Posted on 8:16 AM by Schottler
For the 2012 Burnin at the Bluff, I was torn between racing 6 hour solo or defending the 3-man team 12 hour with Mike Best and Nate Means. Turned out Chris Ploch was getting desperate, probably from the beat down last year, so he put together a seemingly unbeatable superteam of him, Garrett Steinmetz, and Travis Donn. That's not very nice, so I decided to help my team.
Just as last year, the trails were perfect and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Green Beans went first, in his jump suit of course, putting in a strong first lap of 1:05 or so. This got us in a good starting position and limited traffic for my lap. Unfortunately for me, I rode my mtb once, at night, for an hour, since Shenandoah (over a month ago.) It wasn't pretty. My motor was not the limiter on this lap. The first half of this 13 mile lap is really easy to overdo... lots of fast, flat, and loose corners. I got way too excited and anxious in my impossible pursuit of Garrett and went off course and face planted about 5 minutes in, which killed some confidence, but skillz came back about 6 miles in. I don't know how, but even with the crash, loss of confidence, and passing some traffic, I still put in the fastest lap so far of 59:03, but only got 30 or so seconds in to Garrett. Not happy with the time, I wanted a course record, and usually the first lap out is the only opportunity for that to happen in this race. (Record is 58:47, which I set last year)
Mike Best was our next man to go out, in pursuit of Travis Donn, and put in a strong lap. I was fired up for my 2nd lap, I still thought I could set a record. The lap went well, only a few minor mistakes. I beat my previous lap with a 58:57, leaving me with the two fastest laps of the day. Unfortunately I got behind a rider that wouldn't let me around, after politely asking to pass numerous times, I was told "you can pass, but I am not moving over or slowing down." Wow, thanks. That lost time would have set a new record.
My 3rd lap I went for an easier lap and pedaled around, coming in with a 1:02 something. The next time I went out was in the dark, and I wanted the record. Beans and Mike for the remainder of the race remained very consistent, which is very important in this race. No mechanicals and many fast laps. We stayed within 20 minutes of the superteam for the majority of the day. It kept us in the position of possibly taking the lead if the other team had a mechanical. Can't give up in these races!
By my 4th lap, we were looking at a possible 12 lap day, which hasn't been done before. The superteam was obviously in the same position, but a ways ahead of us. I told Mike and Beans that if something happens to Garrett and I come in within 5 minutes, I am going right back out for our 12th lap. I didn't eat enough after my 3rd lap. Beans was cooking some mean dutch oven lasagna and I really wanted to devour it when I got back, so I did the stupid thing and skipped some extra food before I went out. My goal was a 1:01-1:02 night lap, and I was totally on that pace by mile 6.... and then I started craving lasagna... not good. Mile 10 I started feeling sick and knew what was coming, BONK. I was having trouble concentrating and couldn't steer, bad stuff. To top it off my rear tire started going flat and I had to do the last climb on 5 psi. Lap turned out to be 1:05 something, which was still the fastest night lap, coming in at 11:59.47... we still could have done a 12th lap. I couldn't talk to anyone afterward, all I wanted was food, I was even having trouble riding back to the camp site. I ate. A lot. Mike, Nate, and John LeBlanc ate half the lasagna... I ate the other half... and 4 chicen brats... and 10 oreo's... and a handful of pumpkin bread, then fell asleep in my camp chair.
Overall, I am happy I did the team race, the event is amazing. Ride all day with good friends, very tough competition, and perfect weather, what else could you want? Huge props to the superteam, you guys killed it. And Dwayne Goscinksi, 10 laps solo 12 hour, never been done before, totally amazing.
I haven't ever ridden those climbs that fast, I think my fitness is better than this point last year. Considering my head is completely in different places right now with racing pretty far down on the priority list, I am happy and have some strong confidence for the Berryman in a couple weeks.