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12hrs of Bradbury Mountain Solo Finisher

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    • #5321

      Just completed the 12 hr solo finisher program. The race, 12hrs of Bradbury Mountain held in Pownal, Maine was Saturday and yes, I finished, 5th out of 13 in the 50+ division (105th/300 Overall). The event was not without incident but I made it to the end and the applause of the crowd which made my burning legs feel a little better.

      Rob Draper Bradbury 12hr

      But a bit of backstory. I am 62 years old and a former track cyclist having raced, primarily as a track sprinter, in my youth and early twenties in Australia. That was way back before anyone even knew what a mountain bike was.

      I discovered Mountain Biking back in the mid nineties and absolutely loved it. Jump forward to last year, and after some years riding the technical single track in New England, heard of a 12hr event at Bradbury Mountain State Park and decided to give myself a challenge. Having zero experience in these events I hit the trail, finishing with 6 laps under my belt after 8 1/2hrs riding, fueled but overweight and completely knackered.

      Rob Draper Bradbury 12hr

      That set me off on a 12 month journey of discovery. The entire Fall, Winter and Spring building aerobic endurance on the MTB and Road bike coupled with copious reading and studying focusing on fitness, fueling and losing weight, to be followed up with Lynda’s 12 week solo finisher program.

      I have to say Lynda’s program worked brilliantly, although I was getting a little nervous being on the bike so little the last week, but the taper was perfect…along with the rest of the program.

      Saturday am arriving early I felt better than I could have ever imagined and the little voice in my head kept reminding me of what I had read in the training notes…”every pacing mistake in a 12 hr solo is made in the first three hours”. Control, control, control. I had been diligent with the training, sticking strictly to the HR zones and looking at a top of Zone 2 and bottom of Zone 3 ride.

      Rob Draper Bradbury 12hr

      The course was almost entirely singletrack, interspersed with a few snowmobile trails, fast but lots of tree roots and rocks and, of course, although the weather report was for sun all day, it started raining 30 minutes before the start….perfect.

      At the gun I was astounded how fantastic I felt, there I was keeping pace with everyone, cruising, easy breathing, bike performing flawlessly everything going great, 30 minutes in I reached the point I had allocated to start fueling on a relatively shallow climb on a snowmobile trail. Still going to plan. Feeling great. Laps one and two went by fast. At second pit stop figured I had better check how my stats were going. But things did not look rosy…I had ridden two laps in Z4 peaking into 5, couldn’t tell from the effort but there were the numbers staring me in the face. Yikes.

      Next lap I dialed it back but checking constantly saw I was still up in Z4….at the halfway point on lap three I paid the price. Both legs started cramping…something I had never experienced in training and was a little dumbfounded as to exactly why it was happening. Fuelling was OK, fluids OK, HR was up but I had dialed that back.

      Rob Draper Bradbury 12hr

      Cramps got progressively worse, not hitting hard but the pre lockup twinges. Dialed back some more to get down to Zone 2 and into the pit stop….only to discover the carb drink I had been taking at the stops was way too diluted and I was only getting ¼ the carbs I had trained on. Lap 4 was not too much fun, dialing way back, pumping in the carbs and keeping the cadence up to ride through it.

      But more fun was around the corner. The course included several long, cambered, treated pine bridges, extremely slippery in the light rain and one of them had partially collapsed. I went down like a sack of Idaho potatoes and was followed, in very quick succession by several others. The bridge was closed next lap and the course routed around it….we were all very careful on all the other bridges.

      Rob Draper Bradbury 12hr

      One more careful lap and a lot of close attention to what was going into the engine and I managed to get everything back on track.

      Comfortably in Zone 2/low Zone 3 occasionally, as night fell, the lights came out, the mist came down, it got slicker and the fog rolled in on the low lying parts of the course….just to make sure there was plenty of adrenaline pumping as if night and lights were not enough. It’s a lot of fun riding by feel into a white tunnel.

      The final lap saw a lot of walking, by everyone, as it had become quite treacherous and at 11 hrs it was all about survival.

      Rob Draper Bradbury 12hr

      Yes, I finished. 11 hrs 35 mins (I did not make the 7pm cutoff for last lap) 9 laps of a 7 mile course totally wiped out, very tired legs and barely capable of standing but in good spirits having had a blast. I swore I would never do it again but got over that within a few hours and was ready to line up for the next one. Similar to childbirth according to my wife. I must admit the last lap felt like the longest 7 miles I have ever ridden and, coming in with a group of 6 riders, I was not the only one REALLY happy to see the timing tent.

      So to Lynda a huge thank you. The program was absolutely brilliant. The results were exactly as you described, I learned a lot and even after one day I do not feel like I have just ridden a 12 hr event….a further indication of an effective and well designed training regimen. My goal was 11 laps at a 1.04 pace which was probably a little unrealistic but gave me something to aim for. If I had not been so pumped at the start and followed “instructions” I may have been closer but all up I am totally thrilled with the results and cannot say enough good things about your program so again…Thank You.

      So next year? Has to be the Personal Record 12 solo.

      I am going to take a short while to recover however.

       Rob Draper Bradbury 12hr


      Rob Draper

    • #7033


      I loved your race report. Huge congrats on making it over your low spot in the race and finishing up strong. 63 miles on your bike is a big day.


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