I was just a little trepidacious (is that a word?) about doing a 24 hour race as a pair, wasn't sure if my legs would explode as I hadn't really had a great build up to it. anyway, got down for about 7.30 on friday, parked up and went straight out to ride the course, partly to give my legs a loosener and partly to figure out the course and see if there were any easy sections where I could eat on the go. Bumped into SteveM, Mel & Shaggy setting up camp on my way round, which was handy and that's where I headed after my lap. Figured I'd be lapping in about 60 mins at pairs pace. Luckily me and Emily were in total agreement about strategy - 3 laps on, 3 laps off so we could get a decent rest between rides.
Had a couple of beers and went to bed about 1am.
It pissed it down for much of saturday morning, which didn't bode well, so I opted to use the back-up bike - Surly Karate Monkey (singlespeed being suposedly mud-proof). I started the race with the run and was near enough to the front to not get too badly held up at the first bit of singletrack and by the time I got to the 2nd bit of woods there wasn't really any hold ups at all. First lap in just under an hour and all seemed OK. 2nd lap was different though, the course was much more churned up now and the going was a bit slower. Washing out in the first bombhole didn't help (twisting the bars in the process) then the back wheel stopped turning while pushing up a hill - time to de-clag the sticky mud. Lap 3 was crash-free and I started to carry instead of push through the worst mud, picking mud off the bike as I walked. Then Emily went out for 3 laps and there was more rain.
It was 9.30 when I went out again and the course had deteriorated massively. good job I'd put a skinny CCX tyre on the back. Maybe. After walking virtually all the singletrack - which was now covered in about 4" of peanut butter mud - I got half way around in an hour. This was the opposite of fun and I was reconsidering the 3 lap strategy. After a load more walking I was thinking "fuck this!". Riding bikes is good, endurance events are good, I'll quite happily take myself into a world of pain and exhaustion either on foot or on a bike. Note the 'or' in that last sentance. Bikes are for riding, I have next to no interest in pushing bikes unless there's a reward for the misery (e.g. Snowdon). And while I'm here, I'd like to add that running or riding myself into the ground in Wales, Scotland, Yorkshire, the Alps or Colorado beats the shit out of truding across potato fields in middle englandshire where the views extend to the gravel pits, the container distribution centre and the power station. This was the kind of conclusion I reached in these 2 hours. Can't say I reached a low point or anything, I just decided I couldn't be arsed with such an unsatisying venture. So I finished that lap and had a beer. It was bad. I think I must have passed about 30 people with bikes in various states of fuckedness - most geared bikes seemed to be dying. I heard later that the Shimano boys were fitting 15 rear mechs an hour - which is bonkers.
Emily took it all with good grace and resolved that she'd go out for some laps in the morning. I took a cold shower and downed some more beers with Mel, Shaggy, Steve, Chris and Schali and gave encouragement to Jac in her solo effort.
Had breakfast with Schali, Chipps & Emily and eventually Emily went out for some laps. At this point I had no interest in going out again, but guilt got the better of me and after emily's 2nd lap I went out at 12.30 for another (final) lap. Got back in about 15 mins before the 2pm cut off and Emily took the glory lap, which was fine with me.
So, after taking 10 hours off, we finished 5th! I think a lot of people just quit altogether - broken bikes would have accounted for a lot of riders. Don't think I'll be back to 'ride' it again. Courses like that don't stand up in the wet. In the UK it tends to rain quite often. I'll took for more intersting events next year.
2 years later
5 years ago