Tag Archives: germany

12 Stunden Rennen – Külsheim – 2008

(The 12 hour race in Külsheim)

I am a lucky man. A friend of mine, Ed, drove of from Italy to support
me during my solo ride at the 12 Stunden Rennen in Külsheim. The
difference between doing an event supported and unsupported is huge,
and anybody that actually has a friend volunteer their time to stand
in a transition area and hand you water bottles, goos, electrolyte
pills, etc. is really lucky.

Ed showed up at my house in the early morning and we jumped into my
van and made our way to Külsheim.The van was already packed with my
primary race bike and a “pit bike”. The race bike was an On One Inbred
singlespeed (32 x 19) fitted with an older Lefty DLR, Racing Ralphs
2.4×29 on Velocity Blunt rims, and fairly new Ergon GP1 grips. The pit
bike was a Kona Unit 2-9 but I did not need to ride it. During the
drive to the race we went over my nutrition plan, and actions at the
transition area. I dictated the nutrition plan and Ed pretty much gave
advice based on his greater racing experience which I was very
thankful for.

As we approached Külsheim we drove into an overcast, drizzly morning.
There was going to be some mud, that was a given. Probably some
chafing too. My motivation was sinking as Ed was messing with me,
telling me how bad it was going to suck and that I should just quit.
The drizzle seemed to stop as we approached the race site and I got my
starter package while Ed set up our gear at the tent that was housing
the German single speeders.

The the race started promptly at 0900. I was wearing the Big Wheel
racing bib with some baggies over it, a long sleeved Jersey, and off
we went. The course consisted of a mix of flat to mildly inclined
gravel roads, some fire roads, two singletrack sections, some trails
across grassy fields, two singletrack downhills, two gravel downhill
sections, and across a series of 5 tank berms in a Bundeswehr training
area. The conditions of the course varied from muddy and wet in the
early part of the day to drier when the sun finally broke through at
noon. The downhill singletrack sections were slippery mud that defied
traction till half way through the race where one section turned to dry soil
and the other turned to a fairly tacky moist singletrack section but
where braking remained rather iffy. The flat singletrack sections were
situated on higher terrain so they started to dry up and after several
laps they were ridden smooth and were tacky with decent grip. The
depressions between the tank berms were filled with water but having
ridden the course last year I knew fairly decent lines to ride on the
left edges that avoided the hub-deep puddles. It would be wrong not to
mention the 3 uphills, the first one came fairly soon after the first
singletrack downhill and was an uphill gravel road. The second hill
was more mellow and came after the second singletrack downhill, and
the third uphill followed a gravel downhill. The third uphill was a
long incline that went through a field and then grew steeper and
turned into a gravel forest road. Following this third hill was a
stretch that took you to the second gravel downhill which one could
bomb down and it led into the transition area. There was a muddy run
up in the transition area that led to a short steep muddy roll down
before you got to the scoring gate.

A lap was about 10.5km long and I was riding them in a 40 to 50 minute
time range. I believe I rode 14 laps but Ed counted 15 laps and I
finally stopped after 10 hours and 50 minutes of fairly non-stop
riding. After 3 laps I was walking up the first uphill and up the
second half of the third hill. The middle hill was doable, even on a
single speed.

My nutrition plan consisted of 3 Power Bar Gels per lap (I started the
race with the regular flavor and ended up hammering the Espresso
flavor with double the caffeine during the last few hours). Every lap
Ed would hand me a fresh water bottle, with either one scoop of
Perpetuem or SE (Sustained Energy), gel packs, and some Endurolytes.
The Power Gels contain electrolytes but I also consumed one or two
Endurolyte capsule per lap in the transition area. I did not cramp up,
although at times I felt some twinges in my thighs when I got out of
the saddle to really mash. Ed also provided me with a couple of Cokes
and chocolate cupcakes, but I could only drink about a half bottle and
eat half of a cup cake before I felt full. The Orange/Vanilla flavored
Perpetuem tasted like the dust in the bottom of a box of oatmeal with
a hint of ass, the Sustained Energy tasted like ass, but I got used to
it after a while. I would probably not use SE again if Perpetuem is

Given the amount of gravel roads and flatter sections I really
appreciated the lockout on the Lefty DLR. The Lefty has a true
lock-out and it was really nice on the smooth trails and tracks to not
feel the fork bob. Unlocked, the fork allowed me to bomb the
downhills if they were not congested by slower riders. The Avid BB7s
(180mm) functioned extremely well, as did the Ergon GP1 grips. I am
lucky to still have the Ergon grips because I was on the verge of
throwing them away due to the difficulty in setting them up perfectly.
But I did manage it after several training rides and I must say I am
impressed. I had no numbness of the hands or tingling sensations. The
Schwalbe Racing Ralphs (2.4 x 29) were another issue. We have a
love/hate relationship now because they did not perform well in the
mud during the first half of the day. They packed up and essentially
turned into big brown slicks and the corresponding loss of control.
This was especially noticeable on the singletrack downhills when
having to slow down for slower riders. The Racing Ralphs are not mud
tires, but they held their own on the other sections of the course.
The last piece of gear that made an impression was the Big Wheel
racing bib made by Pactimo. Despite starting off in wet conditions and
then sweating for almost 11 hours the bib did not chafe. The padding
was nice on the tush and there was no butt-pad shaped welt that
sometimes happens with lesser quality biking shorts. The only down
side to a bib is the necessity of removing too much gear/jersey when
trying to take a dump.

I stopped after almost 11 hours in the saddle and must say that I felt
pretty good. There were no cramps or major physical issues and I did
not feel sore the next day. The brake pads were down to 66% but I kind
of expected that. It was a tremendous help that Ed provided. For my
next longer solo race I will surely try to enlist someone to support
me again and fine tune my nutrition plan.

Thank you Ed!!!


Filed under Races, racing team, Team Members