Three years ago about this time, I was looking ahead to the upcoming year for mountain bike races to pencil in the calendar. Gravel races were not even on the radar. I still considered myself a mountain bike and cyclocross racer, even as any real racing, or even training, slipped further into the past. A thought shot across my mind. 2013 marked ten years since my last 24 hour team relay mountain bike race. Is that possible? Really?
|We somehow survived the 1999 24 Hours of Moab, which sparked a new approach to riding and racing.
Craig Groseth, Dan Cook and Mark Almer.
|Some of our team at the 2001 24 Hours of Adrenalin at Winter Park, with Kelli Cook on the microphone.
We repeated our age group win on the course and our support team won the Best Pit Area.
When we moved to Rapid City, the Black Hills sported a vibrant cycling community that supported a variety of races and events, including a new 50 mile mountain bike race, the Dakota Five-O. I eagerly jumped in, but with a different approach. As part of an overall shift to a more simple, sustainable lifestyle, I hang up my go-fast Specialized StumpJumper Pro racing hardtail and convert my original mountain bike, a rigid steel 1991 Specialized RockHopper, to single speed. All on the trail is new again, with a back to basics bike and a refreshed, relaxed mindset.
Time passes. Oh, I occasionally enter a local race and putter through. But my cycling becomes a daily commute to work, a weekly mountain bike ride or two, and an occasional road bike ride through the Black Hills. Almost all single speed or fixed. Losing speed and mentality for racing, but loving the ride. All good.
Now, it's end of year 2012, I'm staring at the calendar, realizing that it's coming up on 10 years since that last 24 hour mountain bike race. I miss those, especially the experience of sharing an entire weekend of racing and camping with all those friends and their families. What to do. Hmmn.