Baker’s Dozen was the first race of the season for me and I was really looking forward to it, especially when I saw that the weather was going to be sunny and in the low 70s. The race venue was close to home, it’s a fun and fast course and a lot of my friends and teammates were going to be racing too. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from myself, though. My only goal was to just ride for the entire race, and to force myself to do one more lap than I wanted to.
The race started out s-l-o-w-l-y. I made the mistake of lining up towards the rear, thinking I would use the first lap as an easy warm up. And it was definitely easy, but there was also a lot of stopping, with people walking over logs and rocks, etc. that really slowed things down. By the 2 nd lap things had spread out a little more and I was able to pick up the pace and get into a groove. The great thing about this course is that I didn’t really have to do much work if I stayed off the brakes and rode efficiently. My plan was to take it easy for the first 6 hours and that’s pretty much what I did. The ~9 mile laps went by quickly. Hearing the crew in our pit cheer me on every lap was a huge boost. I ended up stopping to pit a little more frequently than I had planned. Everyone in our pit area was so nice and helpful and encouraging that I wanted to spend more time there!
By lap 10 I was still feeling pretty good. I had started to cramp a bit early on in the race, which kind of freaked me out. I started taking 2 or 3 endurolytes every hour or so and stood on the pedals more, especially on some of the short little pitches. That seemed to help a lot and I didn’t have any more issues. I had no idea where I was in terms of standings, and I kind of didn’t really want to know. I felt good, I was happy with the way I was riding and didn’t really want to start thinking about where I was placed.
By lap 13 it was starting to get dark. My awesome Light & Motion Seca & Stella lights lit up the trails pretty well, although all of the dust created some visibility issues. After I finished lap 14, I really wanted to be done. Jess was getting ready to head out on another lap so that was motivating. But, I didn’t really want to get back on the bike. Instead, I went to go check the standings to see whether it would matter if I rode another one. While results had not been updated for a few hours because of some glitch with the timing system, I was in the lead up through around hour 9. I was up by a lap plus several minutes and my lap times were several minutes faster than the woman in second, so I felt pretty confident that I was still in the lead by one lap. I could quit if I wanted to and probably still win. But then I wouldn’t have met either of my own goals – to keep riding for a full 13 hours and to force myself to do one more lap when I really wanted to be done.
So I went out for lap 15 and was so glad that I did. I ended the race in 12:29 hrs with 15 laps. Everything went smoothly, I felt good the entire race, met new friends and got to hang out with my teammates. Yes, I could have gone out for one more lap and probably should have but I was pretty happy with my day and the win. Even happier when I got the final results and saw that I would have placed 9 th among Solo Males!
It turned out to be a great day for Gripped overall, with Kevin Carter churning out 21 laps for the Solo Male win, Jason Harris’ team taking third in the Three-Man and Jess’ Gripped/IMBA team putting in some good laps for a strong finish as well. Scuba decided that it would be more fun just hanging out with his fiancé so he mangled his thumb and ended his and Matt’s race early.
Harris mixing style in with his dirt: