Last Saturday was the 12 Hours of Tsali mountain bike race. Basically, if you're crazy you start riding your bike around the Right Loop at Tsali, and 12 hours later you stop and see how far you've gone. If you're only slightly imbalanced then you find 3 good friends and sign up as a team - so then you ride around Right Loop, wash yourself (oh yeah, and your bike) off at the bike wash, lie in the shade pouring ice water on yourself while two of your friends ride, and then put all of your gear back on and get ready to do it again while your third friend rides. I would be in the latter category.
We got there in the pouring rain to set up our pit area, and then as soon as we were totally wet and all of our stuff was too, the rain stopped for the rest of the day. Awesome. Which meant that the first lap of the race (which I rode) was a complete mudfest.
Here I am after said lap:
Emmie's laughing because she didn't have to ride in all that mud. (although the little kid in me really likes riding in all that mud. under normal circumstances it's so irresponsible to ride on muddy trails. but this was a RACE - so I HAD TO ride those muddy trails. again, awesome (but for real this time.))
My three race compatriots. Kelly (who I'm pretty sure turned the two fastest loops by any woman in the whole race - there's a reason why she's wearing the sponsored jersey), Emmie (who I'm absolutely certain had the fastest time of the day if you factor time not spent training into actual minutes on the course), and Robin, who is my usual partner in crime and who has gotten in crazy good shape over about a 1 month period.
Here I am taking off for my second lap. Do I look happy or what? There's something to be said for this biking thing. (Although if there had been a cameraman at the top of the fire road there would also have been some distinctly not-so-happy pics.)
Kelly and Robin walking me up for my third lap. Love the headlamp on in the middle of the day. Except back in the woods it really wasn't all that bright, so then the headlamp seemed not so crazy.
And when I finished my lap it was getting downright dark. Which turned out not to be such a good thing for Kelly. Lesson we all learned: invest in good lights for night racing. Seriously. Good lights are good thing.
All four of us after Robin's last lap. It was almost 11:00 pm by this point. Turns out 12 hours is a long time. But - we had a great time.
And - we actually ended up on the podium. Second place women's team! Woohoo! And maybe even cooler, we were 17th out of 35 for all of the teams (womens, coed and mens.) The trophy was this enormous 3 foot tall monstrosity covered in glitter and a gold plated girl on a bike. It looked like something I won in 4-H in 1980. Except for the girl on the bike part. We made Kelly take it home since she rode the fastest laps, and her kids love it.