Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Bristol mud fest

The past weekend was Bristol bike fest, the first big target of the year, and an important weekend for the team in our ‘home’ race.

Rob, Dave and myself were all entered for the 12h solo race. We practiced the course on Friday evening in lovely dry conditions, however minutes after we stopped the heavens opened. It was going to be a wet one!

So the following morning we all lined up in the pouring rain preparing for battle. The start was delayed by 30minutes due to traffic issues so the race turned out to be an 11h30min Enduro.

Off the line I managed to keep upright and avoid the flying limbs in the Le Mans start. I picked up my bike in the top twenty and was off. I soon found the leader of the solo category and tried to stay on his wheel. His pace was too hard for me on the climbs so I eased up a little and told my self he’d crack later and I’d catch up.

The rain made the early laps hard going. I had a number of crashes as new roots began to emerge each lap and the conditions changed. After a few hours a dry line emerged in some areas of the circuit which made life easier.

This was my third 12h solo event. In the other two I’ve almost felt invincible for the entire race. It often seems like I’m having a bit of an out of body experience. My legs just keep motoring, the bike flows, my mind is focused and I enjoy the experience immensely. After 4hours I realised that this would not be the case in this race! The course was super rough and the mud made it hard going. My back began to ache and my legs hurt. This was going to be a long old slog.

Time checks to the leader kept increasing but I still hoped that he had stated too hard and would fade towards the end. As the race progressed it became increasingly obvious that this was not going to be the case. The gap increased, I pushed harder to close it and it just got bigger! My mental state was not at its best. I was real grumpy!

The race felt like such a grind at the time, but looking back at it now it seems to have passed so quickly. My body is now sore all over but my mind seems to have blanked out the suffering I went through.

My team mates put in good rides. Dave finished fourth in the solo and Rob finished 2nd in the single speed category, his first attempt at single speed solo. Not a bad team effort.

I finished second. I stayed there from start to finish. I guess I should be happy about it but I still finished half an hour down on the leader. In my books that’s a bad second place. I found some weaknesses which I will now work on. Half way through the race I questioned why I even bothered putting my body through this, afterwards as I was in pain, grumpy and feeling sick I was never going to race again! A few days later I’ve realised that’s its only 7 weeks until my next 12h, guess I like abusing my body after all!

Thanks to Dad, Zoe, Shaun and everyone else who helped out in the pits and put up with me being stroppy for most of the 12 hours!

No comments: