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Mountain biker ascents ridge from Vail Lake

2008 Suzuki 24 Hour Series webcast
Women's Solo class

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Laps completed 5 Time of report (PDT) 8:36 p.m.
Namrita O'Dea leading the race
Namrita O'Dea at about 4:30 p.m.

Eddie O'Dea's Better Half

While Men's Solo ace Eddie O'Dea was duking out the podium places, and holding onto second, his wife, Namrita, was duking out the podium places and holding onto first.

A much-improved Shanna Armstrong kept the pressure on during the early laps, and was arguably the stronger of the two on the climbs. But when it came to the descents, Namrita pulled away every time.

And she has been taking less time off the bike at the end of each lap than the chatty Texan, who is given to socializing with race staff, sponsors, and spectators in between laps.

At the end of five laps, O'Dea held almost an hour's lead over Armstrong. Armstrong, a relative newcomer to mountain biking, is still not comfortable riding at night and lost 30 minutes on the first after-dark lap.

Laps completed 5 Time of report (PDT) 8:40 p.m.

Armstrong is strong on the climbsphoto credit

Climbing Well, but is She Here to Win it?

"No!" Is the categorical answer from the four-time ultra-man world champion, and 2006 Race Across America winner.

Could she win it? That is hard to say. Placed second in the early laps, she looks very good. According to Shanna, and we got plenty of time to chat casually with her between laps, she is here to add to her experience with mountain bike races and to prepare for the Badwater Ultramarathon - a 535-mile foot race from Death Valley to Mt Whitney in July.

From her own reports, she cannot keep up with Namrita O'Dea, but she gains a lot of time on the climbs. On lap two, Shanna had a spectacular endo, and thankfully was able to continue racing - albeit with a sore left hip.

As the night wears on, Shanna's ultra sports experience might stand her in good stead... or in her second attempt at nighttime mountain biking she might find the going gets very tough.

UPDATE: After two falls in one lap, in both of which she landed on the same part of her left femur, Shanna Armstrong quit the race at about 9 p.m.

Laps completed 11 (final tally) Time of report Sunday, 3:47 p.m.

Namrita Wins It

With Shanna Armstrong out of the race, Namrita O'Dea continued unopposed. By sunrise she had such a big lead that she was able to end her race at 9 a.m., having completed 11 laps. Second was Terri Wahlberg with 10 laps, and third went to Liz Baumgardt-Kays at eight laps.

For O'Dea, who was competing in her eighth 24, this could turn out to be a critical win. "I think I have a chance for the series overall. I'm not sure who else is doing the whole series, but I think I have a chance," she said.

Of the race, Namrita found it tough going. "It was very challenging with the heat. But I monitored my pace and my nutrition and hydration, and was able to remain constant through the night. Even though it was not a high mileage race, there was a lot of climbing and with the heat it was very tough."

The O'Deas
Eddie and Namrita O'Dea


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