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Keith Bontrager diary: The Adrenalin 24 Hour World Championships

First I have to say that this wasn't an event I had planned on competing in earlier this year. I had contemplated it because it was just down the road, but it would be a week after a long stage race in Germany. That could be very good (I had one of my best 24 hour races the week after the TransAlp one year) or it could be a disaster (no elaboration required, right?).

My entry was all Matt Carr's fault. He's a friend from Bristol, England. I met him one evening a few years ago at MudDock, a cool shop in town with a restaurant upstairs. I was there to give a talk and ended up enjoying some very good food and wine. I recommend it if you are in town.

Then I met him again a year later at the first Twentyfour12 event. He races solo on a single speed, which is only slightly on the unusual side these days. But he does it with a certain style, constantly dishing out artful (somewhat) comedy and heckling other riders throughout the event. In spite of the extra energy he spends that way he is typically at or close to the front of the race. He finished third overall in the solo category at the Twentyfour12 this year on a 69er, the new Trek single speed, which, given the quality of the field and the amount of climbing, was a damn good result.

He contacted me to organize his pit at the worlds, which was fair since it was just down the road (the event was taking place at Laguna Seca). I'd never done that before, though it was not going to be too difficult to do. I made some calls and dug around in the pile o' stuff I have for 24 hour racing. Megan and Anna were in, so was my friend Ray's son (also called Ray), along with ace wrench Tom Sullivan from Amsterdam Bicycles. Everything was set. He was also, possibly without knowing it, giving me the chance to cook for him and the others who would be involved. Tomatoes are in season, as are wild berries, and I have some fennel pollen I just collected to try. That's the sort of thing I am always up for.

After thinking about it a little, the idea of sitting around the pit at a 24 hour bike race didn't have much appeal. If I could organize everything well enough, I could ride too. I had been riding long races all year and was going reasonably well, all things considered. They had age groups and my results would be good enough to get me in. So I signed up to ride.

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