Solo Race #34 for Nat Ross is in the books. One would think that the more you do--the easier they get. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
I knew going into the race this year that it was going to be extremely tough. It was my second 24 hour race of the summer, but my first race against Chris Eatough since last year's National Championships. Although the field was stacked with the best endurance racers in the nation, I figured that Chris, last year's champion, was the man to beat. If you have not seen the movie by Gripped Films called 24 Solo, then you should! Do yourself a favor and check out www.grippedfilms.com.
If you've watched it then, you know why Chris consistently wins races. One major key to his fitness this year was winning the BC Bike Race. His preparation for nationals included a six-day mountain bike stage race in Canada. I, too, did a stage race before this event. It was RAAM-Race Across America, where our four-man team (Beaver Creek-Catlin) defended our title.
For the second year in a row, the USA Cycling 24 hour national championship was in Wausau, Wisconsin, located just up the road from the offices of Gary Fisher. Earlier in the week, I stopped by the mothership to pick up my new carbon 29' hardtail appropriately named "SuperFly" for the event. I spent the better part of an afternoon dialing in the new race bike. I worked on configuring my saddle fore/aft, saddle angle, and height as well as my effective body extension. I am super anal when it comes to my race bikes. They are all set up with identical saddle characteristics so that every time I hop on to a different bike, my legs can't tell the difference. I have used the WobbleNaught fit for the past four years. Lately, I even started doing fits in Golden, Colorado, out of the www.ProBikeCenter.com.
As a key part of my preparation for the race, I survey the course and find locations on the course to feed, attack, ease up, and conserve energy. It pays to know the course inside and out. Typically, I pre-ride one lap on the course two days before the race, however this year I pre-rode two laps full-throttle two days before as well as one lap around the course the day before. On race day, I arrived at the venue three hours before the start to make sure that everything was dialed. I was ready for the throw-down that was about to take place.
To read the complete diary entry, click here.