Faster Mustache Duo Alex and Nico win Burn 24! 5-Man crew A-ron, X-topher, Nick, Ed and Kurt take 4th/32!
The FM mountain bike contingency traveled to NC this memorial day weekend for another installment of The Burn 24 Hour Challenge. This would make the 3rd year we have entered the 5-man category, and this year Alex and Nico teamed up to add a Duo team as well. Ed was the first to arrive to the scene Saturday morning, and he staked out a great spot for us to camp along the walking path and right up against Dark Mountain. Before long we were squeezed into our site and began to wage war against the sun. It beamed down oppressively for most of Saturday, lifting the previous night's rain into the air as a hot mist cloud that coated everything.
In our first Burn appearance in 2009, we scored a fourth place finish and vowed to return for the podium. It was not to be however, as the competition stiffened fiercely and we finished 7th in 2010. In both of those races we used a "Double Lap" strategy, meaning each rider went out for two laps and then tagged out. This year, we decided to try a new strategy:
Got it? Good. As you can see, this strategy included me sitting under the tent and drinking Gu Brew all afternoon, waiting for my first chance to hit the trail at 5:30pm.
Alex and Nico's strategy seemed to be something like "Lets get so far ahead early on that everyone else will get demoralized and quit racing". They were even beating us (a 5-man team!) until about 10:30pm Saturday night. When I finally caught up to Alex on the trail, he was throttled back a bit, chillin' in his pain cave.
The trail conditions were pretty good in spots and pretty mucky in others. The dark side of Dark Mountain was covered in peanut butter, and the roots were slick and plentiful. It was easy to let down your guard and slip out. Luckily for me I had my new WTB Exiwolf mounted up. I like it because it has lots of grabby edges but still spaced out enough to shed mud. I have been riding WTB's new TCS tires (light-weight tire with a UST bead, designed to be used with Stan's sealant) for a couple months and I am super stoked on them.
We had a blast racing. Dark Mountain is an awesome race trail and Jason Bumgarner et. al put on an awesome event. Alex and Nico were able to take the win in their category with an incredible 32 laps (that's 16 laps EACH!). We finished 4th out of 32 teams and while we are stoked about that, I can tell you now we are coming back for a podium spot next year!
It should be pointed out that of all 7 of us, NONE of us had a mechanical in 24 hours of racing. This is thanks in part to our sponsors that keep our equipment running smoothly. And thanks also to our girlfriends, wives and kids that came up and supported us. They put up with some pretty gnarly living conditions and still made us sandwiches :-)