"Four Mountain Bike Race Virgins" might have been a more appropriately titled name for our group of ambitious road cyclists attempting our first mountain bike race. RedRockCo in Tempe provided the perfect way for us to get our feet "dirty" in a co-ed quad team option for the 12 Hours In The Papago event.
I'd compare 12 Hours to a runner's RAGNAR, where teams continually pass a timing chip between them and compete from sun up to sundown. In Saturday's race, we circled the same 7.2 miles 18 times before we finished -- 11th out 15 co-ed teams. Hey, it was our first try!
In a team of four, there's a lot more waiting around than actual riding, which proved to be fun and quad-tightening at the same time. Our gang of racers found that circling the course twice (not just once) then passing the baton was actually more comfortable and less fatiguing than getting off your bike every 35 minutes.
Some helpful tips if you ever try this race for yourself:
1. If you have a brand new bike, ride it once or twice BEFORE you actually bring it to a race. Make sure all tires are filled and the gearing works perfectly.
2. An EZ Up canopy is the perfect shading for a team. However, strategically placing your canopy beside a team with a gas heater is key in the morning. Even better is finding neighbors who actually clean and lube your chain between laps. Thank you New Mexicans in the KONA tent. **And if you are a spectator, homemade cookies are always appreciated.
3. A quick bite at In N Out Burger may SOUND good but can do a number on your tummy while you are climbing and descending down the technical portions of the Papago Trails.
4. If you have to ride that last lap in the dark, be sure to look for the guy who is lit up like a Christmas tree and let him lead out. Even a full moon and a Cateye nightlight won't make those weird shadows any less scarier out there, alone, in the dark....boo!
5. You are super popular the minute your competitors know you are giving away your FREE Beer tickets after the race ends.
6. Plan to do this event in 2013 and enjoy the perfect Arizona weather and give this fun event a try in 2013! And congratulations to the Gorillas In The Dust! Fun time spent between moons!
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