We woke up Saturday morning to rain, rumbling and more rain. Not what you envision for ideal Pando 6 / 12 hour race day weather. Fortunately the storm passed and the sun started to shine as we put up our race tents, prepared our bikes and started to warm up with a lap around the 4.4 mile single track course.
With adrenalin pumping, the start of the race sends you straight up the ski hill and turns you straight back down before you enter the riding path through the woods. The first lap is always an all out sprint as teams try to build a lead right from the start. The trail was still pretty wet, but had shed most of the rain from the morning storm.
Our Founders team had four participants at this year’s race. Two teams raced the advanced 6 hour race; Brad Bacon and Jeff Haney were on a team and Tenner and Marnie also raced the 6 hour as a 2 “man” advanced team. Jeremy Karel raced in the solo 6 hour advanced division.
After three hours of racing, all team members were feeling good and the course continued to get faster as the trail dried out. At 3:30 race promoter, Brent Walk announced a severe storm was 15 minutes away in Rockford and heading in our direction. With black clouds on the horizon, we continued to push the pace through the single track course. It started getting so dark in the woods, some riders were using their night riding lights to guide the way. Then it hit! Buckets of rain, wind bending trees and lightning everywhere. The lucky ones were nice and dry under their race tents. Unfortunately, Marnie, Brad and Jeremy were all on the course soaked to the bone and straining to see the trail that looked like flowing rivers. Riders were pulled from the course and asked to wait until it was safer to ride. Once the storm passed, the course really started getting MUDDY!!! With no tire traction, one lap felt like four. I’ve never heard bikes making worse noises as drive trains and brakes chewed through the mud. After an hour of slopping our bikes through the trail, the promoter made the call to end the race early. The six hour race finished at 6 and the 12 hour was canceled at 7.
All in all it was still a fun race day and great results for the team! Jeremy took 1st place in the advanced solo division with 10 laps. Brad and Jeff took 1st place in the 2 person advanced division with 15 laps. Tenner and Marnie took 2nd place with 15 laps.