This past weekend we headed to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for the 24 Hours of Great Glen mountain bike relay race. I had the pleasure of riding on a 5-person team with Spencer Taylor, Serena Taylor, Steffie Gould, and Simon Bird. Sarah and Celia filled in as our support crew.
The goal of the race is for a team to ride as many 8-mile laps as they can in 24 hours with everyone doing at least one lap at night (with high-powered helmet and/or bar mounted headlights). Teams are grouped in ‘classes’ based on the size of team (1, 2, 4, or 5 members) and by skill (pro, expert, sport, beginner). There were just two skill-levels for 5-person teams: “Open” and “Cruiser”. There was some confusion in registering and we ended up in the “Open” category instead of the more appropriate “Cruiser” category, so we got crushed in standings. We had a great time anyway though and ended up coming in in 55th place over all out of 156 teams.
The race had a pretty neat computerized timing system going which allowed us to instantly see our times and standings after finishing a lap. According to our results, we completed 22 laps, covered 182.6 miles, and climbed 26,070 feet. Of that, I rode 6 laps, covering 49.8 miles, and climbing 7,110 feet.
We had a great time both riding and just hanging out. Since only one person was riding at a time, we usually had 5 or 6 people in camp hanging out in camp by the fire. This was my first 24-hour race and I wasn’t really sure what to expect both with sleepiness and night-time riding difficulty. To deal with the latter, I ended up buying a headlight for my handlebars and borrowed one of Eli’s LED flashlights for my helmet.
This combo of lights worked amazingly well. The wide flood of the handlebar-mounted MityCross providing nice shadows for depth perception, while the spot-beam of the flashlight lit up the trail up to a hundred yards ahead. While some of the pits of mud were still dark, I was able to ride my night laps at full speed – I even maxed out my gearing on one of the carriage-road downhill sections.
Overall, I was pretty exhausted by Sunday afternoon, but waking up in the middle of the night to ride wasn’t so bad. Getting a lot of QT with great friends made the whole thing a blast. I can’t wait until next year!
Here are a few videos from Sarah to finish things off:
Start of the race, part 1:
Start of the race, part 2:
Me riding “The Birches” section: