BaseCamp alum Karoline Droege shared her experience at the Nine and a Half Hours of Disco race in Salmon, Idaho.
I travelled to Salmon, ID, last weekend to race in the 9 1/2 Hours of Disco mountain bike race. This used to be a 12-hour race that I always did as a duo. With the "shortened" time format this year, I decided to race solo. This was a B/C event for me, so Coach Kate Roxanne turned my weekend into a block weekend with long (3-4 hours) rides on the day before and the day after the race. The course was a 10-mile single-track loop with a little over 1000 feet of climbing per lap. Weather was hot, the trail was dry and dusty, and we had smoke from a fire in Alberta causing moderate levels of air pollution. All that aside, it was a ton of fun, a small but well-run event that raises funds for local trails. I had a goal of riding consistently for the entire day and managing my hydration and nutrition; this is often my downfall. After 8h44m of racing, I finished my eighth lap and didn't have enough time left on the clock to do a ninth lap. Mentally I was ready to be done; physically, my hands were blistered and my feet hurt like mad. I lost feeling a strength in my left hand and was starting to make silly technical errors on the trail. My legs felt pretty good, and I had a little gas left in the tank, which felt good. I ended up winning the women's race by two laps and being sixth overall in the entire solo field. I learned a lot about fueling and the importance of eating and drinking even more than I thought I needed. And next time I'll ride with some padded gloves and bigger shoes!