We had so much fun at the Oregon 24 race in 2021 that we fielded another team for the 2022 edition. On July 9-10, 2022, the team of Coral, Ginger, Heather, Hannah, and Karlé bonded through dust and freezing night-time temperatures to secure not only the greatest number of laps (23) by any women’s team but also the top step in the 5-person Open Women’s category during the 2022 rendition of the race.
The team faced challenges ranging from mid-course crashes, freezing toes during the night laps, light failures, chronic injuries, first-time racing a mountain bike, and more, but we all kept pulling on our kit and showing up for our scheduled hand-offs, even if it meant dancing to stay warm in the transition area under a full moon and the blazing artificial lights of the timing tent.
A plan for the night laps was scribbled out on the side of a paper grocery bag, and alarms were set to ensure middle-of-the-night wake-ups. During the night, double laps were pulled by Hannah and Coral to allow others a longer break. Through it all, we helped each other recover after our laps, sometimes even cooking ramen in the middle of the night for a team member who was cold and exhausted after a double lap while preparing for our own upcoming lap.
With the return of daylight early on Sunday morning, Karle pulled a heroic double lap fueled by a mid-ride donut feed, and we all gathered around the finish line to welcome our final rider completing our final team lap (ridden by Hannah).
While our 5-person relay team was trucking along, our very own Linda was back in 2022 for her second attempt at the 24 hour solo race format. Linda started slow and steady during the hotter daylight hours, but then picked up the pace as darkness fell and rode thru the night (no naps) to finish 3rd overall in the Open Women category! This accomplishment took a year of planning and preparation to hone her fitness and a sustainable racing strategy.
Our full 5-person team nearly didn’t happen due to last minute covid cancellations, but a mutual friend (and former Spokeswomen team member) connected us with Hannah and Karlé of Fount Cycling to fill in last minute (massive thank you!) and bring us back up to full strength, simultaneously renewing our faith in the incredibly inclusive and supportive mountain biking community. Everyone that we encountered in the race was positive and supportive of each other, regardless of speed, category, or time of day.
Many thanks to Mudslinger Events for a fabulous event! We are already looking forward to our next 24-hour team relay event.