Posted: July 30, 2019
After an epic couple of travel days, a few rest days and meeting new and old friends, Cory has a race of a lifetime. Defending his title and claiming his 3rd world 24 hour mountain bike champion title. Excerpt below taken from his website, to read the full story on Cory’s Brazilian experience check out the story on his site at The Road to Brazil and the 24 HR World Champs ??
The race kicked off at high noon in the heat of the Brazilian day with nearly 300 of us running around a 400 M track before picking up our bikes and heading out onto the 29.3 km course. Running in carbon soled bike shoes is one of the best ways to end a bike race before it starts so I took it easy and soon found myself way back in the masses as people sprinted by with there elbows up high. I was tempted to go into hockey mode and lay out some of the more aggressive runners but decided to channel that energy into the bike later on as these 24 hour races require all the energy one can muster. After the run I could just get a glimpse of Brazil’s marathon Champion Mario Verissimo as he sprinted away like it was a 1 lap race. On paper Mario was one of the riders to watch but it was a relief to see him ride so hard on the first lap as I figured he’d blow himself up at that pace. I still had to put in a small effort to catch up to last years runner up, Taylor Lideen from the USA, which was an important move so we could work together on the roadie style course and keep Mario and the other riders in check.
The next 5 hours rolled by pretty fast as Taylor and I set a steady pace and slowly reeled in the Brazilians who set off on flyers at the start of the race. The course was interesting with the first 2-3 km on twisting single track down by an amazing Brazilian waterfall in a jungle before climbing out of a ravine and onto a fast double track section through open farmland. The final 7 km of the course was on a false flat pavement climb back into town and then we’d have to dodge Brazilian traffic as we maneuvered through the backstreets of Costa Rica MS back to the race venue. The biggest challenge for my Canadian blood was the heat of the Brazilian sun as it was beating down hard on the open course with temperatures reading in the low thirties. My tactic was to keep it mellow until the sun went down and then start to rev the engine as I’ve found one of the the best ways for me to lose a race is to over cook the system in these warm environments.
As darkness set in we had word that we were getting close to the race leader so I went to the front on the only sustained climb on course and put in a small effort to test Taylor who was riding strong. Surprisingly he dropped back pretty quickly so I kept on the gas and put in a couple solid laps. Thinking Taylor was right on my ass, I was in attack mode, but then received word that he was a lap behind as he had to pull over due to a nerve issue in his leg. This was unfortunate news, but it meant the race was now between Brazilians champ Mario and myself. Mario was still suffering from his early attacks so I was able to put in a couple more solid laps to stretch the gap to nearly 45 minutes before midnight. My pit crew tried to get me to slowdown a bit and take a breather but I was pretty keen to keep the momentum going and get the lead to a comfortable 1 hour before letting my guard down at all. It was a weird situation to be in as the race was in our hands, but mentally I had to stay engaged for another 10 hours, as alot can still happen over that time.
From 2 am onwards I toned it down a bit, keeping a steady pace but taking longer pit breaks and really just cruising around to eat up the time and stay out of trouble. It was a good feeling to have, but in the past I have had trouble with my eyes fogging up and some stomach issues so there were still a few x-factors that could derail the effort.
Thankfully everything worked out and at 11:13 am I finished my 16th lap and got word that no one could catch me any more and that the race was over. Mentally and physically I was ready for a 17th lap, but being told it was not necessary I decided to stop early as there was no reason to do another lap except to rub it in my competitions face a little. This I didn’t think was necessary so instead it was game over and I could soak in the atmosphere of winning a 3rd straight 24 HR World Title! It seemed a bit surreal to have a 3rd title in the bag already as it seemed like just yesterday I was winning my first one in Italy back in 2017.