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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

USAC 24 Hour National Championship at 24 Hours of Moab, October, 2010

Epic glory on a world-renoun course. A chance to test season-finale fitness against strong competitors. Enticing prize money in an often-ignored sport...

The 2010 edition of 24 Hours of Moab Mountain Bike Race sounded attractive to me for a number of reasons. Shortly after the gun went off, I discovered that a number of very talented and fit competitors had been thinking along the same lines.

I felt confident going into the race. My brand-new, super-light, supremely-responsive Chiru Sonic mountain bike ( was accompanied by a bullet-proof support crew consisting of my dad, my sister, and my uncle--all seasoned veterans who helped me to victory at the 24 Hours of Leadville last month. I felt fit, and was ready to race some of the best competition around, namely Josh Tostado and Kelly Megelky, with whom I had done some training over the summer.

After a screaming-fast 400 meter run at the le mans start, I grabbed my Chiru in good position (right behind Kelly), sprinted with the bike in hand, and executed a perfect flying mount...that ended with my left foot jamming directly between the spokes and the inside of the frame! After realizing just how I had managed to grind to a halt before taking a single pedal stroke, I extracted my foot and rode away with the leaders, rear wheel whobbling from side to side. Five minutes later, on first section of singletrack, the spoke I had so brutally assulted finally snapped, forcing me to stop and wrap it around its neighbor.

The fact that I was able to complete a halway-decent first lap minus one spoke is a true credit to the quality of the Chiru Sonic, which was later repaired and performed extremely well throughout more than 24 hours of very technical riding.

My lap times remained consistent until 2:00 a.m., and I battled for a podium position. Between 2:00 and 7:00, however, I managed to complete only two laps. Most of my laps of the 15-mile course throughout the race were completed between 1:30 and 1:40, and the two killers in the middle of night set me far back in the standings. This lag in the wee hours was particularly disappointig in light of my significant experience in adventure races.

As the sun rose, I became revitalized and ticked off three fairly strong laps. I was happy to finish strong. In completing 15 laps, I finished 8th in the USAC National Championship, set a personal record for the event, and bested the winner's count from 2007, when I finished second. Tostado, Magelky, and many of the other competitors were extremely impressive!

Thanks again to my support crew and sponsors, particularly Team Merrell Akali Adventure, Chiru Bikes, and AYUP Lights.

I'll return to Moab in three weeks for the Checkpoint Tracker National Champship Adventure Race.

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