2nd at the 24 Hours of Moab


Field was about 30 or so deep, the weather the week before was rained filled and patted down the typically dusty conditions. After not sleeping much the night before the race and waking up to misty rain conditions, I made my way out to the venue.

As race time neared, the conditions bettered. The clouds cleared the dust gun and the field lined up on the start line for the Le Mans style running start. ¼ mile round trip around the sage brush and to your bike, down the road aways and onto the course.


Gun goes off, everybody starts running and I have my typical horrible run but quickly make up some ground once on my bike.


I am in the top 15-20 riders going into the first section of single track. Not many riders are near me and I pick off a few here and there along the miles and a few catch me. I log in my first lap and am somewhat surprised to find out I am sitting in 3rd after having what I thought was a decent lap.

I make a quick stop for refueling and made my way out for my second lap.

Chasing and chasing, I was staying steady but not gaining much. As I came through on my 2nd lap I overheard the announcer saying that the two solo leaders were together. It was going to be tough to pull back one rider, let alone two working as one.

I chase and chase, and finally I catch one of the riders as he bobbled on one of the rock sections on the 4th or 5th lap. He’s looking a little fatigued from the pace and I push on but the lead rider still eludes me. He would eventually finish 3rd on the day.

Temperature was cooler all during the raced hitting maybe in the mid 60’s during the day, but the night was setting in and temperature would start dropping. Little did I know it would go as low as it did.


Lights came on and the gap to the lead rider was going in the wrong direction as he was putting time into me on each lap. The remaining pack of riders were in our wake and by about 8pm’ish or so, we had lapped most of the field – only 4 rider remained on the same lap as us.


The laps ticked off, we made battery changes and put on extra clothing, but at about 2am and 30 degrees I was freezing my arse, hands and feet off. Duct tape on my shoes, neoprene on my hands, thicker hat on my head and a windstopper vest went on.


On the next lap, I find out the lead rider stopped. I later find out his light burned out and he was going hypothermic and stopped.


I continue on, now in the lead.

I push on, riding at the same effort but my back is hurting me and my wrists are in bad shape all from some earlier falls as I stuff some heater packs into my back pocket for warmth and to loosen up my tightening back muscles.


Two laps later, the rider I was chasing previously now catches me and regains the lead from me. After warming up and getting some new batteries, he rides past me at a fast pace that I cannot match.


Only a lap two later and the lights came off – which feels like a huge lift off my back. By this time I had lapped the entire field except the lead rider and had locked up 2nd.

I pushed on in chase of 1st, but the gap was staying steady. I was starting to count down the laps.


As the laps rolled on and the finish time neared, the gap to first was nearing 11am and the gap back to 3rd was nearing the lap and ½ mark. As I came in at near 11am after 23 hours, I called it a day and would finish out 2nd on the day.


Not the result I had hoped, but my nutrition was dead on and the asthma meds were awesome as I had no breathing issues at all for the first time in 4 years at Moab.

Huge thanks goes out to my support crew for getting me through the event and for my 2011 sponsors – could not have done it without you!

Ernesto out

1 comment:

Levelheadsteve said...

Great job Ernie!