24 Hours of Big Bear 2006
Peter Beers

Hey Folks,

I'll start this off by saying that we really missed having Jason for this race. Jason was struck by an SUV while training for the race on his road bike. He's doing fine and healing fast. He'll be off the bike for 4-6 weeks and happily be back riding with us soon. We were thinking of you, Grumpy J. I think we all said many times that we missed having you there.

For those not familiar with this style of racing, I'll do a brief explanation. 24 hour races are, as the name implies, a race that lasts 24 hours. The race starts at noon on Saturday and finishes at noon on Sunday. If you cross the finish line before noon on Sunday, you get to complete the lap that you're on. For that reason, the scores are stated by the number of laps you completed AND the time in which you completed them.

Riding at night is done with the use of special battery powered lights that attach to your helmet and/or handlebars.

Most people race this kind of race as a team. The most popular kinds of teams are the 4 member and 5 member coed. You're scored against the people who race in the same kind of team that you've got. The race is run like a relay. The first person on the team goes out at the start and completes one lap. At the end of the lap, Racer 1 signs out of the course at the scoring table (they mark down the team number and the time), hands off a small baton to Racer 2 who then signs into the course at the scoring table (they mark down the team number and the time), and then goes out for his/her lap. 5 member teams each have at least one woman on them and she must complete 2 laps in order for the team to officially finish the race. There are special classes for teams that ride single speed bikes (they have only one gear so they can't shift) as well as for Clydesdale teams (where all members weigh over 200 pounds).

There are people who race the whole 24 hours solo. The can take breaks to change clothes, eat and sleep between laps if they want. Most only stop for food and a very occasional change of clothes if it gets colder or warmer.

Some folks race in teams of two. They switch off with each other each lap. Some do 2 laps at a time at night so that the other team member gets a little time to sleep between laps.

Our team raced in the 4 person Sport class.

The race starts with what is called a LeMans start. Riders leave their bikes in one spot and walk to the starting line. In order to reduce the congestion on the trail for lap 1, riders have to run 1/2 mile lap of the parking area, then hop on their bikes and ride the same 1/2 mile of the parking area, then head out on the course. This tends to spread people out a little.

The weekend was fun. Chris, Kate (his girlfriend) and I got a late start driving to West Virginia on Friday. David had camp pretty much all set up by the time we got there. He picked the perfect spot. It was quiet and protected from the wind. It also had nice, soft mossy spots to put the tents on. My back had no issues what-so-ever with sleeping on the ground. A rare thing.

We pre-rode the course and were really worried. It had rained fairly hard during the day and much of the course was deep in mud. It was slick everywhere and 3-5" deep in mud in some places. Even so our pre-ride lap was 1:40... faster than some of our race laps last year.

Llaird Knight (the head of Granny Gear Productions: the folks that put this race on) had posted on the web site that they'd changed the course to make the final climb easier. Hahahahaha! As suspected, that was all words to throw us off our guard. It was exactly the same course we had last year.

The course was pretty challenging. The 13 mile lap was broken up into a few flowy, smooth sections, a few short fireroad climbs or descents, some very technical rocky sections (including a killer downhill that caused many flat tires) and one bad-ass climb between miles 11 and 12. In all it was a course that rewareded riders with equal parts fitness and technical skills. If you lacked either, you paid the price in slow laps. Night time complicated both the smooth parts and the rocky ones.

Amazingly enough the course was in PERFECT shape come race morning. The mud was gone. The trail was in great shape for the start. By the end of the race, it had degraded quite a bit. That happens to any trail when a few thousand people ride over it in a weekend. My hat is off to those who set the course and prepped it. Truly amazing.

Chris was the only one of the 4 of us that was capable of running (David had a sprained ankle, I'd bruised my thigh in a crash a few days before the race and Pat said he was too old to run). Chris ended up doing the first lap. He did a great job of turning in a blistering lap of 1:30... that includes the 1/2 mile run and the 1/2 mile ride and fighting with heavy traffic for much of the course.

