Dawn ’til Dusk 2011 race report
I took 2 pictures this entire trip. Turns out, I only needed one to say everything there is to say about my Dawn ’til Dusk race in 2011 …
The event, as always, was wonderfully organized and executed. Every event organizer could just use Dawn ’til Dusk as the ideal model of how a race should be conducted. Just an awesome time, good people, good vibe, good trails.
An HORRIBLE weather. I had reservations about driving 10 hours to a weather forecast calling for gale force winds, cold temps and rain. But I went anyways and decided to camp (its really the only way to experience D2D plus I wanted to stake out a prime pit spot along the trail).
The race started at 7am with calm, clear and cold skies. My plan was to go out hard, keep going at tempo pace until I cracked, then just try to hold a steady ‘CTR’ pace for the final few laps. Well I was nailing the 2nd lap, riding with the top soloist, when my crank started creaking. Creaks turned to clunks and I quickly stopped to tighten the crank bolt. But the damage has been done – the bolt has loosened up and stripped the initial threads so I couldn’t get the crankarm to tighten. I finished up the 2nd lap with 3 miles of running, one-legged pedaling and scootering along the trail. Lost a ton of time on the trail. Luckily the REI pit crew were able to clean out the threads well enough to torque the bolt back in. I lost 20 minutes but was just happy to have a bike and be able to finish!
Lap 3 I just put the hammer down and tried to get back up to the front. Probably burnt a few too many matches but its better than being complacent and lose your race while stuck behind slightly slower riders on the singletrack.
Then the weather started! The next two laps were viscious winds. Like steady 35 mph winds with 50 mph gusts. I saw a girl get literally knocked off her bike. I was in a strong group of four riders and the leader got blown off the trail into a tree (thank god it wasn’t off a cliff). Dust in the eyes, just holding onto the bars for dear life. It was scary scary stuff.
The wind died down a bit just as the temperature dropped below 40 and the rain started. The trail became nice and tacky; no more dust. I had my rain shell on for the rest of the race and stayed relatively warm and dry but some folks were caught out in the worst of it getting soaked to the bone with insufficient clothing.
The temps kept dropping and the rain turned to a heavy wet snow. The trails were muddy and sloppy; the type of clay mess that sticks to your tires and clogs your wheels in the frame. My shifters were all but useless and there was no traction on the climbs. The rest of the race stayed like this though the trail conditions got slightly better.
In the end, the snow kept coming, the trail and the bikes were getting damaged and it was time to call the race. I came into the pit at 4:15 expecting to go out for 2 more laps but the race was cut off at 5:00 pm. In the end I pulled off 8 laps in 9:15 – a good result for the 10 hours of dawn ’til slop.
Afterwards, the awards ceremony in the circus tent was awesome – free beer, good food, a huge party in the middle of a desert snowstorm. I somehow pulled off a great ride despite the crank incident. Got 1st place in the Solo Male 30-34 and 2nd place overall amongst the solo riders! It was both the most satisfying and miserable race I have ever done!
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