“5, 4, 3, 2, 1….. GO!!!!”
“Finally!” I exhaled as I started to sprint 500 meters in a crowd of other helmeted runners around me.
I had been waiting rather impatiently to hear this countdown. For the entire week before I had a gamut of emotions and feelings swirling within me.
“Why am I here again?” “Am I really cut out for solo racing?” “What if I crash?!?” “What if I get my ass handed to me?” “This is going to be so amazing” “I can’t believe I get to do this” “What if my bike breaks!?”
These were just a sampling of the thoughts that were going through my mind on a daily basis as I prepped for 24 Hour Wembo World Championships in Finale, Italy.
My very patient and amazing husband/teammate/coach/ father to my children would very calmly respond with a variation of the very famous (one of my favorites) quotes “oh babe, but what if you fly!?” “Chelsey” he said “you are more than ready for this, YOU chose to be here and we have so much amazing support!” “Now, go breathe and meditate.”
Almost immediately my breath would lengthen and my nerves would calm.
How does he know me so damn well!??? Oh yeah, we have been married for 11 eleven years, have been through the challenge of losing a son together, AND we have been adventure racing together for 15 years.
I also knew deep down that being nervous was not a bad thing. It meant I gave a shit, which is always a good thing for me. The more I care, the more passionate and focused I am.
After winning Nationals last July in Bend, OR, I got invited to come to World Championships. Mike the RD from the Bend 24 and Russel Baker from Wembo both encouraged me to come. And after looking it up and seeing that it was literally a few towns north of where our amazing Italian friends (with boys the same ages as our boys), I knew it was meant to be.
While it was dangerously close to Expedition Oregon, a very intensive 6 day race Jason and I put on together, both Jason and I were committed to making it all work. Two days after one of the most intense week of our lives (thanks to an incredibly epic and snowy race), Jason and I somehow boarded a plane with Max, Revel and my two bikes for Italy. Two days after we landed, we taught a three day acro intensive and 4 days after that, I raced World Championships while Jason enthusiastically coached and supported me for 24 hours straight.
As I sit here, I am still in a state of absolute awe of us. We F&$King did it. And while there is still a whole full summer of racing for both of us ahead of us, I am so grateful for what we have both already accomplished.
For those wondering about my race, I actually had an interview with GearJunkie and Bike Rumor that goes into a lot of the details. So instead of repeating myself, if you are interested, just click on them and get to reading! If your questions are not answered, please send me a message, I’m always happy to chat!
Spoiler: I won.
And for all of us “stat geeks” I listed my stats below:
Laps: 24 (11.7 km, 370 m vert)
Total Distance: 281 km
Vertical: 8880 M +~ (I completed a little over one Everest)
Average pit stop: 45 sec (varied from 5 sec – 5 min) Pit stop length increased for after lap 16 once I had a “comfortable” lead of an hour over 2x World Champion @ravaioligaia
Longest pit stop: 5 min (between lap 23 and 24 – taking it all in.
Hottest temperature: 100 degrees with 60% humidity (Yikes!)
Coldest temperature: 64 degrees (still felt hot!)
Bikes: 2 Ellsworth Bikes. Rode 23 of the laps on the new prototype Truth bike. Rode 1 lap on my Ellsworth Epiphany.
Mechanicals: 1 (shifting problem on the Truth from a sticky cable, took one lap to get it sorted)
Bike changes: 1
Litres of liquids consumed: 17 liters (most: 1.7 liters/lap; least: .3 liters/lap)
Food consumed: Four Hour Fuel 5 bags worth), 12 @spring_energy gels, 3 micro pancake wrapped bananas, 5 bites of pasta, 2 bites of fresh Foccacia bread, 10 gummy bears, 2 sips of coke, 1 cup of @lairdsuperfood instafuel, caffeine gum
Pit crew members: Jason Magness (with help from @willloevner crew)
Lights: Exposure lights
Farthest behind the leader: 10 min
In the lead: from 12 hours. Shared lead with Kait Boyle for a few laps at start of night, then held an increasing lead till finish.
Average lead of: Once I took the lead, it increased an average of 8min/lap
Favorite parts of the course: seeing the coast line at all times during the day and riding down through a pumping rave techno party full of excited fans all through the night.
Huge thank you to Russel Baker (Wembo Official World 24 H MTB Championship) for the invitation, to 24 Hours of Finale for an amazing, exciting and welcoming race, to Jason Magness for the incredible support before, during and after the event, and to Francesco and Valeria, our Italian hosts who graciously took our boys for 3 days so I could prepare, race and sleep for a night!
And of course, thank you so my sponsors and to everyone who donated to my go fund me. Your support from afar was felt and so appreciated!
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