I went to the 12 Hours of Dauset last weekend with my buddy and longtime teammate/racing partner Bob Lamberson and his wife Anet. The weather was perfect, the course was well groomed and pretty damn sweet. I had great legs and felt like it was going to be a good race. Approximately 2 hours into the race however, things went to hell quick and left me wondering if I was even going to say anything about it or just pretend it never happened.
Here's how it unfolded.
I arrived at Dauset trails in Jackson GA Friday night under the cover of darkness, kinda like a trail ninja, yeah that's how I roll. After putting the Honda into RV mode I got some sleep. Saturday morning greeted us with a perfect day for racing. After breakfast, me and Bob took off for some riding and looking at the course. The trails at Dauset are typical middle Georgia: sandy over hardpack with plenty of roots and rocks here and there. While you don't have the 30-45 minute climbs that you find further up the Appalachians, there are a lot of little climbs and rollers but this course, by way of comparison to some of the others I have ridden recently, was really tame. I heard a 1000 feet of climbing per lap and I am sure that was true, it just didn't feel like that much.
My back had been bothering me for the 2 days prior to the race, so much so that on Friday I wasn't sure I'd be able to race. Oddly enough, it felt fine while I was riding. Walking or sitting around caused problems, riding, no problem. Soon enough it was time to start. We agreed that Bob would go first and then me. I was fine with that since my back was bothering me and I hate running anyway (all Goneriding races begin with a LeMans start, another reason to hate the French!). After the start, I had about 40 minutes before I needed to be in staging waiting on Bob. I figured he'd do about a 45-50 minute lap and when he rolled in at about 47 minutes, I took off. Judging from the riders I had seen come through before him, I calculated that we were around 15th overall and most likely either leading the Duo or at worst in 2nd. Not really a big deal with 11 hours of racing to go but nice to know at any rate.
I felt great! I immediately passed two people that had left a bit before me and that felt good. I tried to lay down a fairly solid lap time but not kill myself in the process. In a lot of ways doing a Duo race is harder than just going solo. You tend to ride faster than a solo pace and you have only enough time between laps to get cold and stiff. You recover a bit maybe but it ain't easy by any means. I rode fast enough and came in without any problems in about 48 minutes.
I refilled my water bottle, ate some grapes and that's about all I had time for before it was time to go back to staging. Bob's 2nd lap was about the same as his first and I went out for what I assumed would be another great lap. What I didn't see coming was the freight train that would end my day approximately 2 miles into the lap. What happened exactly, isn't important. I had a major mechanical failure. The type that could happen to anyone at any time. The reason I am being tight-lipped about it is how in this day and age people bash everyone's stuff and that just pisses me off. I love my sponsors and they make good stuff and they have been good to me. Shit happens and what happened in Georgia was just a thang.
Having said that, I have gone for about 5 years without even so much as a flat tire so I was kinda pissed off that my day was now over. I had 5 miles to go to the end of the lap and I could ride my bike (albeit slowly and very carefully) way faster than I could run so I did. I got back and made the hand-off to Bob and he knew my day was done. I returned to the pits and considered my options. I could sit there and stew for the rest of the day; I could take my cross bike off the car (I had my cross bike instead of a spare mountain bike because I was planning to do a cyclocross race the next day back in Tennessee) and give it a try; or I could go home.
I actually did try the cross bike but that wasn't going to work so I headed home. I set out for a great weekend of racing but ended up back home before the damn race was even over.
Bob went on to finish the race and due to his efforts "we" ended up 7th in the Duo class. Anet won the Female solo in Viking fashion, she killed everyone! Great job Anet!
After a five hour drive home with some of my favorite music and a three hour mountain bike ride on Sunday, I was back in a decent mood by the end of the weekend.