1st Race of the Season, a 24 Hour MTB Race

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I never would have thought that my first race this year would be riding a 24 hour MTB race on a team.  But, that is what I’m doing, I guess.  My friend Vincent convinced me to ride The 24 Hours of Old Pueblo on his team.   It was a spontaneous decision that I’m still not sure how it got made.

I’ve heard of the race for years and it looked like a really good time.  The race is down by Tucson Arizona and they advertise it as “The Burning Man of MTB Racing”.  Sounds fun.  I am pretty competitive and usually wouldn’t be going to an event unless I though there was a fair chance to win.  Maybe we do have a chance to win, I really don’t know.  I don’t even know 2 of the other guys I’m riding with, so how would I know?

I’ve done three 24 hour events in my life.  The first one was the Spenco 500, way back when I rode on the Wheaties/Schwinn Pro Road Team.  It was a 500 mile race that you could race solo or on a team.  The race wasn’t really 24 hours, because we averaged way over 21 mph.  We won that event.  It was really good prize money back then, I’m thinking around $7500 to win.

The next two 24 hour races were the 24 Hours of Telemark.  Nordic skiing.  I skied both on a 5 man team and we won both times.  I think one year I skied something around 175 km, which was a lot at the time.  All three of the 24 hour races I‘ve compete in before have created life memories for me.  I’m sure this one will too.

Both on the bike and skiing, I really enjoyed the night laps.  At night it seems like you are going so much faster and it is out of the ordinary, riding, or skiing, at race speed, at that time of the night.

I have no expectations here.  For sure I’m going to try my best to do well.  But I have no experience at all, so it is going to be a learning process.  I just would like to enjoy it and see if it these events are something that suits my abilities.

I’m a little apprehensive about my physical ability to handle the race.  My hip is much better than even a month ago, I think, but the last couple weeks, it has been feeling a little weird.  I actually limped some just last week, which bummed me out.  I hate going backwards in the healing process.  But, it is easy to fall back to the limping stage if you are me.  I have to consciously try to not limp a lot of the time.  Plus, I’m really not in race shape for actually racing bicycles.  But, riding multiple laps, on a MTB bike, in February, might be just the thing?

I’m not too worried about falling down and hurting myself. It is about time I fall and get that over with.  My hip bone is healed.  It is just the muscles that don’t want to function correctly.  I’d like to get over the psychological barrier and just hit the ground hard, maybe not SO hard, be hard enough to know I can still bounce and not stick.  I did it a couple times skiing the Double Birkie after Christmas, but that was snow, not dirt, rock or concrete.

The race is in just two weeks.  I’d better get working on my MTB.  Other than Chequamegon, I haven’t done a MTB bike race in a year and a half.  Might be a little rusty, me and the bike.

All three of the 24 hour races I’ve competed in before have created life memories for me.  I’m sure this one will too.

Michael Vaarten winning the Spenco 500.  Michael rode the first lap, then went back to the hotel and ate, slept all night, then came back and rode the last lap.  He was World Kerin Champion and was pretty much a ringer to win the sprint, even though Chris Huber gave him a good run for his money.

Michael Vaarten winning the Spenco 500. Michael rode the first lap, then went back to the hotel and ate, slept all night, then came back and rode the last lap. He was World Kerin Champion and was pretty much a ringer to win the sprint, even though Chris Huber gave him a good run for his money.

Click to enlarge.  Check out Chris Petty's time.  The guy was unbelievable.  When the group split at 2 am or so, he made the split with me, and Hegg and I'm not sure who else. There were 5 of us.  After a few rotations at 28 mph, he said, "Hey Steve, do you mind if I sit on?  I'm an individual."  He's been riding for 14 hours at the time.  I do him to do whatever he wanted, he was incredible.

