No no…it’s not about that. Get your mind out of the gutter. Although, *that* would make for an interesting story.
(24HoB), as the name implied, is a 24 hours event in which the participants can ride their bicycle for the duration fundraising for cancer research with a strong tied to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. You can read more about the history here.
The following is how my 24 hours went…
I arrived on-site (Bootyville) a little after 2pm to setup a pop-up tent for my group. Keeping in mind the camp group did NOT open until 2pm, I was somewhat surprised how many people were already there. Good real estate was going fast so I was glad I showed up when I did. Afterward, I went to check in at the “host” hotel, Marriott Courtyard Charlotte SouthPark. The hotel is around 3 miles away so in theory you can rde your bike to Bootyville. But I decided against the idea simply because I was not prepared to travel light…I had too much crap to transport.
I returned to Bootyville around 4 and found the place to be absolutely ALIVE with activities. There was music blasting over the loud speakers, a film and photo crew were walking around taking in the scenes and the campground was nearing capacity. Around 6pm, Spencer Lueders, founder of 24HoB, got on stage to do the event kick-off. Shortly after, the annoucer asked everyone to begin “staging” to the start/finishline. Being new to the event, I thought his watch must have been set to a different timezone; The event schedule said 7pm start, but it’s only 6pm. Needless to say, when we saundered over to the start/finish at 6:50pm, we found ourselves at the back of the bus — there were ~1200 other cyclist there hence the early staging. Not a huge issue, just meant the first few laps will be slooooow.
Before the event, I had some reservations about riding in a 3 miles loop. How many can I ride before I’m bored?! The answer, not enough. I rode 100 miles (or 33 laps) if that tells you anything. The route is a nonstop roller coaster (see elevation) ….huge suprise, it is NOT FLAT! The inclines are not steep nor long, but will wear on you over time. Also, you will not get the same look of the course twice because of the crowds lining the streets like a giant block party (which it was the first few hours) and the different cyclists around you might require a different line each time. In addition, light condition is ever changing as the 24 hours progresses — a corner you took at speed an hour ago might be too dark to see the exit an hour later. To make things even more interesting, the organizer used social media, specifically Twitter to perfection. They continuously tweet via the #24HoB hashtag with photos, vidoes of the course and vidoes of interviews you might not see even if on-site. Excellent way to keep the momentum through the 24 hours.
Last but not the least, the support staff were incredible. Detail oriented, super friendly, always accessible and I honestly think some of them worked all 24 hours. They had food and beverages out throughout the 24+ hours. Oh! They even had a stash of ice cream sandwiches in a hidden cooler. Definitely hit the spot at 1am! However, nothing can ever be perfect. My biggest complaint is the lack of COLD water. There were plenty of cold beverages — various flavors of powerade, flavored vitamin water, NOS (think redbull) — but all I wanted was cold water. All that sugary drinks gave me a head buzz that “crashing” was ineviatable. Crashed I did at around 2pm Saturday. The sugar crash left me completely useless. It was somewhat appropriate since I got to Bootyville at 2pm the day before…so that was my 24 hours. Time to go home.
Speaking of going home, on a completely unrelated topic, during my 5 hours drive home I stopped for gas in Oxford, NC off of I-85. During my brief visit at their BP gas station, I learned that a) I did not belong in that town because I was too courteous (I will leave it at that) b) Oxford, NC or may be that specific gas station is the only place I know that sells individual cigarettes individually. As in, why buy a pack when you can buy one “stick” at a time. Any who….
All in all the event was a BLAST. It was probably the most fun I’ve had at any bike event in a long long time. So much fun that my friends are talking about doing the Columbia, MD edition later in the year.