All photo's are Copyright of Scott Swalling or the tagged Photographer. (Background photo Scott Swalling Photography).

About Me:

24Hr MTBike racer and general bike rider, climber and mountaineer. Good coffee drinker and cake eater (any cake, seriously, don't leave your cake laying around). Also, I like to try new things that challenge me.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Never rush into things

Every now and then we all make rush ill thought out decisions.  I never do this on a mountain (that would be a bad thing) but when it comes to mountain bike racing I occasionally make such a decision.

After the wrist injury pushed me out of the 24Hrs of Exposure and possible qualifying for the worlds in Australia in October, I was a bit deflated.  I was keen, trained well and knew I would have done well and possibly made the cut.

So to make up for this in a moment of madness I entered the Sleepless in the Saddle 24hr event Solo as you do.  Not a problem in itself, other than this is only 2 weeks after the Bontrager 24/12 (which I would finish 8th in the men’s 24hr Solo, I was a bit chuffed).  These two races so close together was going to be a tall order and I knew it and some very seasoned 24hr riders Jason and Dave and their legendary pit crew Wayne reminded me of how tough this would be.

So with my awesome pit crew, Nik, camped next to a few other soloist (James, Stuart and Simon and Stuart's family) I was set or was I?

The race started Le Mans style, bikes lined up in the start finish area, riders ready to run half a mile in cycling shoes (why?).  The run over, I started to work my way through the field using my normal tactic of a couple of quick laps and then settle into my rhythm.

Le mans style start. Photo by: Nik

The fixie legend of SITS
The course was hard and fast, with a good mix of single track, fire road and double track and some tracks being laid across open farm land.  There were a couple of steep sharp climbs and the others were all at a descent gradient for the length of the climbs.

My knees had started hurting within the first lap, but this proved not to be seat height problem, I was just still tired and recovering from the Bontrager, this did not bode well.

I pressed on, eating well, but my energy seemed to be getting sapped at an alarming rate and I could not eat anymore without the threat of throwing up and that would be extremely bad considering what I was putting my body through.

Photo by: Joolze Dymond
From about lap 5, it was a real fight and this really did sound the death bell for this race, to be feeling this bad this early was a very bad sign.  Out on lap 11, and things weren’t going well at all, seeing stars is never good, wobbling on the straights isn’t so great either.  I had been riding conservatively for the last 5 laps and out on this lap there was not change.  As I still passed pair and team riders as well as other soloist, but I knew I was cooked.

I arrived back at the pit short of the 11th lap, thought I would sit down, get warm and eat a bit and get back out there.  Nik, suggested I looked terrible, hence why I wasn’t forced back out again (the standing agreement).  I remember eating, once I was tucked into the sleeping bag and that was about it until about 6am.

On waking I knew that even going again after 5 hrs off the bike wasn’t an option.  I resolved myself to pitting for James, Stuart and Simon, starting to recover by eating lots of food, with a fair amount of protein and drinking lots of water.

I yelled encouragement at the guys and also at the other soloist and as the event was finishing at every finisher.  I wanted to check in on how Jason and Dave had gone and learnt that they had found the course hard on the body, with the track being so hard under the wheels.  These guys do race a lot and had other races lined up.  So it is about the good with the bad and they seemed ok with what they had decided and so did I, in fact I felt still quite happy with what I had achieved.

On return to our pit, I learnt that Stuart had emptied the tank and finished in the top 10 doing so.  Awesome work! James and Simon had achieved what they set out to do and seemed very happy.

Once again, even with a fail, I was happy to be racing and also happy I could help some others out.  Nik, you are awesome and sorry I have entered the Gorrick 12:12. I promise last long race for this year.

To Provelo, nice event and great course and Cycleworks, sorry I couldn’t top 10 again, but I flew the CW flag on and off the bike, guys thanks again!

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