Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Mountain Mayhem

2 weeks ago I raced Mountain Mayhem in an Elite mixed team. The team comprised of myself, Rickie Cotter, Matt Page and Rich Rothwell. We have all had top results 24h solo races in the past so were confident that we would challenge for the podium despite some tough competition. The added back up of Anne Dickens doing physio and Matt's wife Nia and mechanic Ben gave us the best possible chance, all we had to do was ride hard!

Condition were terrible. Weeks of heavy rain leading up the the events ensured that it was muddy from the off. We settled into 4th position early on with the Hope, Scott and Hargroves teams battling for the lead. We knew that we couldn't match the raw speed of these 3 teams, but we also knew that we would keep on going no matter what and if the teams ahead slipped up we would be ready to pounce.

I wasn't feeling super quick all weekend but I know I have a good engine after my early season races. This turned out to be very useful as the circuit soon became a mudfest and any thing more than a plod was impossible.

Entering the night we still sat in 4th. Laps times were stretching out towards the 1h30 mark which gave us plenty of time to rest, eat and even sleep! My night lap was horrific. The rain was horizontal and I struggled to keep warm despite full waterproofs! I made it round though and was glad to curl up in bed for a few hours after.

The morning dawned and the rain had just about stopped. As far as we were concerned we still held 4th position. Then an announcement sounded on the tannoy that we were in 3rd! it turns out that pro cyclo cross racers arn't so tough as the Hargroves team went to bed for a few hours in the night. We had a good gap and just needed to hold on to secure a podium in the worlds biggest 24hour race.
Slowly the hours ticked by and the gap held. Finally it was my turn to do the final lap. By this time the sun was out... brilliant! The problem was that the mud was drying and had turned to treacle. That lap was a bad one. In some sections you couldn't ride or push and the bike was so laden with mud that it was almost impossible to carry. I battled on though even though I had to run the last climbs as my bottom bracket collapsed.

Eventually I made it to the finish. The mud was so bad that I had to push into the finish straight and even had to push over the line. We did it though, 3rd place at Mayhem.

Thanks to the Rickie, Rich and Matt for making it happen. The biggest thanks however have to go to Nia, Anne and Ben who slaved away all night keeping our bikes clean and bodies moving... THANKS!