This past weekend I was down at Albion Hills for the 24 hour Hot August nights race, with a bunch of Barrie Cyclists, our team was appropriately called the BCC team. With a solid roster we had a solid shot for the win, so I was given team orders to not bring my single speed and bring my geared bike to squeeze every second out of the course. We had a team of 8 in the 6-10 corporate category. And on a short course we were pretty much all going to ride a hard 4 laps each.
I started for our team and felt pretty good, my legs were a bit heavy so I was just trying to stay in contact with DZ who started for his "expert" team, and was able to ride in with him…. After he waited for me to pick myself off the course when I crashed. We were quickly followed by Danny Souter riding for a KHS team and Stu Alp riding for the 5 person mixed Norco team which would go on to win.
I handed off to Don Gain who headed out to establish a good lead. After a couple laps we were sitting in 3rd behind A bike sports team, and "team Long Sault long shots". Before long I was sent out on my second lap at around 6:30 a few minutes out from the lead. I put in a solid sub 40 minute lap and brought the team back into first. As we headed into the night, The long shots and us would continue to battle and yo yo back and forth as we went through our 8 person roster’s. Actually we each had "a guy" that we would be out with on a lap each time. I called my guy the "Bicycles plus cannondale guy". Later I would find out he had a name, it was Paul.
I had some food and rested up for my third lap at around 12:45, I decided not to sleep before this lap cause I would probably wake up more tired so instead I opted for some late night coffee’s. At around midnight I got ready to head out for my single night lap, which is always a blast to ride. There is nothing more fun than blasting through the woods in the middle of night with a little light on your bike and 300 other people on the trail. When Dave Fabbro handed off to me we were sitting again a few minutes back. So I headed chasing my guy, and after a few near crashes in the night I passed him with a couple KM to and again we sitting on top. I handed off again to our team captain Don Gain and hit the hay. Actually I wish I had some hay, cause my air mattress had a big hole in it and I was pretty much sleeping on the ground.
When I woke up at around 6 (a.m.) I was a hurting unit, and didn’t want to get off the hard lumpy ground. But I pulled my self out of my tent and had some coffee and breakfast in preparation of my 4th and last lap (in the rotation we had planned) Through the night we had yo yo’d and were back in 2nd place. Fabbro handed off to me at around 7:25 ish and I was on my way again. I put in a solid 40:41( I think) which was followed by the quote of the weekend by Chris Wong, "I think you were like 40:66 or something like that" I wasn’t able to catch my guy again but I think I put some time into him.
I headed back to the campsite where Laurie Gain had a big plate of pancakes waiting for me which made me wonder cause I was like "my laps are done, why are you feeding me again?" With a full belly a couple of guys said they really wanted a jersey and said they were pulling out of the rotation, Don and I gave them our "team speeches" but to no avail, they wanted to win and packed there bikes up. We started to look at the numbers and we new it was going to be a tight race. I was going out between 11:15 and 11:20 which meant I would need to do at least a sub 45, to get our anchor and captain Don Gain out for a last lap. depending on how fast Fabbro was before me. With no time to calculate (I think I had 43 minutes, which I wasn’t really sure if I could do) I headed out 6 minutes behind my guy. Yes the other team changed their team around as well to maximize their lap times. With a fairly clear course which I new pretty well by now I was able to really open up my legs and get every second I could out of it. I had a few time checks out on the course so I new I was bettering my fastest lap. And by my watch I knew I would be able to get Don out again. In the last km I could see my guy and I knew I was going to be a showdown between the two teams, I made the pass with about 250 meters to go and handed off to Don after a 38:08 lap. As I spooled my legs down I saw an old 24 hour(like 1998 chico 24 hour old) teammate of mine nipping at Don’s heels, the Flying Dutchman, Terry Vanden heuvel.
So after 23 hours and 57 minutes the race was coming to a neck and neck dual between the strongmen of each team. Each team rode out to parts of the course to watch them. The were together every time we saw them on course. We headed back to the finish line and waited, after a long battle the Dutchman flew out of the woods in first with a good gap to Don. So we finished a solid 2nd place after the closest 24 hour I have ever been in. The team did awesome, we had the 2 fastest day laps. Fastest night lap. And had a blast doing it. After the race I was asked a bunch of times why I didn’t just do a second lap, at the time it wasn’t really discussed but I’m glad I didn’t cause after all it was a team event and I wasn’t the team……and I would have cracked like a weak egg under the pressure.
The Team was
Captain Don Gain
Mark Gray (granola)
Laurie Gain (best pancakes ever)
Val and Jube Leonard
And all the wives and friends