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24 Hours of Adrenalin

by James Baca

Over Labor Day Weekend 1999, I competed in the 24 Hours of Adrenalin in Vernon, British Columbia. My goals were simple. First I wanted to finish the race. Second I wanted to do at least 100 miles.

My training consisted of nothing more than my usual hard rides with friends. I did try to go out for a few extra long rides to see how my body would react. Two weeks prior to the race, I had my last hard work out and started to taper off my training. I also began to consciously eat more during this period.

During the last couple of days before the race, I did very little riding and ate bland foods to ensure that I wouldn't get stomach cramps.

The day of the race, I didn't sleep in because I didn't want to throw my biorhythms off (the race itself would accomplish that task).

The Race I have been a competitive athlete for 14 years, but have never done anything like a 24 hour mountain bike race. I decided that I wouldn't need a warm-up, as I would have quite a bit of time for that during the race. Thirty minutes prior to the race, I stretched and talked with the other racers. The start was the typical Le Mans style in which I finished dead last. I walked that portion as I hate running, even for short distances, and I didn't want to risk an injury. What difference over 24 hours would a quick run up make.

I had ridden the course the day before and had decided on the pace I would keep. I had a very difficult time getting my muscles warm, but I believe that if I had warmed up prior and then cooled down I would have been worse off. I got to the bottom of the mountain in 1:27, 20th of 21 riders.

As the race progressed I encountered an obstacle I had not anticipated. About the third lap, riders from the teams began to lap me. As they passed, I noticed that I wanted to start hammering to catch them. My muscle memory took over at this point and it took significant concentration to prevent myself from chasing them down. I maintained a steady pace and reached the top of the mountain between 55 and 58 minutes every lap. At the end of the third lap, my dry lube had worn off and I had to switch to a wet lube since I didn't have time for chain wax to dry.

Up to this point, I had been eating bananas (one every lap) and homemade powerbars (which contained peanut butter and Grape Nuts cereal). At the end of my fourth lap, my wife, for whatever reason, gave me a hot dog. This did wonders for me. I hadn't been feeling fatigued, but the fat and protein in the dog refreshed and replenished me. High fat/high protein foods are definitely the way to go for this type of event. For the next several laps, I ate bologna, which was my favorite because it was soft and easy to chew as opposed to the hot dog which was a little firmer and bulkier. My drinking remained consistent; I was downing 2/3 bottle of Gatorade and a half waterpack each lap.

About this time night rolled in. On my first dark lap, my NightRider helmet light died. I used a rental light direct from NightRider and was very disappointed in its performance. I didn't catch the model name, but it was rated at 10W. It was dim and the battery life was very limited. I rode the last four miles with a pen light in my mouth. Thankfully, I didn't chip any teeth. I rode the last four miles with a pen light in my mouth. Thankfully, I didn't chip any teeth.
I finished that lap and replaced my battery. While I was changing socks, one of the members of the team staying in the tent next to me replaced my rear brake cable, which had become crammed with dirt and very sticky. While I was sitting in the tent, my nephew (who also came along for support) told me I had moved into 17th place. The brake cable was the only problem I had with my Airborne Lucky Strike.
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