Tuesday, 14 May 2013

19hr champs

Right put kids in bed a cup of tea in hand and a plate of buttered malt loaf, it must be time for a blog.
Saturday saw my third attempt at the Euro/UK 24hr hour champs. The first, '11, was my rookie 24hr and I was reasonably pleased with 16th.
Last year after attempting far too many events and a painful Strathpuffer solo effort a few months before, led to a very disappointing 21st.
So this winter just gone, I didn’t race, just spent months training with a couple of Duathlons thrown in and a tapered three months of training up to last week.
The general advice from fellow 24hr riders who had seen me racing was to slow down and think of the whole race.
So Saturday midday came there we were at the start line at Wasing Estate with a mere 24hrs of riding ahead.
I went off slow and let all the 12hrs riders do their thing and I plodded on, resisting the testosterone urges to chase the riders who passed me by.
All going well and about 10 laps in I was 10th, the top ten for me would have been a result so I was happy to plod on and try to consolidate this.
Then as the light faded and the heavens opens (I had planned for a shower, but not what followed) thinking this was just a shower, I didn’t pit, I just thought an opportunity to put a extra lap on my rivals as they sat it out or changed clothing.
This, I now know, was a disastrous move! Lap 1 of the shower I was cold and wet but the second I started to freeze and my body felt like it was shutting down and I started to wobble on the bike.
I came into the pit and realised it was the early stages of hypothermia and I had no choice but to get off the bike change and warm up before it got worse.
So fresh clothes and then in the car with the heater on full, a cup of tea, a pot noodle and wrapped in a space blanket and a tent groundsheet.
The hours past and I was in and out of a semi sleep state, then around 2am (five hours later) I decided to try another lap with some kindly borrowed waterproofs and some improvised plastic bags in my sodden Sidis (the worst thought of getting back out was the idea of putting them on again).
So after the first lap I felt ok and continued to knock a few more out incident free apart from a slowly deflating tyre which had to be pumped every few hours, low pressures weren’t a bad thing in the mud.
My carbon bottle cage broke and I replaced that but then around 4am going down a very muddy switchback my chain jammed and once I stopped to look I realised the rear mech hanger and rear mech had bent beyond repair.
This was about a mile into the seven mile lap, so I pushed the bike around the rest of the lap, all the time time thinking right im going to get the singlespeed out and MTFU and keep going.
And that I did, and another consistent 7 or so laps done on the singlespeed and finished right on the nail around 11:45am.
All this had led to a 8th position overall and I was happy with my effort to say the least, as it was the worst race I had ever had for issues, but also my best ever result/effort.
That’s the great thing about 24hr racing when it seems like its all over it probably isn’t and with some grit and determination you can still claw back as result even in the remaining hours.

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