8 10 2015

Folks, Drew went and did the unimaginable.  Solo 24 Hour Worlds was last weekend in Weaverville, CA.  Drew went up against the best in the world in a knock-down, drag-out, knobby-tired brawl.  When the final piledriver was thrown down from the top turnbuckle, and the dust finally settled, one man stood alone–victorious.  In the words of MacLeod of the clan MacLeod, “There can be only one.”  Drew, you are a sexy beast.

His account below:

Start of Solo 24 Hour Worlds

Start of Solo 24 Hour Worlds.  Drew amongst the leaders

24 Hour Solo World Championships
a true test of a superior chamois (editor’s note: Drew’s words, not mine)
I just returned from the 24 Hour Solo World Championships in northern California where I won the masters (55+) world title – riding 24:17, 208 miles and over 24,000 feet of climbing. 
Designing chamois is hard. By chamois I am referring to the whole package of cycling bibs and the “chamois” padding. The pads of course have not been made of chamois for years but the name sticks. If the short is baggy is chafes. Too tight & it cuts your thighs. The pad can’t be too big or too small or it will rub. Riding a 24 hours rough technical mountain bike race is a true test of what works. Jeff’s Alchemist 2015 chamois is a champ! Not a rub, chafe, numb spot after 24 hours solid riding over 200 miles.
The Weaverville course is not exactly my kind of course, a thought echoed by pretty much every rider I talked to. To race 24 hours on a mountain bike it is most fun (& less painful) to have short repeated climbs & fast twisty sections. This course embarked on a 5km slog up a 9%-19% grade. That is not an un-doable climb, once or twice but for 16, 18 , 20 laps it was going to be rough.  After this “interesting” climb was a piece of showcase trail worthy of racing. There was a 10 mile descent on single track mining flumes. It was fast, smooth & fun. The grade was gradual & required pedaling, not a piece to be coasted. This section is on par with Monarch Crest or Wasatch Crest. Anyway – the course is what the organizer picks & we were all on the same trail.
Dr. Pepper should pay us for this adworthy shot

Dr. Pepper should pay us for this adworthy shot

When a race is titled the World Championships you expect to get good riders. I figured no one would fly over here from Europe or Australia unless they thought they could win. The field was  not huge but  everyone could ride. Most 24 races also have relay teams combined with solo riders. This race was solo only. That is a nice feature because riding solo in your 18th hour and getting passed over and over again by riders heading out on their 2nd lap is discouraging. 
I like to start a race fast & then dial is back a bit and have trained accordingly. As expected everyone was pretty sure they should  get up the climb first. The steep 15% + pitches were tough and the key was to not stress the quads early on those.  I slotted in between the 2 ladies leader on the descent & got pulled along a bit faster than planned – not wanting to hinder the 2nd rider nor pull over.  I felt great after lap one – almost done; only 23  hours to go. I was in the lead in my category. 
Toni:  “You are not eating enough”
The support crew in 24 hour racing is critical. I had Toni as my sole crew and she knows exactly what to do. She had detailed splits of how my competition was doing. She also had an added advantage with great cell coverage – the Alchemist crew in Boulder was texting coaching tips & encouragement all night long.  
Jeff Wu’s plan:  “build up a lead & take a nap” 
Paul Hooge & Jon Pulley immediately responded “NO – keep moving”
Every lap I would pick up a bottle or two & a bit of food. I  Toni would do a quick wipe of the bike, re-lube & I was out of there in 1 – 2 minutes. I have never raced a 24 hour race without breaking a bike. After lap 3 my fork control broke. I grabbed my spare bike for the next lap & Toni quick got it fixed & ready to switch back for the next lap. My main bike held up the rest of the race.  Many of the riders swap between two bikes every lap so their mechanic can tune & lube the bike for the next lap.  My gearing on my spare bike was not great for this course so I stayed on my primary bike all but a single lap. 

Naps are for sissies

Toni:  “You are not eating enough”
Even though we are racing the other riders are really nice. Everyone here is a fantastic rider. Jason English, who won the elite race & has won the last 4 years would chat a bit & encourage  me every time he lapped me – & that was a few times. The elite pros here are outrageously fit. Sonya Looney, friend of Alchemist ended up winning the Elite women with a stellar effort. 
The first night lap is always fun. Descending fast though the trees with complete darkness & just your helmet & frame light is a kick. It was very spread out by now & I saw very few riders on the downhill. After a few night laps the novelty wears off & it gets tedious. I always have a big lull at2 AM. You are very tired, it is dark, lonely & cold. I have decided, at 2 AM, on every 24 hour race & have ever done to never do another. I always seem to forget.
My taint may feel fine, but every other part of me feels like pure Sh*t. And yet I keep going . . .

My taint may feel fine, but every other part of me feels like pure Sh*t. And yet I keep going . . .

3AM: “WTF is with this climb. I am never doing another 24 hour race.”
One of the Aussies passes me on the steepest grade. He is walking faster than I ride. “Hey mate – rest your legs”
Sunrise – light off and it warms up. It should be a fun lap but the climb has eaten up my legs. Lights off & just 5 more hours. I remain in the lead by just under an hour. 
Toni:  “You are not eating enough”
Time for some tactics. I really don’t want to do any more laps than I have to. 24 hour racing has some quirky rules that can decide the race at the end. You can start a lap anytime up to 24 hours and finish in more than 24. I was a lap up on 2nd place with 2 hours to go. The question: Can he ride one lap & start a 2nd in 2 hours? If so I have to go out on one more. If not I can stop now.  Toni checks in for advise:
Jeff – “That’s enough. You got it”
Jon Pulley – “NO – you have to go out again”
Who you going to trust – a math teacher or an ER doc?  (editor’s note: For what it’s worth, Drew would have still won on time even without lap 16 in the books.  Having said that, I would also trust the math teacher)  This is the worlds. Out for my final, 16th lap. 208 miles, 24,000 feet of climbing. Masters 24 hour solo world champion. 
The elite pro men put in 20 laps for 260 miles. Sonya Looney won the elite women with 18 laps. 
Thanks to everyone for all the support. I really pushed me to stay on the bike & keep moving.
I’m not doing another 24 hour race. 
Property of World Champions only.

Property of World Champions only.



One response

8 10 2015

Awesome Drew! Toni looks like she is doing some calculus trying to make sure you have the right supply of Skittles and Dr. Pepper!

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