Home Up Ideas Links Gallery


2008 24 Hours of Adrenalin, Hurkey Creek

And now for something completely different...

Since 2001 we have been doing one or two 24 hour races per year, and the September race at Hurkey Creek has been on our calendar for each of those years. Although I don’t share Jeff Kerkov’s view of traditional 24 hour races (“…hamster cage races…”), there is the danger that simply riding around in 10 mile circles can get monotonous. With the 2008 race approaching, one of our esteemed teammates suggested we take a novel approach to the event, one that might inspire us to step up our training (such as it is) and maybe give us new attitudes towards the race.

Weasel4 (ok, it was Jeff) suggested we try riding longer shifts, and compete against each other for the most laps completed during that shift. It is sort of a race within the race. Of course, since the shifts could not be that long, he had to devise an elaborate point scheme, which is where it gets interesting. We settled on each of us doing a single lap at the beginning, and then we would each take a 5 hour shift. The point system starts out simple: one point for each lap completed, but there are a few adjustments that were developed to make things more, umm, interesting.

  1. Our standard target lap takes one hour, so we normalized our point / lap adjustments based upon a galactic-standard one hour lap.
  2. Night laps usually take 6 - 8 minutes longer than daytime laps, so laps run in the dark will receive a 0.1 lap bonus.
  3. Riders who arrive after their 5 hours has expired will be penalized, and the next rider would get the bonus. For example, if rider #1 finishes their 4th lap after riding for 5 hours and 12 minutes, he gets 0.8 lap credit and rider #2 gets a 0.2 lap bonus.

A few weeks before the race we drew numbers out of a hat and chose our opening lap order and our 5 hour race order. Two of us picked all dark laps, one decided to run his opening lap back-to-back with his 5 hour block, and one courageous soul chose the LeMans start at noon on Saturday, followed by the Sunday morning laps. In other words, everyone had something to complain about.

As always, there are lots of stories and adventures that unfold during the execution of one of these events, most of which are best recounted in the oral tradition. That said, there were some notable features that deserve comment. We learned that doing two laps in a row is not as hard as we thought it might be, and we will probably do that again. We learned that the third lap in a row is pretty tough, and the fourth lap is, as Jeff put it, “ridiculous.” Shane might disagree with that last one, but he is endowed with some sort of a reptilian endurance gene, and appeared not to suffer much on his 5 hour block. He actually (per our pre-race predictions) put up negative splits on several of his laps. Three of us have now faced the harsh truth that we will never be soloists.

The weather, as usual, provided some interesting challenges. It was actually beautiful, with clear skies and moderate temperatures during the day (high 80s). The night temperature crashed far below the forecast, however, bottoming out at 29 degrees early Sunday morning. Weasel4 started his 5 hour block in shorts and a long sleeve jersey, expecting to finish his last lap at about 50 degrees. It was in the 30s before he was half finished. After he finished his laps I think he kept Mrs. Weasel4 awake for a couple hours, shivering uncontrollably in their tent. Weasel1 took off on his Sunday morning laps around dawn, at about 30 degrees, and finished at 70 degrees----a 40 degree swing!

So, how about our results? As a team, we finished in 6th place with 20 laps, fewer than we have done in many years, but we learned so much in the process that it may change our approach to these events forever. As far as our competition-within-a-competition goes, we each rode ourselves into oblivion and kind of forgot about the whole point system. Next year, maybe two sets of double night laps for each of us. Hmmmm….we’ll see about that.

2008 24 Hours of Hurkey Creek Results

Here are our September 200 Hurkey Creek splits