Bone Bender was a great opportunity and race, and unfortunately I had no motivation to write about it back when I remembered all of the details. I will say this though, that race reminded me of something that I learned last year...gatorade doesn't actually have very many calories in it. If you're ever planning on doing an endurance mountain bike race, and you would like to not be bonked out of your mind around hour 4 of 6, then don't rely on gatorade for calories.
The le mans mass start at the beginning of the race was one of the most amazing bike race starts I've ever experienced. It was rediculously frantic and a little sketchy with 300-350 racers all storming across a beach on foot, and then simultaneously cyclocross hopping onto their bicycles after the run. I just remember thinking that it was the most fun I'd ever had starting a race.
I was in 13th out of 89 in my category going into the singletrack. I lost a few spots when I rubbed against a tree on the first lap, but I was holding onto 17-18th pretty well for hours. Then, bit by bit I had no more energy. After lap 4, about 4 hours in, I had to stop and sit down to rest and eat. It was no good, almost 10 people passed me during my 15 minute break. Previous to this, Gabi and I had been doing on the bike handoffs, with me hardly even slowing to get new food and drink. It was great and fast and had helped me stay up where the serious riders were. Resting for those minutes sealed the deal, and I ended up somewhere in the 20's out of the 89 riders doing 6 hour solo.
After the race I hung out with the High Gear team out of Emporia for a while, catching up with some friends that I hadn't seen since leaving ESU. Bobby handed me his own beer, I think knowing that I needed one pretty badly, and me and Gabi just sat around talking with him, Anne Marie, Garret, Donovan and Mike, as well as the other High Gear teammates.
Things I remember from my dreamlike 4th lap, where I was in a bonk induced haze: me and a bunch of other 6 hour guys in a long line one after another doing the step ups that seemed to go on forever, a woman on the side of the trail says, "Oh my God, It's like a pain train!"; A cigarette lighter packaged with a Gu energy packet in the middle of the trail, fallen out of a racer's pocket; riding no hands to stretch my cramped tricepts.