This summer I signed up and completed the Iron Maiden Chainbuster 24 hour team race in Alabama! We had record breaking heat in the feels like temps of 109 and evening thunderstorms that made for an interesting race but we survived and had so much fun! Our team was made up of all Sorellas: Saskia Marietta Hoppe , Chris Shepherd Walkerwicz, and Hannah Stacey! My husband, Joseph Grimes, and my dog Jada were our awesome Pit Crew Extraordinaires! I wanted to give you a quick preview of our experience and for this blog, I’m going to divide the race into two 12 hour groups.
The first 12 hours of the 24hr Iron Maiden MTB race:
It was HOT, HOT, HOT!
Staying cool was the name of the game for the first half of the race! We filled pantyhose with a ton of ice and rode with it down our jerseys, stood (or danced ) in the water spigot then sat in front of fans, took a bazillion cold showers, attempted to get the newly bought AC for the van to work in 109 feels like temps, got soaking wet from head to toe before jumping on the bike, raced slower than we typically would, and only rode when our bodies felt ok with the heat (which meant I finished my lap at 1130am and didn't ride again til the evening ). It was quite the hot experience.
Darcy Grimes, Saskia Hoppe, and Hannah Stacy discussing race strategy.
The last 12 hours of the 24 Iron Maiden MTB Race:
Thunderstorms, race delay, a baby deer being born, and lots of coffee.
It started storming about 5 min after Chris went out for her evening lap. The race was paused but we had no idea and Chris pedaled through it. The race started back up in a mass start at 745. I really liked this lap because it had a beautiful sunset at the beginning and then we were a looong train of lights going through the dark for about 6.5 miles. It was pretty cool.
We then took turns throughout the night, sleeping when we could and riding when we wanted to. I learned that I LOVE racing at night and ended up doing most of my laps in the middle of the night. I was excited to do a double lap between 1-3am and found the cold coffee (thanks Joseph!) ginger ale, and freshly made ice pantyhose to be refreshing. (Yes, I still rode with all the ice even in the middle of the night! ) When I finished my double, Saskia went out for hers. She pulled a double and brought us into the morning. Then I went back out for our final lap to finish the race.
After the race Hannah Stacey found out several racers were stopped on the trail between 3-4am for a baby deer to be born on the trail.
Darcy getting ready for a night lap.
All in all this was an amazing race! The BEST team (and pit crew), great xc trails, and the adventure experience of doing a 24 made for a perfect experience! Would I do another one with this team... absolutely! I just request cooler temps!
Darcy, Saskia, Chris, and Hannah