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, 11 April 2012

Good from the bad.

Well as most would know I headed to the 24Hrs of Exposure this weekend with my awesome pit crew Nik.  We arrived with plenty of time, set up the pit, (below), and I headed off with Chris Noble for a loop of the course.

 The pit.

After completing a loop, Nik and I finished sorting a few things, I went to registration and then had a bit of physio.  This was meant to be just a leg rub, but Sabreen found a couple of problems, including my pelvis being slightly misaligned, WTF?  Anyway with this fixed and food eaten we climbed into the massive Alpkit Heksa and settled down for the night.

 Inside the awesome Alpkit Heksa.

The rain pelted the canvass and wind crashed into the tent as finally I drifted off, thinking that the course will be hell in the morning.  In the morning I was keen, did my usual amount of faff and was ready to race.  A point I wasn't sure I would be at 6 weeks ago as I took a very long time to get off the ground after a sizable crash, I had done quite a bit of damage and really thought I'd not be riding in 6 weeks, let alone racing.

Well here I was, charged, ready to go, a great pit crew and a back up pit crew in Phil M and two awesome bikes (below) to see me through.  Things were going to be peachy and I was going to have a great race.

 Toad and Tonka ready to roll.

Unfortunately things didn't go as planned, once racing started.  A good and calm start, pacing with a familiar face Graham "Irish" McConaghy and the first few laps would see us checking on each other as we had a few mechanical problems.  However, as Grahams got sorted, mine just changed and had me stopping several times each lap to resolve and changing bikes each lap.  This was getting tiresome when I managed to get two flats on the same lap. With some help at the course aid station, Phil and Rory and some much need motivation I was on my way, but due to a long walk back to the aid station I had lost buckets of time.

But now despite the flats the bikes were running smoothly, thanks to Nik and Phil.  I finished the lap and headed out again.  But this time the engine started failing, feeling dizzy I reached for a gel in my jersey, as I did I veered to one side, I corrected and tried again, the same outcome.  I've been here before and it is not a good place. I stopped fired a gel in and got going again, soon I was stopped again and fired another gel in.

Things slowed down a bit from here, I managed to get more than 2/3rds of the lap done, before I forced myself to have my last gel.  As I made my way back to the pit area feeling dizzier with each minute, I had a plan to try to keep going.

I got back and told Nik what was going on, I drunk water and electrolytes, ate fruit, chicken, pasta and some sweets over the period of about 30 minutes, but there was no change.  Nik was a star as usual being totally supportive and offering advice. Watching the clock tick by and knowing that if I waited much longer I would not be able to overhaul the other single speed riders I had to think hard.

How bad was I feeling? Racing when dizzy in the dark (as it was now) was just plain dangerous, waiting around forever to get better just to finish, is no longer my goal at these events. I can finish them and I can finish them well.  If I pushed on after resting longer, would this just do more damage to my body?  Would I go through the same thing and start feeling the same, but not have the clarity to ease up and make the right decisions as I'd certainly be more tired?

I decided that due to my prep with the injury in the 6 weeks before being poor and that I had so many mechanicals that I should let this one go.  I difficult and disappointing decision and I always feel as if I have let Nik, cycleworks and all the others that have offered support and encouragement along the path.

Clarity is a fine thing.  Once back home and with some time to think, I know I made the right choice.  Another crash could have injured me again and possibly worse than before.  So I look at things to take the good from the bad.

All in all, some things had gone really well, Nik had become an awesome mechanic (thanks babe), I personally had not let the rubbish prep get me down or cause me to doubt myself, even if deep inside I knew I was up against it.  From the start I rode through the mechanical issues and kept calm and my focus, working with Nik as a brilliant team we got me to a point that if the engine hadn't failed completely that I would have been keen for the hunt and calm enough to execute it.  Something that is important for the long game.

Time to recover a bit and then start all over again.  The Gorrick 100 is next and is short and fast in comparison, there is a rumor I might even use some gears for this.

Thanks to Nik, Phil and Rory, they all get a hug too. Nik gets a bigger one.

Thanks Alpkit (Col) for the tent, the lovely warm down that got worn lots.

Thanks Weldtite for the TF2, it certainly is ace.

Thanks Cycleworks and Team Cycleworks for the support and encouragement.

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