My friend Dave was with me. He was the only one left and we were killing it. I think it was lap 6 when it started to happen. It is hard to remember, not that it has been so long ago, but that we were hypothermic. Dave said, “One more lap for me and I am finished”, and that was music to my ears. I hated to ride alone back then. I was a greenhorn 24 hour solo mountain biker and hadn’t grown my solitude wings yet.
I cant remember who crashed. But I know why. The trail was one big mud puddle and the temperature in the 40s. The sun had already set and between the numb fingers and the greasy trail a corner turned into a face plant. I also vaguely remember something breaking. Something important. We returned to the pits (our cars).
“Yea, Bill”, followed by the sound of clapping hands. It was Paul who stopped by to see how I had been doing riding in the pouring rain for what was going on 7 hours. I fixed what needed to be fixed and we were on our way again. The lap was horrid and it took its toll on my friend.
“Man … I am out. Sorry Bill”, Dave lowered his head. He was through and I knew he wouldn’t make another lap. Heck, I didn’t even know if I could make another lap. I quickly made the repairs and set out on a lap all alone, solo, in the cold dark night.
“I’ll be here when you finish this lap”, Paul yelled just loud enough for me to hear over the poring rain.
As of now I have 3 days and 12 hours before I start the 2011 24 Hours of Round the Clock solo campaign. This weekend looks to be a cold wet one. With rains all week it promises to be epic. I will not be riding with my friend Dave, my companion on the rainy 1997 Night of The Living Dead 24 Hour Mountain Bike Challenge in Plattsburgh New York. I will not have my guardian angle Paul to save my life by pulling me out of my mad drive to keep going with a dropping body core temperature. This year my friend Norman and I will take on the monstrosity that awaits. Should be fun … right?