How to ride 24
How to mountain bike for 24 hours, that is
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 6:00 AM
“Nobody tell me how I’m doing until 5 a.m.” I scrawled those words on a scrap of plywood and hung it in my pit stall at the 2012 Wausau24. Words of wisdom.
Paul Wagner negotiates the 2013 Wausau24 course en route to his 12-hour solo win. PHOTO BY GARY SMITS/XTRPHOTO.COM
I’ve learned the hard way that despite the name, nobody races for 24 hours at a 24-hour race. The best race strategy is not to race but to simply survive. Survive until your mind is ready to consider the competition. Other riders are as uncontrollable as the weather, so it does no good to dwell on either. Just bring warm clothes and enjoy the ride.
Twenty-four hour racing is largely determined by one’s equipment and physical readiness, but it also warrants a premeditated psychological strategy to endure the unknown places the wee hours will take a rider.
On August 2, Wausau will again see the convergence of over 500 riders at the Midwest’s endurance race of the year, the Wausau24. Iowa and Minnesota haven’t seen full all nighters since 2012, but Michigan riders still have a shot at the Hanson Hills on September 6.
This year will be my 10th Wausau24. I’ve raced in just about every format the event has to offer, and through introspection and misfortune I’ve developed a method to boost the odds of having a great weekend.
Contents may settle over time. Results may vary.
The entirety of Chris Schotz's account of and tips for 24-hour mountain bike races appears in the July 2014 print edition of Silent Sports magazine. To order a copy call 888-706-4045. Or subscribe online here, and don't miss another issue.