Friday, June 18, 2010

24 hours... or something like that

My dad joined the ranks of the mountain biking maniacs about 3 years ago and hasn't looked back.  Probably b/c looking back means falling off cliffs or crashing into cactus plants.  But anyway, he convinced me that I would love it, so for my birthday last year, he bought me a brand spankin' new shiny Specialized mountain bike.  It's a hard tail, w/ a Shram derailer, no disc brakes (sadly), bright blue, 19 inch frame, bike of wonders. 

Wowee.  Mountain biking is HARD.  And INTENSE.  And some of those crazies are truly maniacs on wheels, but it's such a rush and ton of fun.  And I wished I didn't live 2 hours away from home, so that I could join good ol' Papa John (aka my daddy-o) for more biking excursions.

But he did manage to con me into joining him and some of his biking buds for the 4th annual 24 Hours In The Canyon biking event.  Yep, you heard right...biking for 24 hours.  Ok, so it's not quite that intense unless you are competive. 

Here's what went down:

Friday June 4th
Dad & I packed up enough supplies & clothing for a month...ok, a bit of an exaggeration, but neverless, we had PLENTY of stock.  We loaded up the good ol' pop trailer and zoomed down into the beauty that is Palo Duro Canyon.

Gorgeous, huh! 

We set up camp, complete with Arizona misters (heaven sent when it was 116 degrees the next day), our own personal shade tree, and all of the mosquitoes & horse flies in the great state of Texas.
We enjoyed a delicious spaghetti supper for carb-loading with other biker crazees, took a short bike trip at dusk to prepare our muscles for the next day, and then turned in for a good night's sleep.

Saturday, June 5th - Go Day
We had a nice breakfast and lunch, and then it was Go Time!  We headed to starting line, and when all the announcements had commenced, the countdown began.   And we were off!
600+ bikers (both roadies and mountain bikers, competitive and non-comp) jumped onto skinny little bike seats in sweltering 115 degree Texas heat to ride for 24 hours.
So in reality, unless you are in the competitive devision, you don't really have to ride constantly for 24 hours.  The event is designed so that at least one member of you team is on the trail throughout the time frame...but they aren't sticklers to the rule.  The first year of the event, my dad road for 17 hours, 100 miles.  He's crazy.  I was just hoping to not break a bone.  That would be success for me.  =)

So 30 minutes into this crazy day, my legs began to shake, I stopped sweating, and my energy level plummeted.  Yep, that's right.  Started the event off with a good ol' case of heat exhaustion.  Luckily I stopped before it resulted in heat stroke.  They put me on ice, got some electrolyte water (nasty stuff) pumpin' in me, and I took a nice 5 hour break from the sun and the ride.  It was a sad start to the event. 

But I recovered, and at 5:30, we took off for one round-trip loop before supper.  We ate, road back to camp to grab our head lamps & bike lights, and thus began the adventure of trail riding in the dark.  It was one of the coolest things I've ever done.  To be bouncing over foot & a half ride trails, with nothing but a head lamp and handlebar light guiding your way...well it was intense, adrenaline pumping, and best of all...COOL!  That's right, temps dropped to the 80s, which felt like a cold front compared to the earlier weather, and we soared over those trails.  It was fun, but the old guys that I was riding with (aka my dad & his friend Mark) couldn't handle the nighttime riding with their 50+ year old eyesight, so we called it a night and turned in. 

The next day, Dad & I woke and finished the event with a couple loops of the trail.  Total, I road about 35 miles.  Not impressive by any means, but definitely longer than I have ever for me it was a personal best. 

Oh, and I took a nasty spill that morning.  I had the worst bruise on my booty that I have ever had in my entire life.  And I played soccer...aka bruise-filled-intense sport.  It was fact, it's still lingering & tender!  But, no broken it was a success!

We had a great time.  Love that my 52 year old dad can totally kick my tail on those trails.  He's crazy, and fun, and the best dad a girl could ask for.  Love our father-daughter adventures.  

Plus, how can you not have fun in a place as beautiful as this:

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty you created for us!

Hope your summer is full of fun adventures too!

♥ michelle