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Saturday, May 5, 2001 - Sunday, May 6, 2001 -- Fredericksburg, VA
12 Hours of Lodi Farms (iPO Event Id#: 2987)
Story by Brad Yurish (Team iPlayOutside.com) with photos by Dana Harshberger

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

Race Report from Emory Rogers

Race Pic
Emory Rogers
We arrived to discover that the best camp spot had been heisted by those crafty vets at Dirt Rag, and so retreated to a lonely corner to pow-wow and rally. Not too disappointed, a spaghetti dinner in mind, we set out to peruse the course, a reputed 8-mile loop of flatland old-school technical singletrack. And yes indeed, I stress single. There were several sections of handlebar smacking shoulder-cracking mayhem, as I can surely attest, and every move kept you dancing on your toes. I kept thinking, in the beaming sun, lines succinctly defined- "Can't wait 'till race time, hope my lights hold out. YEEHA!"

Following registration and dinner we tried to get some rest, go over last minute details, and psyche up for the night ahead. The atmosphere was crazy for the Le Mans style start, and reached a fevered pitch as the countdown to midnight commenced. The 12 Hours of Lodi was upon us!

As the sirens wailed a starting blast we were off, a dash to our bikes and out to the singletrack, dust flying. I did well for three-quarters of the first lap, then a stick took some spokes from my rear wheel, and I was forced to run the last two miles, finally across the welcomed creek, to the start finish. I was of lack to figure out what to do, but my second saved the day by procuring a demo Fisher Sugar from the friendly local shop BikeWorks, and away I went.

Lap two was a blur of time. The Sugar treated me well after a few minor adjustments, and I came in healthy to pass the baton. Hoping to solve my bike dilemma in short order, I rushed back to camp and set to work. It seemed only moments before my watch alarm signaled the necessary return to the staging area, and I crammed down a bagel with gulps of water and coffee.

Race Pic
His partner in crime - Brad Yurish
Lap 3, three- thirty A.M. My thoughts from this afternoon come back to haunt me as my lights go dead. I stumble and piggyback my way around the course, hopes of making up for the earlier lost time dashed, mean and nasty thoughts going through my head. I want to eat and sleep, this duo 12-hour racing sucks I think, stupid freakin' lights! I borrow a battery at the confluence and finish the lap respectably, passing the baton, eating, drinking, sleeping.

Voices awaken me. I'm late for rendezvous and have missed my partner. He must be pissed! I fly down to staging and catch him after his third in a row, and as suspected he is none too pleased with me. I set out at a torrid pace, trying desperately to redeem myself and show an impressive lap time. My plan works as I turn in my best lap, the light of day assisting in my speed around the tight course. I fly through the confluence, one-half a lap to go! Finish strong, I think to myself. Be worthy! I push to the limits, and unfortunately they come sooner than I had feared.

My quads revolt and my hams jump on the bandwagon. My legs go to complete lock-down, and I struggle just to stagger up the short steeps. My vision is blurred with tears of sweat as I summon all my faculties just to take me around. I am in agony, but thanks to an altruistic solo rider with extra Hammer Gel, I am able to continue on. (Karen- fair climbs and following friends. Thanks again.) So it was that I cranked slowly to the finish, passed the baton, and collapsed, hallucinating hamburgers.

And as my partner sped out to finish the race, I swear I could make out the muted strains of a somehow familiar song, though I really could not tell- was it real or just in my fevered head. I decided not to worry, and as the world drifted away, hummed along mutely. CCR I think it was. Can't wait to get stuck again next year!



Race Pic
The lights are on at Lodi
Incredible weather and excellent trails greeted this year's racers for the third annual 12 Hours of Lodi Farms Mountain Bike Relay Race, in Fredericksburg, VA. Rob Suydam and the Team BikeWorks bike shop (TeamBikeworks.awwm.com) put on this race, and as they said, it was a race put on by racers. This race has been, and hopefully always will be, a very laid-back race with a homegrown feel to it. With very little glamour and glitter, these guys surprised many people with the high quality trails and excellent competition. So, it's no wonder that this year was the biggest race yet, with 50 more racers than last year's field.