Chris' later laps were consistant and really fast. He flatted twice (once just at the finish) and that slowed his laps down. Chris had the first lap which is always the hardest.

David was definitely the fastest of our group. He consistantly turned quick laps all day and night. He was hurting bigtime but still managed to turn in the times. David had the 3am lap which is the second hardest lap in the whole race. David also cooked breakfast for most of us Saturday and Sunday morning.

My laps were pretty consistant, slower than David's and right close to Chris' laps. My contribution to the team was that I rode two night laps when the other guys each turned one.

Pat did an amazing job of putting in consistant, strong laps with no training beyond his normal weekly riding. He was great and it was fun riding with him. He rode with determination on a course that he didn't get to pre-ride. He had a few hard crashes, but still kept his sense of humor and a smile on his face. Pat's contribution was strong laps without much warning or planning. He signed on to this race only 10 days before it happened.

Possibly the biggest highlight of my race was that Laura came up for almost all of the race. She got there Saturday afternoon and hung out for the rest of the weekend. She was a HUGE help to me in getting ready for laps and recovering after them.

In the end we did 15 laps (2 more than last year) in 24:51. That was good enough for 22nd place in a field of 49 in the Men's Sport category. We placed 66th out of 170 entries. Oddly enough last year we placed 22nd in the Sport class, but with only 13 laps. It looks like the whole field is getting stronger.

Below are photos and the breakdown of our laps. (Click on the small photos to see bigger ones.)

Congrats to all who raced! It was fun to share a weekend of racing with so many great people. I ran into people I hadn't seen in a long time and met a few that I'd only run into on the net.

Aren't you glad I didn't write a novel like last year? :D


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Rider Laps Completed:
Chris Chatfield 4
Peter Beers 4
David Kegley 4
Patrick Phillips 3


Lap # Rider Idle Time Start Finish Ride Time Lap Time
1 Chris Chatfield 0:00:00 Sat 12:00:00 PM Sat 1:32:56 PM 1:32:57 1:32:57
2 David Kegley 0:00:11 Sat 1:33:08 PM Sat 2:59:03 PM 1:25:55 1:26:06
3 Peter Beers 0:00:02 Sat 2:59:04 PM Sat 4:32:21 PM 1:33:16 1:33:18
4 Patrick Phillips 0:00:02 Sat 4:32:23 PM Sat 6:09:53 PM 1:37:31 1:37:33
5 Chris Chatfield 0:00:15 Sat 6:10:08 PM Sat 7:40:17 PM 1:30:09 1:30:24
6 David Kegley 0:00:02 Sat 7:40:19 PM Sat 9:09:47 PM 1:29:28 1:29:30
7 Peter Beers 0:00:06 Sat 9:09:53 PM Sat 10:51:08 PM 1:41:15 1:41:21
8 Patrick Phillips 0:00:06 Sat 10:51:14 PM Sun 12:55:09 AM 2:03:55 2:04:01
9 Chris Chatfield 0:00:03 Sun 12:55:13 AM Sun 2:37:12 AM 1:41:60 1:42:03
10 David Kegley 0:00:01 Sun 2:37:13 AM Sun 4:16:58 AM 1:39:45 1:39:46
11 Peter Beers 0:00:06 Sun 4:17:04 AM Sun 6:04:45 AM 1:47:41 1:47:47
12 Patrick Phillips 0:00:13 Sun 6:04:58 AM Sun 8:08:30 AM 2:03:31 2:03:44
13 Chris Chatfield 0:00:02 Sun 8:08:31 AM Sun 9:47:16 AM 1:38:45 1:38:47
14 David Kegley 0:00:01 Sun 9:47:17 AM Sun 11:14:38 AM 1:27:20 1:27:21
15 Peter Beers 0:00:02 Sun 11:14:40 AM Sun 12:51:44 PM 1:37:04 1:37:06

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