24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest - short version
Wow. What a crazy day and super tough race at 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest. Congratulations to everyone who was out there and braved the wacky conditions. I took the plunge and raced solo in a stacked field, featuring former national champions in solo, duo and four women classes, as well as solo winners from 24 Hour Races around the country. It was a really close battle for the first 10 hours between the top three women, then the weather took over. Faced with lightening within a mile of the venue, heavy rain and rapidly deteriorating trails, the race was paused as of 10:26. Unfortunately, there were plenty of racers, including the top five solo women, still out on course. We all ended up donating a lap to the trail gods due to USAC rules. Then came the uncertainly as we waited to see what would happen. A 6:30am restart sent us back into the woods for the last 4.5 hours of racing. In the end, Nina Baum took first, I finished second and Rita Borelli was third. We all finished with 10 laps, plus our donation lap.
While the call to pause, drop the lap and restart the race will surely be controversial, I think given the conditions it was the best call. Would I like credit for my mud lap? Yes. But I also understand the reasons why it was dropped. It changed the dynamics of the race and altered the strategy of many racers. But the responsibility of the race director is to ensure the safely of everyone - racers, course volunteers and other support staff.
I'll have a full (and probably long) race report posted soon.