At 7:30 pm, after riding 409 miles (bonus miles included), braving over 28,000 feet of elevation gain, and living on the bike for 38 hours and 30 minutes (31 hours of actual riding time), we rolled into motel parking lot in Ithaca to the cheers of those waiting. We had made it with an hour and a half to spare. Matt arrived a half hour later. It was, without a doubt, the hardest ride I have ever done. Everything hurt, but in a satisfied way. In the check in room, there was pizza waiting and Mark gave us our prizes for finishing - a nice watch and a calculator/travel alarm clock, both with Quadzilla logo. I checked into my hotel room and got cleaned up. I had planned on hanging out and cheering the remaining riders in, but it turned out to be a while before everyone finished. The lack of sleep finally got the best of me and I crashed at 10:00 pm.
In the end, 23 riders started Quadzilla. Of those, 16 were able to finish, though two come in outside the 40-hour time limit. The fastest time was 32 hours, 40 minutes put in by three riders. The last rider finished at 46 hours, 40 minutes - a true example of perseverance. The majority of riders finished between 35 and 40 hours. Will I do this again? Definitely. I have already let Mark know that I plan on returned for Quadzilla 2007. Now that I know what to expect, I can better prepare myself. Maybe next year, I'll give into those delusions of grandeur.
I'll end with a quote from Jill Up in Alaska from her blog at http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/. It is reference to endurance mountain bike racers, but I think it can equally be applied here.
"People endure years of therapy to whittle their lives down to the stark truths that become second nature to trail-worn racers: That life is about understanding the essentials, sloughing off the excess and moving forward regardless. No matter what, you'll reach a finish. But the truly enlightened enjoy the ride."