This year’s 24 Hour National Championship at the 24 hours of Moab was looking to have the best conditions ever! With heavy rain the week before the race the course was in the best condition I have ever seen it in.
My biggest competition was Kelly Magelky who was back for round two of our head to head dog fight for the national championship. Some other strong men that made the trip were Cary Smith, Ben Koenig, and Ernesto Marenchin. The race kicked off with the usual Le Mans running start and I got to my bike in about the top 20 and quickly moved closer to the front. Kelly quickly took control once we hit the trail and started to throw down a hard pace, we were out front with one guy in front of us, Jay Henry. We were about 50 feet behind Jay and I remember him looking back at us and then a minute later he was just gone, that dude is fast!
I came into lap 1 with Kelly and we both charged out for lap 2 his pace was very fast and he pulled away from me on the first climb, I was content to let him go and settle into my own pace. Then I noticed something funny was going on with my bike as my crank arm was banging against my chain stay! Now I’m no genius but I knew that this was bad! It turns out that I had broke one of the linkage bolts and the rear end off my bike was flexing with every pedal stroke, but I could still ride thankfully! I was expecting my bike to just fall apart but I babied it through the lap and made it back to the pits.
I lost 5 minutes on the lap so I grabbed my other bike and got back to the race while my pit crew worked on fixing my bike. My crew had to go into town to beg, borrow and steal the parts necessary for the fix! The next couple of laps I started to make the time back and by about lap 5 I had caught back up to Kelly.The next lap was the first night lap and Kelly just took off again pulling away from me on the first climb but by the time we got to the back side of the course I had reeled him back and was really starting to feel good and pushed the pace up the backside climb, we came in together and I had quick transition and went back out.
The night is my favorite part of 24 hour racing and I was really getting into a groove, my NiteRider lights worked flawlessly all night. The temps were perfect and with very little wind it was a perfect night for riding. Now I started to put a little bit of time into Kelly on each lap, but I didn’t want to get complacent so I kept the pace high and made very quick transitions.
By the morning I had about 50 minutes on Kelly but I didn’t want to slow down, I still felt good and want to just push it as much as possible. For a long time I have been thinking about pacing to finish 18 laps and kind of had that in the back of my head, but during the night and early morning hours I lost count, I just knew I had to keep pushing until noon. The last two laps were very painful my whole body hurt, especially my feet and I just wanted to be done! At 11:52 I came in and figured I was on my 17th lap and just couldn’t go on another lap as my body and my mind were shot, I had given all that I had! I shed blood, sweat and tears and had won another national championship.
About a half hour after I had finished someone told me that Kelly (he was still on course) and I had done 18 laps! I thought they were wrong but it was true that the lap I couldn’t do would have been number 19! This was a huge surprise and made the weekend even more special. Finishing 18 laps before noon is a course record and previously there has only one other person to finish 18 laps at all in this race! Kelly is an incredible guy and competitor he really pushed me to my limit. Fortunately I was in my top form for this race because to beat a guy like Kelly you have to be on it. I don’t think this is the last time we will battle for 24 hours and that’s scary to think about, but that’s what I love I about racing it pushes you way beyond the limits you thought were possible.