The last Saturday in October is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Not only is fall PERFECT riding weather, Halloween is close and the best 12 hour race on the planet happens.
For those who have never done a 12 hour race, you are missing out on a ton of fun (assuming that you do it with a team instead of solo...). Haw Ride Park in Oak Ridge, TN has the BEST race the Saturday before Halloween every year. It is aptly named "The Hill of Truth", after the steep miserable power line cut that the course climbs about 3/4 through the loop. The weekend can best be described as a big Halloween party with a bike race that happens in the background.
We normally put together a women's team for the event but this year logistics prevented that from happening. I got recruited to race with Mark and some "old guys" on a master's team (35+). This was not a co-ed category so we would find ourselves racing against teams that all had 4 boys. Amanda, our new teammate for 2009, raced with a women's team and Emily decided to try her hand at solo racing.
It POURED rain the day before so we were all a bit tentative about what we were about to partake in. We really lucked out. It has been SO dry that the ground soaked up all the rain and other than some slick roots and corners, it wasn't bad; just enough wetness to keep you guessing but not really muddy. Lucky for everyone from Chattanooga that was racing, Mark went up Friday in the rain and set up our "compound". We had a great area with a ton of room and pop up tents. And he didn't melt from the rain so all was good....
Emily had 8 tough women to race against and she ROCKED. She quickly settled into second place and never looked back. Carey, the woman who won, is awesome and a nationally ranked endurance racer so taking second to her is ALWAYS something to be proud of. Emily did 9 laps of the 7 mile course in 12 hours. She then promptly went to sleep and missed the awards. She is still feeling like she got hit by a truck today. We picked up her awards and cheered loudly for her accomplishment.
Amanda and her Knoxville women's team took a commanding win. Great job Amanda. You looked great out there!!! It is going to be so fun racing with you in 2009.
Mark and I had a great team. It was his team, I was just along for the ride. We had a VERY exciting race, going back and forth with one other team for the entire 12 hours. We were never more than 5 minutes either ahead or behind them. YIKES!! Things were made more exciting by the untimely demise of our lights. Mine went out on my second night lap right at the end of the lap. The bad news was that it was on the last fast descent. Talk about freaky... one minute I was flying down a hill, the next minute it was BLACK. Fortunately our friend Jon was right behind me and let me follow him back in, only losing a couple of minutes. In the end we WON. The team with the girl beat all the teams with 4 boys. That was fun!!!
What an awesome weekend and what a great showing for our team. If this is any indication of 2009 we are in for a great year!!!