Saturday, January 12, 2013

Race Report: 12 Hours of Amelia 2013

Happy new year everyone! Eric G. here, excited to bring our first race report of 2013!

We were up with a change of pace here, instead of the usual XC event, we participated in the 12 Hours of Amelia as a 4-Man Base Team. The course was 8.5 miles of fast, flowing, trails with tons of berms that only the Amelia Earhart MTB trails can provide. There was a great turnout with nearly 200 racers participating in all classes from 6 hour Solo to 12 Hour Team. To minimize the madness of so many racers starting together, Gone Riding would line the racers up for a LeMans style running start.

Earlier in the week the team had decided it would be me to start off the race followed by Eric N, Julio and then Alex. Other than the running (which we all hate) we lined up everyone to be in the best position for their riding strength. Apparently my pension to start way too fast in races would be perfect for this. The plan was for me to keep up with the faster teams for 1 lap then hand it off so we could settle into a competitive pace.

Early on was pretty fun as the stage was set in the first few laps. I didn't have the best run but found some sport riders to stick with and had a pretty solid lap. Mid-lap I tangled a little with a rider that tired to make too daring of a pass (riders behind me said it was a stupid move on his part) and lost a little time but still crossed the first lap in 6th place, with Team Pro-Tech just ahead of us. I swapped in the transition with Eric and told him to keep them close. He'd also lose a little time with a tangle with another rider and they'd build almost a minute lead. We told Julio to drill it and he sure did! He went in to DIESEL MODE and reeled in Pro-Tech and came through together with them sending off Alex to keep the pressure on. He'd come through with a 30 second lead and now we were in 5th!

As it turned out we would continue to build on the gap and our consistent laps would start creeping us closer to the 4th and 3rd place teams. Attrition started to settle in to the other teams, so between losing riders and cramping, their pace was starting to slow. While it took most of the day, as the night was settling in at around 5pm, I was on my lap and passed two teams for position and we were now in 3rd!

We thought we'd probably settle in there with 2nd place more than 5 minutes ahead, but two back to back slow laps for Team Bike Street USA suddenly had us in 2nd with about 90 minutes to go! Alex's favorite time to ride is at night and his night lap was actually his 2nd fastest on the day which gave us just under a minute gap. He tagged off to me and now the pressure was on! I went as hard as I could but I fully admit I'm not as fast at night and Bike Street had their best rider on the course. He caught me about half way through the lap and I couldn't keep up. I tried to minimize damages and came through with about a 50 second deficit. They took a gamble and kept him out for a second lap and Eric Norris would be our anchor. It was up to him to bump us up a spot the podium. He ALMOST pulled it off and had a faster 2nd lap than Bike Street who slowed on the final lap, but was about 10 seconds back at the end. It was amazing the excitement of being still so close after nearly 12 hours of racing!! We finished in 3rd place on the day with 18 laps completed, exhausted, but thrilled with he podium spot. While Bike Street gave us a battle, we want to congratulate the Juniors from Team BAMF that absolutely crushed the Base class with 19 laps! Those kids are fast!! Great job guys!

It was an exciting event for everyone and Gone Riding knows how to run an event like this with no issues the entire day. We also wanted to congratulate new riders from Team Bike Tech Jennifer Moos for her 12 Hour Solo Female win and Vic and Eddie for taking 2nd in the 12 Hour 2-Man Sport class. Bike Tech was great with the support as usual and we definitely had a comfortable pit area thanks to them. We'll be back in XC action  in two weeks with CC #4 back at Amelia. Enjoy some of the pictures below and thanks for reading!

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