Randy Wegener, left, passes a cliff face on the WEMS Buzzard Buster course at Levis Mound near Hatfield, Wisconsin. PHOTO BY JORDAN SCHOTZ
Randy Wegener, left, passes a cliff face on the WEMS Buzzard Buster course at Levis Mound near Hatfield, Wisconsin. PHOTO BY JORDAN SCHOTZ
I was a goner. Eight hours into the 12-hour race it was time to load up the bike. The 2007 South Kettles Classic was a race that took me to school. 

On the second lap, I learned the hard way that a half eaten Powerbar will melt in its wrapper on a hot summer day. Nevertheless I struggled with the bewildering wad of mylar and goo while descending the singletrack at speed. One must eat before one is hungry in order to survive a 12-hour race, that much is true. But what one ought not to do is launch oneself head-over-heels into the brush in the process of eating.  

The friendly fellows I was cruising with made sure I was in one piece before they flew on by. I was able to rejoin them, still running in the top four. But as the laps wore on, my right knee was speared with sharp pain with greater and greater frequency until I finally sat down on a cooler and called it a day.

The day began inauspiciously when, four hours from home, I locked the keys in the car. As I turned lap after lap, my adopted pit crew updated me on the progress of a mechanic’s attempts to retrieve the keys from inside my Saturn.

 But for hours my car remained locked and my knee became more and more distressed. To this day the sight of an unattended set of keys within a vehicle’s enclosure will give me fits of paranoia. Seven years later I still have the same car and would not shed a tear if forced to use a rock to liberate my keys.   

My crew heard of my crash and advised me that a 10-minute rest might do me some good. They handed me twice the recommended dose of ibuprofen. I was reminded of a tolerable country song that was big at the time: “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

Results may vary
This first rule of Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series (WEMS) racing is that songs get stuck in your head for hours. After 10 minutes I was off like a live wire and to my surprise I was as good as new, even though I was 15 minutes out of second place. 
 
The entirety of Chris Schotz' preview of the 2014 WEMS season appears in the April 2014 print edition of Silent sports magazine. To order a copy, call 888/706-4045. Or subscribe online here.