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A Six-Hour Vision Quest

By Matthew Nourmohamadian

Matt on trail It was finally that morning, the morning I had been waiting to happen for months. I woke up, jumped out of bed and realized my hand had swelled up so bad I could not move it. I was very worried because I was stung by a bee and the swelling on my hand did not come down enough for me to ride for two days. So I threw some ice on it, threw on my Warriors jersey and jumped in the car with my bike.

When I arrived at the Flying B Ranch my hand was better but I still couldn't grip the bars very well. Definitely not enough to ride "Jackknife" on the Warriors Trail. So after discussing my situation with Chris Vargas he advised me to switch to the Novice Course; at the last minute I ran over to the start.

When the race started I sprinted to my bike and kind of one handed rode to the first climb. The first climb was somewhat awkward but my hand was slowly getting better. When I arrived at the drop on the Novice Coarse I worried for my safety. I wasn't sure if I could hold on tight enough even though my hand was a lot better. I went down and I was fine. Between there and the loop before the last climb my hand improved a lot and I could ride as if nothing happened to my hand.

It was a great relief and I was having a blast. My recovery was great. Life was great. My theory is that all the blood went to my legs because I was working hard. After my second lap I started eating frequently and didn't stop till the six hours was up. I was having so much fun and felt very strong throughout the race.

After my fourth or fifth lap I took a 10 or 15 minute break and took off with Chris Vargas, who rode with me, on the my next lap. During that break my legs relaxed and that was my longest most leg burning lap of all, I still felt very strong but I was starting to feel it.

Those next few laps were a battle between my brain and the lactate acid in my legs. My cardio was still in great shape thanks to my Cross Country running; but I was still having fun just as much as the first few laps. I came up on my seventh lap and I ate an orange by Bob and Tink, the course marshals on the back side of the course. I talked with them a few seconds and told them I would see them one more time on my eight and final lap.

I would like to thank all of the volunteers on course for their support. After I finished my seventh lap I had an hour and fifteen minutes left and I said I'm just going to pull off one more lap nice and easy. I rode up the last turn of the last climb and I remember that little bump on the turn felt like Dreaded Hill at Whiting to go up.

Then I hammered up the last climb and had a great time on the downhill and returned with twenty-eight minutes to spare. When I got my eight laps punched on my card, I said to myself "I did it". Then I downed a bar and sipped on some fluids and reflected on what I had accomplished.

Life was good. I'd like to thank Tim and Sherry Panttaja, the owners of Switchback Cyclery, and the Warrior's Society for putting on a great event - and all of the volunteers for making it possible. I also want to thank Suzziane for giving me an anti-histamine to help with the swelling on my hand from the sting.

I definitely want to get into this kind of racing; time to take tomorrow off and get training for the Vision Quest.


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