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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Julie Kelly - Another 24 Hours in the Books

We are always excited to hear and share the success stories from our athletes, and Julie Kelly's last 24 hour race was an impressive one. Check out her race report below.

"It has been an extremely early biking season in BC, riding dry single track since February! So good to be getting miles in on the dirt.

Two weeks prior to this race headed out to Salmon Arm, BC for the 6 hour Salty Dog race. It was a hot and dusty one. I was pumped to get 8 laps in and take the win for Solo Women overall. Eighty-four kilometres on some technical terrain was a good training block. 

 Mmmmm Apple Pie!

Headed out to Rossland a few days before the race with fellow 24 hour racer and friend Ryan, to hang out with our coach. We had some good times on the trails, enjoyed some great coffee and of course had a few laughs.

We arrived in Spokane Friday to set up the pit and get a pre race lap in. The course was in good shape. There was a new section of single track added after Strawberry Fields. It was super fresh and would be very dusty and slow race day.

Made our way to my favourite Huckleberry's to stock up on food and beverages. Then it was back to the hotel to finish the race prep.

Race day was clear and it was going to be a hot one! Finished setting up the pit and getting everything sorted. We were unsupported so lights, layers and bottles of Infinit Nutrition were all ready to go. The morning always goes fast and before you know it's time to line up at the start. I got to the front of the line for the run. The gun went off and it was go time. A short run then on to the bike to start the 15 mile loop. Of course the first lap is always a little crazy but it did space out towards the back end of the course. Back to the pit in good time, grabbed a bottle of Infinit and back out to do it all again. 

Ryan and I ready to go!

Start of the lap

After a few laps the heat was definitely starting to take a bit of a toll so decided to slow the pace. I didn't want to slow down too much, knew things were tight between myself, Jari Kirkland and Chelsey Magness.

Grabbing sips of water along with my Infinit every lap seemed to help with the hydration. With the heat it was key to have proper fuel. I was confident that my Infinit would get my through.

Things were moving along pretty good and it was time to mount lights. I kept the stop pretty quick grabbing lights and gave chain a quick lube. When I rolled into the pit next lap Amber, Ryan's partner was there. She had completed a running race in Canmore and then drove all the way to Spokane. Wow what a girl! It was nice surprise to see a familiar face.

Next lap, I put on some layers and had a quick chat with Amber. She said I was doing well and thought  I was 2nd. I wasn't really sure as I knew Jari and I were battling it out back and forth. I didn't know where Chelsey was sitting.

I just kept trying to push through during the night enjoying the cooler temperatures. The dust was pretty bad and it was tricky at times to see with it reflecting off the lights. I stopped a couple of laps and  wiped my eyes with a wet cloth.

There is always one lap where you wonder what the hell you are doing and if you are going to be able to continue. For me it was the lap just before the sun came up. Amber & I struggled getting my arm warmers over my watch and transponder, LOL. It was a team effort to lube the chain, one rotating the crank and one applying lube. In my blurry state I had to ask if the lube was actually coming out ;-)?

That next lap was a little better and I was ready to take layers off and get rid of my lights. From that lap on was starting to feel pretty good and lap times were getting faster. I was in 3rd and just had to keep on riding. Easy right?!  I asked about 4th but was told no concern there. I ran into a female Solo rider the next  lap and she said was battling for 4th or 5th.

On my last lap Amber passed me a bottle and said I had to go right away as 4th was on me. I was in shock! Took off like a crazy person and was riding as fast as I could looking over my shoulder from time to time. I was going over the conversation I had with the Solo girl who said she had completed 13 laps. I was on 17. Hugh?!! A guy did a brutal pass on the new single track section and took me down. I was annoyed but no time to get too excited, had to get back on my bike and get to the finish!

In the end it turns out 4th was close but I was 3 laps up. Oh well, it's always a good test to see what is left in the tank at the end. I guess there was still a bit ;-). Wow, what a challenging race with the heat and a very competitive women's field. I took 3rd with a total time of 24:17:52 (huge improvement over last year's time), 17 laps, and 410 kilometres. Ryan won for Solo men overall!

Solo Women
It was amazing to have some Fernie friends cheering me on into the wee hours of the night! As well, the other racers and volunteers really get into it creating an amazing vibe. It really is the little things that make a difference when you are out there alone struggling with the mental and physical challenges. Dreaming of the podium wine is also helpful ;-).


Thank you to Amber, Coach Shaun, Infinit Nutrition, Specialized and of course my family for supporting me. I could not have done it without you! I look forward to the next adventure."

Good luck on the rest of your season, Julie!