Team Spring Athlete Chelsey Magness is on fire right now! After a stellar performance at the Wembo Mountain Bike 24 Hour World Championships, Chelsey is now the 2022 World Champion after 23 hours and 16 minutes of non-stop riding. Shortly after this win in Finale, Italy, Chelsey then won the 5-day Endless Mountains Adventure Race with her teammates from Bend Racing. This expedition race took place in the wilds of Pennsylvania and consisted of top notch teamwork, navigation, and communication skills. Chelsey has proven her elite athletic ability to these sports in both the solo and team divisions.
Chelsey first started mountain biking when she was 17 years old, but didn’t get into racing until she was 26. Although training is pretty much year around for her, she didn’t start training specifically for the 24 hour Italy race until after the 5-day Panama Expedition race in February. Wembo (World Endurance Mountain Biking Organization) was founded in 2011 by Russel Baker and three other founding members. Their mission was “To create a predictable, regular and reliable set of quality world-wide events in which the World's best 24 hour mountain bikers can test themselves against each other at the highest level.” There is no need for participants to qualify for this event, however it is considered highly competitive in the endurance mountain bike world. Chelsey explains, “24 hour mountain bike racing has been around for a long time and the people who do it are generally pretty die hard. It’s not usually something just anybody can jump into, so the athletes who make this their thing have been putting a lot of effort, time, and training into it for a long time.”
With this race being held in Finale, Italy, there is definitely a list of logistics that need to be worked out for travel. With two kids and two bikes in tow, it took Chelsey and her husband 28 hours to fly to the Northern Italian coast, followed by a drive to the small town of Finale, which really became a huge part of the race itself. Finale is primarily known for its climbing, but now thanks to races like the 24 Hour Finale, it is becoming more known for its incredible mountain bike trails. The course includes a variety of tight technical turns, a flowy, fast and fun downhill, a long road climb that leads into a steep technical climb, and a fun section with huge banking turns that is often lined with a huge crowd of screaming Italians. Every lap is 11.7 km with 370 m of vert. Chelsey finished her race with 24 laps, or 282 km and biked just over one Mt Everest, or 8,880 meters in elevation.
Chelsey had many goals going into this event, such as riding her own race, staying steady and strong, and to not feel the pressure from other riders. She strategized to play to her strengths and trust in her abilities to ramp up slowly and keep the fire burning. Nutrition for an endurance event like this is critical yet simple. She combined several Spring gels along with her own 4-Hour Fuel drink mix creation and water each lap. Towards the twelve hour mark she began to eat more substantial foods such as mini pancakes, bananas, focaccia and bites of pasta. It is tricky to find the balance between not eating too much and eating enough to fuel your body, but Chelsey nailed her nutrition during this race and never felt like bonking or experienced any GI issues.
In addition to having her nutrition on point, other factors during this race that went well for Chelsey were her bike (which only had a slight shifting problem), being able to push through hot temps, and digging deep for a strong finish, despite having a fatigued body the last four hours. Her mantra on the course was to “trust the process and all is coming.” With the support of her husband, kids, family and friends, just a few weeks later she was able to toe the line again at the Endless Mountains Adventure Race.
Chelsey and Team Bend Racing took on this adventure race filled with mountains, wildlife, water crossings and very rugged and rocky terrain beginning June 20th. The team had 5 days to complete the 342 mile course, which included expertise in paddling, climbing, trekking and biking in some of Pennsylvania's most remote forests. They worked as a team to overcome both physical and mental challenges such as overland navigation, primitive terrain and drastic weather changes. In the end Team Bend raced for 110 hours on only 4 hours of sleep. They spent 90 miles on foot, 80 miles of paddling, and 180 miles of biking, for a total of 350 miles.