La vie de vélo

Adventures in cycling and life

Dawn ’til Dusk 2010

Jos, Japhy and I headed south to Gallup, New Mexico for the Dawn ’til Dusk race this weekend. For being my first long endurance race, it turned out well. I survived the 12 hour race and got 2nd place in my 30-34 age group!

From Dawn …

… ’til Dusk

Packing for a 12 hour race was an adventure in itself. I erred on the side of bringing too much so my little mazda was full. And of course Japhy had to make sure he was amongst the luggage so as not to be left out!

The road trip aspect was fun as usual. Its always great to do the family camping trip, even more so when you wake up in a beautiful desert with some primo singletrack literally right out of your tent.

The trails were some of the finest I have ever ridden. It was rolling high-desert singletrack: some parts soft, sandy and buttery smooth. other sections were rocky and technical. You can tell the trail was designed by/for mountain bikers. There was not a dull moment and the trail was constantly changing and kept you on your toes while winding its way through some beautiful mesas and scrub forests. Truly phenomenal trails with more “flow” than anything I have ever experienced. Even 11 hours into the race, there were still sections that put a stupid grin on my face. Pure desert zen. Not too much sustained climbing but there were lots of little ups,downs and technical sections so keeping momentum and rhythm was more important than pure horsepower.

We set up camp/pit right along the trail which was very convenient.

With Joselyne’s help, I was able to keep the pit time to a minimum. Each lap I would roll in, shove some food down my throat (mostly bananas, lara bars, hammer gel), some beverage (coffee, green tea, or plain H20), get my new bottles (with some Luna limeade, perpetuem or nuun) and spruce up the bike (reapply some lube, tighten a loose crank bolt, etc). And despite really really wanting to sit down and take a break, Jos made sure I stayed on task and would kick my ass back out on the course when I started to slack 🙂

The toughest parts for me were the upper-body fitness of tackling relentless singletrack for 12 hours. My legs were fairly well prepared to crank out 12 hours – my hands, back and shoulders were not, however, ready for 12 hours of demanding technical terrain. Needless to say, everything aches right now. Things are numb, chaffed, blistered and swollen in ways I never imagined.

The physical challenges of the race were big. But the mental challenges were even more formidable. Riding for the entire day, I went through about every known emotion, sometimes all in the same lap. Joy, Exhaustion, Self-Doubt, Exhilaration, Rage, Frustration, Confusion, Determination, and Bliss.

The prizes were native american-made and were really very beautiful and unique; My efforts earned me a cool little Kokopelli trophy, handmade complete with peacock feathers!

The whole trip, the whole experience was a different beast from the XC races I’ve become accustomed to. The physical and mental challenges, the overall vibe of the endurance races … it’s a whole new game and its causing me to reevaluate my season and my future goals. This is what its all about, not doing laps in a city park.


April 13, 2010 - Posted by | race


  1. thanks for posting pictures, I’m actually from Gallup I missed the race this year! congrats on the 2nd place, you must have been hammering through the trails.

    Comment by XavierAlexander | April 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hey Matt! My name is Jim and my wife Cristina and I were camped right next to you guys. I was running solo SS and my body gave in to de-hydration after about 6-6.5 laps and suffered through a 7th before my vision got so blurred between contact lenses and dehydration I pulled the plug on my race. What a “fun” day though. Thanks for posting a blog! Hope you guys had a good weekend to! Jim

    Comment by Jim | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hey Matt…also, if you are getting into endurance racing my buddy Doug was also @ Gallup and is one of the maddest enduro bikers ever. His blog is usually pretty cool to here: and he got 2nd last year @ the Colorado Trail Race. Cool laid-back guy to. Enjoy! and congrat’s on your D-D ride! Jim

    Comment by Jim | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hey Matt!
    Keep running into you =)
    Looks like we have a very similar race schedule this year, except I threw in a couple 24 hour gigs as well.
    See you this weekend in Fruita!

    Comment by Elizabeth Sugar Boese | April 22, 2010 | Reply

  5. Glad to hear you enjoyed Gallup – I rode the race on a team with my husband and son and a friend. Next year you need to ride 12 Hours of Mesa Verde on Mother’s Day weekend. If you liked Gallup’s trail, you’ll love Phil’s World in Cortez!

    Comment by Katie Koppenhafer | April 28, 2010 | Reply

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