Racing in the Rain - The Warriors in Pink Robes
August. 26 2023
Geoff - My highlight was the team aspect as well. It's a challenge racing in the middle of the night, but it builds camaraderie and friendship going through difficult times together.
Jared: There were two teams forced out of the race with injuries because of crashes in the bad conditions and most racers had at least one or two slides or crashes along the way. I saw several flat tires during the first 6 hours, as well. I slid on a root and clipped a handlebar on a tree in my second lap just as things were getting wet, which forced me to back off and focus on consistently putting in laps and staying on course. That was more than enough in those conditions, as many riders and teams slowed down or even waited out the weather. For me, shifting focus away from the ideal race plan and taking what the conditions gave me while sticking to the idea of staying out on course as much as possible ended up being the right solution.
Jonathan - The slippery trails made things more difficult for everyone. Lap times were much slower this year than in years past, and we had to work hard to stay upright. There were a few crashes throughout the night but thankfully no major injuries and no mechanical problems.
Dan - Thankfully, I had no crashes during the race. The slippery conditions demanded more focus to safely traverse the corners and roots on the course.
What were the memorable moments during the race?
Jared - The weather and course conditions were certainly memorable, dry and dusty for the first hour into 6-7 hours of heavy rain, followed by fog and mud, then a mostly pleasant morning and a dry course with just a handful of sections of peanut buttery mud. From my own race, having my father and brother-in-law crewing for me was incredible. They were a massive help in keeping all my stops short and efficient, having them to talk to at stops, and getting me moving the couple of times I had trouble motivating myself to keep going. They stayed out on the poor conditions the whole time to allow me to really focus on racing. Running into Paul from our 4-man team just before I stopped for my first meal and hearing the race standings was a nice mental boost going into the night. Seeing riders from the 4-man team on the course and having brief exchanges of encouragement were really amazing.
Jonathan - For me the weather was the most memorable part of this year’s race. We started off with sunshine which quickly turned to several hours of steady rain that became very heavy at times. Overnight the rain stopped and it became very foggy. This made visibility extremely difficult and led to some much slower laps than we normally would be doing. By late morning of day two, the sun came back out and the course slowly began to dry out. It was interesting experiencing the course going from dry to standing water to mud and then back to dry throughout the day.
Geoff - Very similar to Jonathan, the weather was most memorable. From sunshine to pouring rain, to deep fog at night that made lighting difficult, to drying conditions in the morning. We had a bit of everything!
Dan- I will remember the challenging, changing course conditions. The sunrise lap after a day of rain with the course getting fast and tacky was also a highlight.
What has riding brought to your life?
Jared: Riding fills a lot of roles in my life, from fitness and camaraderie to mental health. Our local cycling clubs and our team, in particular are amazing people who have become close friends and really makes you look forward to the times you get out to ride or race. From a fitness and mental perspective, having goal events and doing something competitive is very satisfying for me and makes me enjoy and think about the process and the training.
Geoff - There are many reasons that I ride. It keeps me healthy and active as exercise is very important to me. It also introduces me to a group of friends that I can compete against, and also talk with as we train together. We are very blessed that the Rochester area has a healthy cycling community!
Dan - Cycling is my favorite way to get outdoors and stay active. I also commute to work much of the week because it is more enjoyable to be on a bike than in a car.
Jared - I use a combination of structured training through Trainerroad, self-selected workouts, and extra volume added in. Typically, I do structured work in the morning and use my commute to add another 2 hours of volume. I like to mix in longer rides to the mountain bike parks on the weekends.
Geoff - I consider myself old-school as I keep things pretty simple. 2-hours pre-race I have a peanut butter and honey sandwich to fuel up. 45 minutes before the race I have some yogurt. I typically don’t fuel up too much during the race unless it is very long, in which case I will have some gels to keep me going.
In terms of teamwork, how do you achieve good collaboration between team members?
Jared - Teamwork and collaboration come pretty naturally for us. We’re all friends and enjoy riding together to begin with, so we have a good understanding of how everyone does things, and that makes communication easy. Making sure we communicate regularly and help each other with anything we can makes everything go really smoothly and makes sure everyone has what they need to be successful.
Jonathan - I feel like our team naturally works well together. We are all friends outside of just riding together and everyone is willing to go out of their way to help each other. Most of us have known each other for several years, and we get along very well.
Geoff - Training together and our chat group on WhatsApp maintain our friendships. One of the things we do to train is doing team rides on Tuesday nights through the autumn and winter seasons as much as possible, even when it’s cold and dark. We use lights to allow us to ride on trails together to maintain fitness but also to just talk about our lives and build friendships. These bonds of friendship are very important and one of the best aspects to being part of this team.
What role did Magicshine lights play in this race? What are your favorite models?
Jared: Magicshine lights were incredibly valuable in this race. Night riding on single track isn’t easy to begin with. Combine that with wet and foggy conditions and it was going to be a tricky night. The night often forces longer lap times or long breaks due to the inability to see, the need to charge lights, fatigue, etc. I ran the Monteer 6500S Zeus v2.0 with the TTA mount on my bars and the Monteer 3500S Nebula on my helmet. This setup left no excuse not to stay on the bike through the night. I was most impressed with the combination of the 6500S and the TTA mount. The mount keeps the light low, and rather than lighting up the fog and making it more difficult to see, the light cut under the fog and still allowed me to see the terrain underneath. Because it’s so bright, I was able to run the light at lower power and never worried about the battery running out through the night. Mostly forgetting about my lights and the ability to see through the night is the best testament to how well the setup worked.
Geoff - I rode the 24-hour race last year with lights that were nowhere near as bright as the Magicshine lights. At times it was very difficult to see the obstacles. This year the lights made a huge difference and allowed me to race through the night much easier, seeing all the roots and rocks. This reduced one of the main factors of fatigue and made the race much more enjoyable.
Dan - The Magicshine lights were very important for our success in this race. The ability to see a wide section of trail in the middle of the night is essential for fast lap times. I got several compliments about how amazing the Magicshine lights were from fellow racers overnight. My favorite is the Monteer 6500S because of its powerful illumination.
Do you have plans for future competitions? In what aspects do you want to make a breakthrough?
Jared: The 20-lap goal for Hardcore 24 still stands, so we will see if things line up for another attempt next year. There are a handful of longer marathon mountain bike events that I’m definitely interested in. This was my first solo 24-hour race, and I would definitely like to gain some more experience in areas like pacing, nutrition, and race planning to see where I can make improvements. More time riding at night with the Magicshine lights will help me gain comfort and speed in that portion of the race, as well, and will just be fun!
Geoff - I mainly compete on the road. I plan to use the Magicshine lights to help me train through the winter when we have much less daylight. These training rides help me to maintain fitness for the spring and summer seasons when the weather is much better! Also, I am very excited to use the Seemee radar taillight to keep me safe in traffic!!
Dan - I am looking forward to commuting and training on the Magicshine lights to enjoy cycling into the winter months.
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