O'Dea diary: Home field advantage

We didn't have to travel far to join the second race of the Granny Gear 24 hour National Points...

We didn't have to travel far to join the second race of the Granny Gear 24 hour National Points Series with the race at the Olympic Mountain Bike course in Conyers, Georgia. This is known to be one of the most demanding and brutal courses for a 24 hour solo race, according to the pros and the weekend warriors, alike. That was likely one factor in the solo field being quite small in this race. Being that this is our "home" course, there was a bit of pressure riding on both of us for this race.

This would be my fourth time racing a solo 24 hour at Conyers, while it would be Namrita's first. My best finish at Conyers was second place up until 2008 so this time I was fighting some personal demons and looking for victory once and for all. Rob Lichtenwalner and Chuck Wheeler were not racing, so a win for me would move me into the lead for the points series. Namrita was coming to Conyers already in the NPS lead after her victory at the 24 hours of Vail Lake just three weeks earlier.

Jimmy McMillan took off like he was on fire, and I followed. I felt great, the legs were moving with ease and there was no stress that this guy was attacking from the gun. I know this course like the back of my hand, and I used that to my advantage, taking all the smoothest lines and maintaining as much momentum as possible off the many short descents. Jimmy put a minute or two into me on the first three laps, and still I was calm. Finally on the fourth lap two of our crew let me know that I had passed him in the pits and he was backing off.

This meant that could I ease up on the pace just a little to be more consistent through the night. By nightfall I was just starting to feel the effects of the Conyers course. The millions of little stutter bumps that slowly wear you down. I was eating well (unlike my experience at the 24 hours of Vail Lake) and when my parents showed up with pizza, I quickly scarfed a piece down and then stopped myself short of eating another knowing what that would feel like out on the course.

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