Thursday, September 10, 2009

24 Hours

"Don't even consider stopping. Know when you take off that you're going to ride all night."

Sunrise in Maupin, Oregon this coming Saturday morning will be at 6:39am. At precisely 6:43am, I will mount my trusty Felt. If all goes well, I will not get off (save for the occasional "bio break") until precisely 6:43am on Sunday morning, 2 minutes past the 6:41am sunrise.

"Comfort = speed. Don't wear your lightest shoes if they're tight."

In it's 5th year, the Ring of Fire Time Trial has attracted riders from all over the Pacific Northwest. Only one woman, Sandy Earl, has ever entered the 24 hour event. She covered 282 miles. This year, SIX women, myself included, have bellied up to the bar.

"Eat. Food. Warm food helps you stay awake. I like chicken noodle soup."

The course is, to put it mildly, challenging. The "day loop" is 157 miles and gains nearly 15,000 feet of elevation. After completing that, riders will ride laps around the "night loop", a 27 mile circuit that gains approximately 2200 feet of elevation. Sandy's 282 mile course record includes more than 25,000 feet of climbing.

"There are a lot of vault toilets on the night loop from the bridge on. Use them, don't waste time going into your room."

I've never ridden a 24 hour race before. Can I stay on my bike for 24 hours straight? I don't know. Will my stomach rebel after so many hours? I don't know. Will my Terry Damselfly saddle, which I love on a century ride, love me back after 18, 20, 22, 24 hours? I don't know.

"The temperature can vary about 15 degrees over the course at night - very cold on the approach to Tygh Valley... your support people should dress you for that temperature and just let you whine about the cold spot."

So, how will I judge my success? Well, I'll be delighted if I'm still conscious and riding come 6:43am Sunday morning! Beyond that, I'm trying not to set any expectations for myself, other than to try to have a good time, maintain a positive attitude and cheer LOUDLY for any and all racers who ride past me.

Wish me luck!

Want to follow the action? "Live" race updates will be posted throughout the event here: Details about the event can be found here:

Many thanks to Sandy Earl for her many words of wisdom and advice.


  1. Good luck, Susan! Even finishing the first 157 miles sounds like a major victory, but doing all 24 hours would be sweet!!