Do a few 24 hour races, and it is bound to happen. Folks who have not tried one yet are going to ask you why you do it. After doing these things for the past several years, I have been asked that question so many times I have lost count. So I figured I would lay out a list of the Top 5 to hopefully enlighten those of you who have not yet endeavored to experience one of the most popular current mountain bike crazes.
5. You have unlimited opportunities to totally embarrass yourself in public. Take for example, my nutritional inexperience at one of my earlier endurance events. I was so concerned that I would not take in sufficient fluids that I apparently overdid it. Of course, nature called as usual, right smack dab in the middle of one of my night laps, as far away from a portajohn as possible. So, being the industrious woman that I am, I parked my bike next to a tree off the side of the trail, and scurried off into some relatively thick underbrush in order to relieve my painfully full bladder. Just as I was preparing to pull my tights back up, I heard the familiar masculine voice of one of my friends who was also racing, yelling to me that perhaps I should have turned off the flashing red tail light attached to the hydration pack I was still wearing.
4. And on a similar note, you can look like a total fool and not even care. If you are even aware of it, that is. Again, early in my endurance racing career, I had received in my schwag bag a tube of chamois cream at one of the events. Unfortunately, I failed to read the directions, which clearly indicate that a little goes a long way. Let me just make a long story short here, and say that if you are going to glob that stuff on, wear white shorts instead of black ones, preferably using the same color scheme on your saddle.
3. You can (and if you happen to be racing solo WILL) look like absolute crap and probably not even care, at least by the end of the race. Just one little bit of advice for the ladies here. If you are going to start the race trying to look like a diva, make sure that the eye makeup you choose is water and sweat-proof. I can recall at least a couple of times that I should have just gone ahead and registered as Rocky Raccoon.
2. You get to wear the most ridiculous looking outfits in the world, and have people applaud you for it. If you have ever seen me race, I do not think I need to say anything more.
1. And the number one reason to do a 24 hour race? You get to play in the dirt with your bike and your friends all day and all night! You will pay a good chunk of money to get no sleep, strain your muscles to their limits, snap at your friends who are trying to help you, eat bizarre food products, and wonder why you did this. You will complain in the wee hours of the morning that you are never going to put yourself through this again. But 15 minutes after the end of the race, you will already be planning for the next one. It is a vicious cycle. It is an addiction. “Hello. My name is Tammy, and I am a 24 hour race addict.” “Hello, Tammy.”