This year marked my fourth consecutive Rapture In Misery 12 hour Race. The past three years I have ran the gamut of Duo, 3 man, and last year Solo class racing, so I figured it was time to recycle back to Duo. Of course my season long racing mate Travis was up for the task.
Last weekend we made a little recon mission up to check out the course. We rode for three hours and suffered like dogs. Yeah it was hot outside but mainly the course whipped us all. The prospect of 12 hours of going hard sitting around 50 minutes and getting back on to hammer again seemed daunting at the least.
Race morning started early packing four people, three bikes, and enough stuff to see us through into Travis's Subaru. We had tents sticking up into the back seat, wheels crammed all around us, Amber and I sitting in one corner of the backseat, and Dana slammed all the way forward in her passenger seat, but by golly we were not going to take two cars. We were there soon enough and began the comical episode of us assembling some ancient lawn tent of Dana's, this thing was a relic, but I did not make it any easier by leaving out a few key poles. All the snickering bystanders better get while the gettin's good.
I started off the race for us with the stupid run that I have done way to many times. Actually I do not hate the run as much as I like to complain about it. I was real happy that this run was up a fairly steep hill. For whatever reason I have always been a much better uphill runner comparatively, and you do not have to smash you legs as much as running along flat ground in carbon sole bike shoes. I was 2nd to my bike and followed Tieg Lamb pulling myself and a train of others down the initial stretch of trail. I was a little to comfortable riding behind him and went around on the first chance uphill. I looked back as we crossed the dam and was pleased to see Craig Stoeltzing on my wheel. I rolled off the front up the first major climb, I was trying to take it easy but it seemed much more fun to go fast and I was not feeling to bad at the pace I was carrying along.
I handed off to Travis and stopped the clock at 42 minutes and a few seconds, which would remain the fastest lap for the race. Travis continued a blistering pace with a 44 minute lap, and handed back off to me with a substantial lead beginning to form. My second lap was on the long side of 42 minutes and I felt pretty rough actually, the food I ate was not digesting well and I was feeling overheated and wasted a good bit of my bottle pouring it over my head. I came in and sent Travis back out and I let my stomach normal out, which it did pretty well. My third lap was probably my most fun lap of the race, I felt good and clouds had the sun blocked and the temperature dropped enough to really aid you in pedaling your brains out. Travis's 3rd lap was miserable for him, his stomach had gone south worse than mine and he felt horrible when he came in. All he mumbled was, "I am getting sick." I could tell he was not joking around. I told him to have two bottles ready when I came back and I would do two laps. Although I slowed to do the two in a row it was pretty fun and I enjoyed myself the whole time. Travis got feeling chipper again and headed back out, he bounced back quickly and turned some more good laps. My 6th lap was a little more eventful. On the opening descent I slipped of my line and cut my sidewall. I hate getting flats, it just takes me out of race mode and into chuck my bike into the pond mood, but I changed it and carried on. By the end of my lap it started to do some bonafide raining, it felt all nice and refreshing but the last section of singletrack was slick already. Travis went out again with his lights on and slick trail under tread, I did not envy him. That would have been me had he not let me get in a extra dry/light lap, interesting how things work out for me isn't it. So the rain picked up, I sat around somber about the next four hours of in the dark mud riding. I was looking down the barrel of two laps no matter how you calculated the time, trust me I had ran every circumstance. Travis was about ten minutes from getting back around when the weather report and trail reports made the decision easy for Heartland. No one would go out after 9:00, the race was finished. Yahoo, Travis sauntered in a few minutes later and I thanked my lucky stars I had a flat tire or Travis would have beat the 9:00 barrier and I would be out there pitching a Missouri mud hole sized fit. Interesting isn't it.
Well we were in the lead when it was over so that means you win, and we had a fun time breaking down the relic tent in the rain and stuffing it back into the car which was now extra full with the North Face bags we scored in the awards. Unfortunately they kept sliding off and hitting me in the head as I slumbered.
The drive home was my turn to feel crappy. I made Travis pull over so I could get some water and some fresh air. But the bed felt good that night.
Until next time you can enjoy Amber Chambers's latest article here.