Big Jay’s FatAss 12 Hour
It was a relatively calm day with little wind, at least by central Illinois standards. We started with a big group that stuck together for about 4-5 hours and then started whittling down until only Collin Johnson and I remained in the lead. Breaks were considerably shorter; Strava says I spent 17 minutes off the bike this year, compared to 35 minutes in 2021. This was my second endurance race, and I’ve learned a lot since getting second last year. I made sure to fuel and hydrate properly throughout the race, and having a crew helped a lot. Eating strawberries throughout the day was also a good idea, since fruit noticeably helps my recoveries. Whereas Collin used this race as a tuneup for National 24 hour two weeks later, which ended up getting cancelled, I treated this as my A-race, peaking my training two weeks earlier and then tapering hard. We rolled through the final lap with a little over 20 minutes to go, and after gaining some ground on a turn, I launched an attack and broke away for good. My final distance was 245.8 miles, 2-ish ahead of second. Kelley Wegeng won the womens’ race with 210.8 miles, sticking with and taking pulls for the men at the beginning. This was the best race I’ve ever had, and it was also my first cycling victory. I felt incredibly strong the whole time and had lots of gas in the tank for the final attack, which happened to involve pulling Martin (3rd overall, first in age group) on the partial lap return trip. Last year, I failed to hydrate properly and felt weak for a while, which led to me getting dragged around by Tom Keller for a few hours until he ditched me. In addition to that first ultra experience, my favorite training ride that I believe most helped consisted of riding an 18.7 mile loop with around 1850-ish feet of climbing back home in southwestern PA this past January. I rode it for 10 hours, forced myself to eat and drink when I didn’t want to, and maintained a steady pace. I’m grateful that all of my physical and mental preparation finally came to fruition. Big thanks to Jay and the rotary club for putting on a great event, and I’m currently resting to reset the training cycle for another 12 hour this August!