Monday, October 15, 2007

24 Hours of Moab Report

I just woke up from 12 Hours of Jared, my own little event that involves me being in a sleeping coma for 12 hours straight. 10 hours into this event, my wife sent my son down (one of my little recovery secrets is that I often retire in our guest bedroom downstairs) to check on me -- "just to make sure I was still alive."

Well alive I am. I'd say I'm even more alive because right before the 12 Hours of Jared, I participated in an event called 24 Hours of Moab -- a mountain bike race that goes for 24 hours. No, I didn't ride straight for 24 hours; although several people did. I was a member of a 4 man relay team. It consisted of me, Jon (both lawyers), and two doctors. We called ourselves the "ambulance chasers" (get it?). Our team turned out to be a loose experiment that (in case you're wondering) yielded the following results:
  • Doctors are generally smarter and more spontaneous than lawyers. They can arrive at an event like 24 Hours of Moab without much training, less than 1 hour before the event is to begin, and then perform like they have been preparing for months. Lawyers, on the other hand, analyze over and over and over again what the plan is or should be, and then because they are so flustered, forget to execute. Note to self: remember where you put your bike so you don't run around in several circles while you're supposed to be racing it.
  • Doctors function much better when normal people (like lawyers) are usually asleep. Lawyers tend to oversleep . . . ahem . . . Jon.
  • Lawyers are more cynical than doctors and accordingly often underestimate what humans, i.e. doctors, can really do. Case in point: "Oh, he won't be able to do it in 1.5 hours. . . . Holy crap! That's Mitch," says Jon as he grabs his bike and races to the start tent.
  • Lawyers ride their bikes faster than doctors. Obviously, that's a function of the fact that lawyers have more spare time than doctors. But doctors are able to recover much faster than lawyers.
  • Lawyers are more likely to ride with reckless abandon knowing that they have doctors on their team that can perform anesthesia and knee surgery.
  • Doctors should be more likely to ride with reckless abandon knowing that they have lawyers that can sue on their behalf, but choose to ride in control given (a) the general (and possibly justified) distrust for lawyers, and (b) the fact that when the blood is gushing a lawyer really isn't worth much.
  • The price of a doctor's or a lawyer's bike is not a function of how much money they make, but very well could be an indication of the size of their ego.

None of the ambulance chasers had ever participated in the event before, but we were lucky enough to be mentored and supported by team "Why Try," a group that has participated in the event for several years. Why Try had it down. Why Try shows up to the venue several days before it begins and stakes out their territory. Keep in mind that during the event more than 2000 people are camped out in the middle of the desert. Why Try's territory is optimally placed -- a few hundred yards from the start tent and right next to the trail. Great for racing and great for spectating. On their territory, they park 3 trailers/motorhomes, in the shape of a "U." Inside the U, there were propane heaters, halogen worklights, bike stands and tools, chairs, hammocks, a giant love sak, food, motorcycles, etc. . . The best part about team Why Try was the support crew who fed us, cleaned bikes, ushered us to and from the start and finish line, encouraged us, and listened to the same stories lap after lap after lap. Rumor had it, that Why Try's camp was the Four Seasons of the Moab camp. I believe it. I even got my very own puffy plush complimentary bathrobe and slippers.

Regarding the event itself, most of you who read this know that I'm a roadie and am getting into CX. Jon is too. That's why we were encouraged when people told us that the Moab 24 course wasn't that technical, "lots of double track . . . it's just a jeep road." It's not that I dislike the technical aspect of mountain biking, it's just that I'm a bit challenged. Let me just say that if the law requiring disclosure of certain facts when selling securities were to be applied to discussions about the Moab 24 course, I would be a very rich person and several people would be in jail. To all those who told me not to worry and that Moab was not technical and was pretty easy, WHATEVER. In the words of Jason Hendrickson, another fellow roadie, No Freaking Way (sorry Jason, but I had to censor). Is this your idea of easy?

(Photo pirated from Jeff.)

The picture above is a picture of spot called "Nose Dive." The tire tracks on the rock are from jeeps and the like trying to climb or descend it; some of those black marks may also belong to unsuspecting cyclists -- they actually park an ambulance at the Nose Dive during the event; some of them might belong to crazies like Bart who actually ride it. In fact, Jon said the most spectacular moment of the whole race was when he was tip-toeing down the Nose Dive, delicately trying to pick his line on foot, and the Bartman came flying over the rim, and with a bouncity bounce and a hoppity hop, ripped the Nose Dive with nary a touch of the brakes. Jon was equally impressed with Bart's sprint out of the Nose Dive.

Because people told us the course wasn't technical and was just a double-track jeep track through the desert, Jon and I were a bit over-confident about our expected lap times. Even so, we both put in some respectable times (for us) and had a bunch of fun doing it. After a Le Mans start, involving several hundred bike racers stampeding through the desert on foot, Jon put in a 1:18 lap and had four more solid laps after that. He was the only one on the "ambulance chasers" team to put in 5 laps.

My first lap was decent at 1:12 -- 1:11:53 to be exact. Both my second and third laps were in the dark.



Faceless Ghost said...

Nice! I love that photo of John in the starting stampede.

By the way, I talked to my brother last night--we still want to roll the single speeds next year.

old school said...

Nice post Jared. And great race. You put in some amazing laps.

Another observation about the difference between the lawyers and the docs: The docs obviously get paid by the procedure; thus, they were content after three laps to call it a race--mission accomplished. Whereas, the bill-by-the-hour attoreys were compelled to keep going until the the couse was closed. Just think, if I had been billing instead of riding my bike for 7.25 hours of ride time (gotta round up), I would have made over $1600. However, I can definately say that the experience was worth more to me than the lost billables, which when you actually think about how much time I've spent sitting in the office analyzing results, photos, blogs, etc., is quite a lot. Anyway, good times, fun race, great team, amazing support. Thanks to all!

To the faclessghost: sure a singlespeed would be cool, Eric, but you should ride the course first with gears and suspension and then decide what you want to do. My front suspension saved me, and after a few laps it was nice to be able to put it in the granny gear in spots. At times I was even wishing that I could have traded my hardtail in for a full suspension on that course. Regardless of what bike you ride, it would be cool to have you down there next year. I'll certainly be back for more.