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THE WILL TO OUTLAST THE COMPETITION HOW DOZENS OF BRUTAL MOUNTAIN BIKE RACES HAVE MADE ME A BETTER PERSON
When I started mountain biking in 2013, I was barely able to conquer even a simple 5-mile course. In my first race, I fell off my bike right at the end and almost died. Three or four months later, I was trudging through 30-, 40-, and 50-mile races, eventually making it through a 100-mile race by the end of the year.
of us who do these ludicrous races can go and go and go with little issue.
However, I’m less sure of what happens after that first half. After night falls and you hit 1 a.m., you can be sure that the monsters of fatigue and sleep are going to constantly remind you that you’ve been up for 18-plus hours and that it’s time for bed. But, like always, you have to keep going. Theoretically, the race could easily become more than a 200- mile trek for me. But every time we come back through the loop and finish a lap, there’s going to be that little campsite, calling to us, “Come sit down and take a break! It’s no big deal. You could get back out there. Just close your eyes for a little bit!” Later, that campsite will get even trickier, saying “You’ve done enough! Why go further? Look at all you’ve accomplished already!” The question is whether or not you can get past the doubt or the screaming instincts in your brain that implore you to get off the bike and quit. Every physical and mental challenge I’ve pushed through in my life has made me a better person, and ultimately, a better lawyer. When I’m in court and the judge is kicking my teeth in and the D.A. is throwing his own punches, I have to dig a little deeper into myself and find the will to fight just a little longer than they do. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from those hundreds of hours on the trails, it’s that you have to outlast the competition to succeed. Maybe that’s why I’m doing these crazy races, wearing my mind and body down to the barest wire. All I know is that I’ve got a race to train for.
As anyone who’s been following my newsletter can tell, mountain biking has become one of my truest passions over the last few years, as I’ve pushed myself through previously unthinkable feats of endurance and focus.
To be honest, it’s hard to explain — even to myself — what I’m chasing with these physical challenges. Is it really a physical test? Or is it more of a mental stress test? When will I reach the point where I finally have to give up and pack it in? Does that point even exist in the first place? With each literal mountain that I come up against on my bike, I get to know myself a little better. Believe me, in those races, everybody touches the boundaries of their personal mental walls. You question yourself: “Should I keep going? Is this too much? How much further?” On October 14, my willpower will be put to the ultimate test as I participate in a 24-hour mountain bike race called the 24 Hours of Halloween Race with Team Big Bear. We’ll start at 9 a.m. on Saturday and ride for a day and a night straight. The course is about 15 miles long, meaning we’ll loop endlessly until the 24 hours are up.
I know from personal experience that the first 12 hours will be more than doable. It might sound crazy to outsiders, but those
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