Now, when one thinks of Fredericksburg, mountain biking is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. However, don't let these flatland areas fool you, because these trails were fun, fast and furious! What they lacked in big climbs and downhills, they more than made up for in super tight 'old-school' singletrack. In fact, some people commented it was the tightest singletrack they had ever seen!

Probably the most unique aspect to this race is the start of the race, which commences at 12:00 A.M. Midnight! A LeMans start had the racers lined up about 80 yards away from their bikes. With the headlights shining brightly, the siren of a fire truck started the race. A stampede of headlights came flying toward everyone lined up at the beginning of the course, waiting to see who got the hole shot. It's a miracle anyone found their bikes in the madness that followed, but everyone managed to get on their ride and take off into the night.

Climbing
Who said there was no climbing?
The first loop of the 8-mile course started off with some dirt roads that immediately led into the singletrack, and shortly thereafter, one of the biggest climbs on the course. After some steep singletrack, the trail led out into an old orchard that wound its way through the trees. Once out of the orchard, the trail dove back into the woods on some nice technical descents and climbs. The racers came flying out of the woods, past the start/finish, and then back into the woods for the second loop.

Once into the second loop, the trail flies through the woods, around corners, and then right onto a wooden bridge sitting about 6 feet over a creek! Another one of the bigger climbs came next with everyone changing gears and getting ready for the tight off-camber climb. The hills were literally covered with the trails which you could see at night due to all the other racers' lights. There were many surprises on the course, including a few built up log ramps, super steep whoopdedoos, log crossings (downhill and uphills!), and at the end, a sweet creek crossing.

The trails kept everyone guessing on that first lap, especially since it was at night, and many of the racers had not even seen the trail yet! Those that pre-rode the course definitely had the advantage on the first lap. Many problems happened during this lap, with many people trying to work out the kinks either on the trail or at the start/finish line. Thankfully, BikeWorks had 2 sweet bikes available to be used by any team that needed them. (Team iPlayOutside.com was the first to take advantage of this offer as Emory Rogers destroyed his rear wheel 3 miles from the end of his first night lap).

Creek Crossing
Finishing another lap with a splash
After the first lap, Paul Buschi of Team Trek was in first place, which is where they would stay for the rest of the race. Team Llikzzub from Virginia Tech was second with Snow Valley a close third.

On another note, Kevin Wetzel of Plum Grove Cyclery was in 3rd after the first lap and 2nd after the second lap, which is great, however, he was on a Single Speed rigid bike! Kevin thought that his bike was the best one for the course, but everyone knows how wacked out those singlespeeders are...

As teams progressed throughout the night, a certain race class never got a break - the Solo Class. Many of these hardcore racers did not take much of a break at all during the 12 hours, and the eventual winner, Justin Riddle, only stopped for a total of about 10 minutes. Justin and Dave Hawxhurst battled it out all night and all day long for first and second, and both finished within 15 minutes of each other with 15 laps a piece.

The second most popular class after the solo class, was the Duo, or 2 person team. Machine Gun Jibles was in the lead on the last of their 16 laps, when Team Rough Riders passed them for the win. The Jibles had no idea where they were in the race standings, while Rough Riders knew exactly what was going on, and saved their attack for the final lap and won. There were also many coed teams in this category, in addition to a few female duos!

Hey Baby!
You, too, should be here next year!
Many people used this race as a warm up for the 24 Hours of Snowshoe, and it will certainly pay off. Teams worked out problems in their lighting systems, figured out what foods to eat, and what spare parts to bring. (Some teams will need to bring an alarm clock for those that like to sleep a little too late on their rest lap!) There were many lighting problems for the duo and solo classes including finding time to recharge lights. Trying to get lights for 6 hours of night riding proved tough for many people, but at least these people will be ready for the next 12 or 24 Hour race!

Kudo's go out to Team BikeWorks and Rob Suydam, race cordinator. This is by far one of the finest races I've been in with one of the most unique formats there is, and these guys really do a great job. We hope to see everyone there next year!!