Click to enlarge. Check out Chris Petty’s time. The guy was unbelievable. When the group split at 2 am or so, he made the split with me, and Hegg and I’m not sure who else. There were 5 of us. After a few rotations at 28 mph, he said, “Hey Steve, do you mind if I sit on? I’m an individual.” He’d been riding for 14 hours at the time. I told him he could do whatever he wanted, he was incredible.

23 thoughts on “1st Race of the Season, a 24 Hour MTB Race

  1. Ethan

    Yea – Chris Petty also broke his rear der cable in that event and rode at least 1/2 of it in his 12. Fueled my Taco Bell and Peanut M&M’s.

    The guy was seriously talented.

     
  2. bart

    Didn’t Petty break a der cable and rode stuck in the 12? Possibly getting to be bike lore but I think he ate Hormel Chili along with M&Ms for his road food…

     
  3. The Cyclist

    I like Team Lycra. What a name for a cycling team… 😀 and 10 Speed Drive. LOL.
    That’s a lot of funny names in just one race.

     
    1. channel_zero

      FYI, Ten Speed Drive was the name of a wholesaler that imported frames and other pro gear from Europe in various states of completion for sale to bike shops in the U.S.

       
    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Bob-Sure they are Schwinn Paramounts. I have both of my bikes, the Schwinn/Icy Hot frame and Wheaties/Schwinn bikes in my basement. The Wheaties bike has my name stamped as the serial number in the bottom bracket. Pretty neat.

      No one else is still competing. Michael and Mike Engleman are still involved in the sport. Broz did race some MTB recently. If you look at IME team, Thomas Craven runs the Hincapie Developement Pro Team now. Lots of nice, and talented , guys in those results.

       
  4. SteveB

    I love reading your blog, which I discovered a couple of years ago. I was wondering when and if you’d come race in Arizona. Come back for Tucson Bicycle Classic in March.

     
  5. Eric

    Take a pick comb with you down to Tuscon. The choyo (sp?) cactus get stuck in you, and you need the pick to pop them out without getting it stuck in your hand also. Fun course otherwise.

     
  6. Alane

    Man I’m jealous. Not going to 24HOP this year. It’s an easy course and the race is way fun. Night laps are
    the best, last year we had a full moon! Watch out for cattle on the trail at night. And try to ride The Bitches in daylight once so you know what they are like. Wow have fun!!!

     
  7. Carl Sundquist

    Dammit, I’m still competing. I raced crits three out of four Sundays in January and I’ll be racing on the track next Tuesday night. I’ll try to make it back up for either Joe Martin or Tulsa Tough.

     
  8. Roadman92

    I remember Chris Petty that year. His derailer cable snapped and he was stuck in the 53 x 12 or 42 x 12 for a ton of miles. Also, i think he put a bag or Doritos in his skin suit and was munching along as he raced.

     
  9. usedtorace

    How about the time Petty had to change a damaged shoe at Muscatine or some other big midwest crit, did it while on the bike, and still won the Pro 1 2 race.I also think he was 18 when he won Spenco. Unbelievably talented and among a number of national class cyclists from Missouri at the time!

     
  10. roadman92

    Wasnt Shaun Wallace on the Schwinn team as well? I remember seeing him race Northbrook in the Madison that year…I could have my years mixed up though.

     
  11. Max

    We need to clear up what Petty actually ate that day.

    M&Ms seems to be a constant. Plain or Peanut?
    I’ve heard Coke (the soft drink) but maybe all he wanted was a Pepsi and his mom wouldn’t give it to him.
    Now we have Doritos, Taco Bell and Chili.

    The legend evolves….

     
  12. Craig L

    Hey Steve- What kind of saddle are you using there on the road bike? It looks pretty cool. Who makes it?

    Also, love the blog. I read it every day but for God’s sake man why won’t you wear a helmet? We want you around to keep riding and keep writing! You’re an inspiration. Protect your noggin.

     
  13. Leslie

    Petty also ate soup out of a can during the race, as well as coke and snickers bars. That was pretty much his normal diet.

     

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