This weekend was the 12 and 24 hour solo European mtb championships.
A brilliantly organised event held in a small Scottish village called Newcastleton on the scottish borders.
For me it was a Fitness test, a training ride, a good gauge of my current fitness level and… hard!
1 burped tubeless tyre
1 slightly bruised ego
Perhaps its because I lack the ability to ignore other peoples efforts or not chase whoever is in front of me, or possibly because I am a show off who loves pulling wheelies and skids for the crowds of people cheering in the pits, possibly just because I am too used to riding flat out from years of racing olympic distance triathlon where the only speed is AFAP- whatever the reason, the pace I rode at from the start was much more suited to the 12hr race rather than the 24 I had entered.
I never expected to be able to keep it up for the whole 24hrs and I was happy to push on for as long as I could, as hard as I could and simply see how far I could get.
Other than a short time when I felt pretty flat after about 6 hours I was lapping consistently between 1.15 and 1.30
I arrived in the pits after lap 8 (88miles) and was asked how I felt, my very genuine reply was ”I feel great! another bottle, new lights and Ill do another” with the sound of metal blasting through my ears and lactate acid pumping through my legs I sprinted out of the pits feeling invincable. 3 miles later and it was a very different story…
I broke, I broke pretty badly and all of a sudden it became very hard. All the climbs seemed longer than before, steeper and lonelier too. I was walking allot of the climbs and simply hanging on for the descents, I was taking chicken lines around jumps and drop offs (very unusual!) and was barely managing to keep the focus at all- in fact at one point when I had pretty much stopped, slumped over my bars and hoping for some sort of divine intervention when a passing rider spoke the obvious but wise words “just dont stop moving or you will never get back”. I Put myself back on the bike and managed to crawl my way in for what I decided was the last lap I was going to do.
I could have slept for a few hours and then done some more, I could have just done more straight away (ridiculously slowly!) and seriously broken myself and looking back I could be disappointed
I am not disappointed- I am actually quite pleased, I can take away a few good things from what happened and think I am on my way to good form for my main objective this year. I can/should hopefully be able to ride the distance, I have nearly ran the distance and open water swimming starts next month-I just have to bring it all together!
I really cant thank my “pit bitch” Rich Salisbury enough for the support he gave me this weekend, without it I wouldn’t be anywhere near as happy with my result. Rich I owe you BIG time!
I also owe a big thanks to my dad for paying my entry, without his help none of this would be happening and there would be no money going to charity.