in the car prior to an endurance race has to be good.  For some reason I had “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars in my head all day, which isn’t a real motivational song.

Thanks to Jeff for setting up shop and giving some great pointers.  Also, thanks to Rick and the other teammates for coming out to support.  Good luck to all those doing Lumberjack next week. I’ll be there cheering you on.

Jeremy Karel

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