24 Hours of Summer Solstice

DSC00081 Its been a week since Juliette and I raced the 24 Hours of Summer Solstice solo and we are still recovering. We have been sleeping and eating constantly, and the feeling still hasn’t come back in several of our fingers and one of my toes.

It was a hard race this year, but thankfully we had a wonderful support crew. Juliette’s parents flew over from England to help. Our friends Tecla and Paula were there for us and my Dad and Doris cheered us on. There is no way I would have made it through the night without their support. They took us under their wings, fed us, pushed us and cheered for us. Even through the thunder showers at 3 AM when I just wanted to stop, they were there for me and kept me plugging away.

It is only because of their support that Juliette and I did so well. Juliette finished in 3rd place and I managed 1st place. The rest of Team Wanderlust did great to. Tim came in 6th in Solo men and Matt/Peter came in 7th in Tag Team.

At the finish, I was only 1 minute and 27 seconds ahead of the second place solo. I started the last lap thinking that I was 15 minutes ahead of him, but then when the course came out back near the start a few minutes later, everyone was yelling at me that he was only 2 minutes behind me and going hard.

I put on the speed and gave it everything I had. After riding the course 17 times previously, I had every line, log and corner wired and despite having been on my bike for nearly 24 hours, I rode the lap perfectly and had nearly my fastest lap of the race.

In these races, as long as you come in under the 24 hour mark, you can go out again for another lap. I came in at 23:59:46. I was spent and didn’t have the heart to head out again, so I stood in the timing tent as everyone counted down the seconds until noon. Thankfully, Dave Stowe didn’t make it through in time to go out again and the race was finished!

Everything seemed to go really well for me this race. I paced myself really well, trying to stay in heart rate zone 3 and below for the entire race. I stopped for a quick bite to eat and more water every two laps. Every four laps I stopped for a bit longer and ate as much as I could. I don’t think I took in enough calories to cover the 15,000 that I burned during the race, but I never felt overly depleted.

The hardest bit of the race was through the night. It rained hard and several sections of the course were unridable. I plugged away at it though, walking and slipping my way through, riding what I could, but always moving forward. Finally, at 4 AM I fell asleep on my bike several times, crashing a few, so I stopped and slept for an hour.

It was the fact that I kept plugging away at the course through the rain that moved me from second place into first. I was tired when I started riding again in the morning, but I was in first place, well ahead and moving fairly quickly. Dave was better rested and was slowly gaining on me, but I managed to hold him off to the end. My only mistake was stopping to lube my chain right before my last lap. It was grinding badly and I was worried about it, but that allowed Dave to catch up nearly 15 minutes and nearly cost me the race. I can see now why many of the other solo riders had multiple bikes.

In the end, it was an excellent race. We had some high calibre competition that pushed us beyond our limits. The challenge, weather and adversity as our advantage.

As our new Wanderlust shirts say,


Fun equals Effort times Adversity squared.

Once again, I need to thank our wonderful support crew. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to do this. Huge hugs and thanks to Don, Carrol, Tecla, Paula, my Dad and Doris, we owe you so much.

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