By Mark Wieler, Swet Haus Instructor & Cycling Beast Extraordinaire. Photos by Patrick Burnham.
A couple weeks ago Swet Haus Instructor Mark Wieler took part in the ever more popular “12 Hours of Cumberland” mountain bike endurance race, pitting riders or teams of riders against the clock for 6, 12, or 24 hours of muddy dirty carnage. Mark and his teammate finished 2nd overall, and we couldn’t be more proud! You can read all about Mark’s adventure and race report below.
Plan, team of two with Ron. Reality, team of two with Jamey Saunders.
The Day Before
Race prep, food prep for next morning pick up
9 bottles of drink mix with electrolytes and recovery stuff, sandwiches, cliff bars and fruit.
2 kits rain gear, extra shoes and different base layers.
Tighten, lube, charge and pump.
Getting to the event at 6.30 a.m. Setting up the pit, lawn chair under a tree waiting for Jamey. He brings coffee and we discuss strategy and pick up race plates.
One lap each to start then two each same pace all day. Rock paper scissors. Jamey goes first.
Race start 8.15 a.m. The first lap took Jamey 27 minutes, my turn. My first lap took 30 minutes.
The Course: 7km Loop
Starting with a gradual gravel road climb for about 2km then turning into rolling technical single track trail for about 2km across the ridge, followed by a three kilometer downhill xc fun time. The trails are rocky with packed dirt with some bridges and tight turns and fast flowy sections. The course is technical and takes focus to stay online and maintain momentum.
After the first lap I’m super pumped and can’t wait to get out again and next time for two laps. First break: Not hungry, so I stretch drink and socialize with the other riders on break. Jamey comes through and continues for lap two in his set.
Getting ready for my next round I get the bike and go to switch area and wait. Decision on music is made, I’m going to listen to Parkway Drive all day. At this time of day, super excited to ride for two laps, conditions are perfect and I’m feeling fresh. For the rest of the day both of us are putting together consistent lap times. We are battling two other teams that are doing similar lap times, two local young guns and two guys from Vancouver. We are pitted next to the team from Vancouver and see them gradually get more tired. They led by over a lap early in the race, now slowing down.
As the day goes on I eat more during off bike time, conserve energy and hydrate. I try to keep focused so as to not make mistakes on he trail as I get tired or too comfortable. After doing the same loop over and over it is easy to zone out. Mental alertness is very important in an endurance event. Both of us had one minor crash due to not paying attention for a split second, no injuries for us. It rained for about 40 minutes at 5 p.m. the temperature dropped and the trails got slippery. At that time that was a refreshing change and we started getting even closer to the leading team.
7.45 p.m. I start the last lap before I have to finish at the cut off time 8.15. Pressure is on can I do the last lap in the same time as the first. Yes. We finish in second place, less than ten minutes behind the team from Vancouver. We did 13 laps each, no cramps and no bike trouble. Consistent steady riding all day, we went for it and had a great time, but we didn’t get to hang out a lot.