1989 MICHIGAN NATIONAL
24 Hour Challenge
by Roger S Nelson
This event is like a 24 hour time trail except drafting is allowed. It is typical of the type of training I used to do.
I've ridden over 3000 miles over the years on this 24 hour marathon in a least a dozen efforts. Once of my goals was to do 400 miles in 24 hours, but the best I ever did was 367. I was in the best shape I've ever been in that year, but I had my seat a little too high on that ride and spend too much time tending to a sore butt. If it wasn't for that, maybe I would have hit 400, who knows?
I'm completely burned out now. I don't think I could ever do another event that involves laps
To find out more about this great event http://www.n24hc.org/
This year's Michigan National 24 Hour Challenge had some pretty stiff competition. It is getting so that a person could do a quad century and still not win anything. In several age categories the top three riders were well above 400 miles. The winner, Alfred Muldoon from St. Joseph, set a new course record of 469 miles. The week before he set a new record in Illinois of 506 miles. It's hard to imagine back to back weekends of that caliber riding. He did not look especially tired after the ride. When they handed him his award he bounced right up there for it.
I was real pleased with my ride as well as with my support crew. Rich Haubert and Mitch Halley helped my wife, Nina, crew me to a 367 mile ride, which I felt was my best ride ever. Everyone said what a good job they did helping me, and I can attest to that. Rich took some caffeine and stayed up all night right along with me. Unlike Al, when I went up to get my award (third place in my age category), I staggered up for it.
My ride was not without problems. The rules were changed this year to exclude arm rests. I have used arm rests exclusively for the last 2 years and was caught by surprise by this change. At the first rest stop they made me take them off. (While I was taking them off I lost any chance to draft the front pack.) This also changed my riding position slightly which meant other adjustments, especially to my saddle. The part of my anatomy that contacts the saddle became excessively sore (I almost had to quit). I was so desperate only a liberal application of Jergen's hand lotion (believe me it burns) worked well enough to keep me going. I had several real slow laps at night because I could hardly sit. The next day my arms felt like I used them to pedal, and my hands are still numb after four days.
The bright spot is that I believe I'm riding better than ever. There is a mile long hill about 15 miles into the first loop where in the past I was dropped by the other riders. This year I was the 2nd one over the top. As soon as I recover a little more I'm going out to the van and see if my bike is still there. Maybe I'll even try riding it again!