Kyle, the wife and I did the 3 up coed at Baker's Dozen yesterday. We were complete rookies at this whole marathon thing. There is a whole level of organization and prep and equipment that you need to do if you really want to do well, none of which we had. We were winging it but we rode well and had a ball.
The plan was to do one lap shifts and exchange at the tent. I did the first lap, and got an incredible start from a mediocre stage spot. At one point I'd worked up to 10th (I think around 200 people started at once), and was riding just like I totally belonged there. Crazy. Then I lost my left contact lens and had to do most of the first lap, as they say, blind. Miraculously, I only ran into a few obstacles and only dropped down to like 25th. Disorientated and, as they say, blind, I completely misread the handoff situation and that was an adventure that cost us tons of time. Then Kyle lost a contact lens too. This hasn't happened to either of us since forever. What the fuck, over?
The missus righted the ship while I installed a spare lens and Kyle went in search of a solution - he didn't have a spare. My second shift was a double lap to give Kyle time to get his George HW Bush approved "vision thing" back on track, and oddly those were both really fast laps for me. We established ourselves in 4th behind Sue Haywood's team and had a bunch of teams somewhat close behind.
During your "off" shift, you really don't wind up having that much time. You eat, drink, toilet, check your bike, try to convince your body to keep working, and then go again. In a blink, you are back at it.
We had about half of the lighting horsepower that we needed for the nocturnal segments so we skipped our last lap and must have sunk like a stone in the standings for that. Oh well, it was a great effort for a first shot at this kind of thing (I say first shot as though there will be a second - that is highly questionable) and we had a ball.
Here's why you race mountain bikes by the way: there comes a point while you are racing where you would much sooner kill yourself than brake and give away free speed/momentum. When you come out the other side having not killed yourself, you're better than you were before. In one of these marathon deals, you do that time and time and time and time again and wow you really step your game up. That doesn't happen when you don't have a number on.
All told I did 7 laps, rode 56 miles of singletrack at race pace, and feel like I got hit by a bus. Now I am off to try and race the 1/2/3 at Dolan - my star turn on yougotdropped awaits.