Existential delimnas in the desert

There comes a point in every 24 hour race I've done where I'm beat, and unfortunately it happens before the race is done.  For these occasions I've learned to bring apple pie.  So about 1:30 AM I came into the pit and said "pie!" and Lynda was so on top of the situation (I was 10 min later than expected) that pie was in my mouth before I could sit down...

In every other race, this has been a period of great torment.  The body says no, the head says get up you wuss.  This time, the body did all the talking.  The head was quiet.  Quite frankly, I didn't care.  I knew I could carry on and chug out enough laps to hold 2nd place, and knew what it would take in terms of effort and recovery - and at that point it seemed stupid, pointless.

This is the defining moment of 24s for me.  It is easy to pedal along up to this point.  After this point the race requires a certain depth of fitness, hunger, motivation, mojo.  This is when the real race begins.  For the first time in my experience, I had the fitness but not the hunger, motivation.  Fitness is not enough.

In a nutshell, that's what happened.  There are lots of details, plenty of highs and lows of what actually went down out there and I'll post some of that shortly.  Many have asked about bones...none are currently broken that I'm aware of, maybe a crack or two but that's nuthin...

What is waaaaay more than nuthin though is the absence of motivation mid-race.  That's new for me and has never been an issue.  Naturally that was a topic of discussion with LW on the drive home.  She recognizes it as burnout, thought it was similar to the end of her pro glory days.  It's really hard for me to wrap my head around that one - that I could be burned out when not racing for 3 months.   I guess I could be burned out on fighting for the comeback as that has been the theme for the past year.  Tom Danielson has had a rough year, check out his interview on VN.  Our seasons have been strikingly similar.

Terminal burnout?  Yea, right - I give it a snoball's chance in hell.  I got a little care package from Curiak yesterday - Leviathon seatstays with brake posts on them.  This means I can use the power meter on the 29er MTB.  I was excited like a kid in a candy store about that one.  Does that tell ya where my heart is?

One thing is certain.  I'm relaxed.  For the first time in a year there isn't some event that requires immediate training or rehab.  I'm excited to get out and explore my new surroundings, and excited to get out and find that perfect route from St George to Moab.  This fall is going to be about exploration.  Not forced, just natural. 

I'll go with the flow I have.

Published Wednesday, October 17, 2007 5:18 AM by Dave


# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 8:05 AM

There is something infinitely better about going somewhere than going in loops. Not that I've been doing either all that long but aside from the competitive and social part of lap racing, there isn't another big draw for me.

Of course getting to Moab seemed like you were forcing the issue of being "ready" not just fit from an outside perspective.

See ya for some rambling in the desert soon. That seems to cure any ills :)


# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 10:04 AM

I have been there Dave. It is a dark and lonely place, but it has lead to new perspective for me. And like Chris hinted at, lap races seem to breed the indifference.

Exploration sounds like the perfect cure. I am sure not all of your exploration is going to be geographical, but the part that is, I'd love to come along for part of it.

Adam L.

# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 10:48 AM

Damn. Sometimes life dictates we move on, but we can always come. It's been that way for me with most outdoor sports: climbing, canyoneering. Once I had climbed harder than I ever thought I would when I started at age 12, I lost a lot of the fire, and to a large extent was content to shelve it as "done". I still climb occasionally, but it ain't the same.

At some point I imagine cycling will undergo the same transition. That's at least a couple years away, maybe the better part of a decade.


# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 11:10 AM


woha! waay to rock it till that point!

The mental can mess me up 3 ways from sunday quicker then anything.

Enjoy the fall explore, make some camp fires way out in the middle of no where and relax!

and as everyone else has said if yah want company i'll be happy to crash that party


# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 2:10 PM

Well said, Dave. I had a similar experience at a 24 years ago where I just wasn't interested anymore. I was fine physically, but my mojo was elsewhere. Good on ya for being honest with yourself.

Matt McFee

# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 2:43 PM

Interesting. That's not the story I expected.

I think someone with as much passion as you have could be described as a "creative" cyclist. And, as with any creative pursuit, the enemy of passion is stagnation. There are those of us out there, myself included, who still view a 24-hour loop race as an exciting challenge. But maybe it's a peak you've already summited. And when first place slipped out of view, maybe you just didn't have the drive to finish the race on principle alone.

You hinted earlier in the season at a desire to evolve and change. You never know what will spark your creative fires, but it's interesting to watch the journey.


# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 2:46 PM

Hmmm, I could write something really poetic and philosophize all day about this. But my real question is…

Will some of that exploration this fall include a social ride around the white rim and birthday cake??

carol ann

# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 3:01 PM

It's simple. You've been there, done that. the body and its' receptors are immune to the challenge. Time to start adventure racing. Life changes, so do humans.

Thanks for the update. Go have some fun.


# @ Wednesday, October 17, 2007 3:16 PM

While this post is entirely honest (that is my style after all) it doesn't reveal everything. It's interesting to see how each commentor seems to interpret the situation differently. So, to set the record straight, here are some key points.

First, I'm not ready to say I'm over the 24 hour format. The competition of the big ones is what I enjoy about them. This particular race may have run it's course for me though...

For most of the race I was bored. Not all of it, just a lot of it. I put music on super early - lap 2 I think. Usually that happens at nightfall.

My foot was an issue. I was at the back for the Lemans start (no biggie there, really)...and had trouble clipping out as has been the case since July. For whatever reason, riders kept crashing directly in front of me - and that almost always meant I went down too, clipped in, slamming my left side to rock or sand if I was lucky. Usually I wasn't. One of the falls cracked a rib and bruised my hip.

I rode over at least 3 bikes in these incidents and once over a bike/rider combo. One guy crashed right in front of me on the baby head descent...it was surreal, as though riders had a death wish for us both.

So as well as indifference sitting in that chair eating pie was the fresh memories of an autumn spent in a sling mending broken bones...and weighing my autumn plans against a probable 2nd place Moab finish...it just didn't seem like a good idea. The risk of injuring myself and/or someone else seriously was not negligible.

But I was still bored....

Got it?


# @ Thursday, October 18, 2007 3:44 AM

I was in second place at two of the 24's I've ever dropped outta. Isn't it weird to find yourself in that place? You think it would be enough to be achieving a "goal", but it just isn't. People think you're crazy, but whatever. Sometimes it just feels right.
Not sure where this leads either.
See you out there somewhere Dave.


# @ Thursday, October 18, 2007 3:52 AM

BTW: Bored??? That's right. Ain't that a hard one to explain? I love riding a bike, so I found it odd that I was bored too. I tried my music with no luck. I rode my first lap in the dark with no lights. No good. Can't figure that one out entirely, but it has to be an indicator of something. Maybe once you get the whole 24 hour thing figured out it loses it's draw. Who knows?
I think we need paintball guns attached to our stems. Then you should get points for every rider you can pop in the ass with some paint. Does that sound better to you???