Friday, 1 August 2014

Bontrager Twentyfour12- 24hours solo

Ever since I got into endurance racing i've wanted to try a 24hour solo race, I've read enough blogs by the best in the business and it seemed to be the natural step up in my racing, i've done around ten 12hour solo racers, and I know i can cope with them well, how much harder can twice the length be!?

both bikes prepped with 1 x 11
My whole season has been working towards Bontrager Twentyfour12, i've purposely avoided racing too much, held back racing any other long races this year, instead I have spent my weekends and evenings building up to racing for 24 hours. Working with Francesca Bennett my coach we have added far more core workout and gym work, spending two lunchtimes a week specifically working on my core and leg strength, to help in those latter hours of the race.

We arrived in plymouth on friday lunchtime, meeting up with Scott Swalling and Nic, we rode a quick practice lap, I liked the course, it suited me, a few long climbs and enough single track to keep it fun, 7.7 miles and 700feet of climbing per lap

Saturday morning arrived, I was very nervous, we all knew it was going to be hot, so it was key in the morning to take on as much fluid as I could. I went through my usual pre race rituals, porridge, muller rice, milkshake & the toilet, several times. Dad went and waited on the start line with my bike, this gave me and extra 15minutes in the shade, still drinking!

The start was fine, I knew there was no point rushing! as Rob Lee used to tell me, you only have so many bullets, don't waste the magazine at the start. I settled into a good position within the top 10 of 24 solo, lapping steady, drinking a 750ml bottle of Torq Vanilla pod and one Torq gel a lap, making sure I took on enough units. My average heart rate was low and I was keeping cool, this was going well. Over the next few laps my lap times were consistent, within 30seconds. I caught Matt Jones who I had been worried about prior to the race, he had been struggling with the heat but had been lapping in front off me. I continued swapping positions with Russ from Traverse Bikes, but he slowly dropped back.

I swapped onto my chinese bike after 5 hours, not feeling confident in my Lefty fork, the first 8hours went quickly and It wasn't long before I was told to put on lights, I swapped helmets on my next lap, but still kept my light off, knowing the dusk is better with natural light.

Before long it was dark, but warm, I added merino arm warmers and kept tapping out the laps, I spoke to a few 12hour racers who were almost finished, but I was now leading, it was mine to lose, but I was going into my unknown now, I had never ridden a bike for this long before.
flying night stop
The night went surprising quickly, I kept occupied and consistent, I had a bottle of Torq recovery and a few caffeine gels, these helped but I still felt great.......

As the sun came up you would be forgiven for thinking the race was almost over, but there was  6 hours left, thats a long race in itself! I kept the pedals turning, I was over a lap clear now, having lapped Matt Jones during the night, but a bad lap and I could still loose the race. 
230miles and 23hrs15 later, WINNER
attack of the grey mist
Trophy from BeerBabe Upcycling
I had a bit of a wobble at 8am, after I'd ridden the previous lap thinking it was 10am, bugger! luckily it didn't effect me too badly. I met up with Martin Smith, he was going through a low point having raced the team 12hour before starting the torchbearer 12hour race, we rallied each other, but eventually he rode off. Luckily it was almost 2 hours to go, and  was going to win, the last 2 laps were hard, my feet had long since gone numb, and my hands were feeling sore due to the braking bumps on all the technical descents. I passed my pit for the last time, confident I had done enough to stay in front, even if matt took it right to the wire. I crossed the start line, so happy but broken, only my supporters knew I had won as it was only 11:10am, but I wasn't going round again for the sake of it!
amazing what a shower can do!
Well done to Matt and Alex

Now what am I doing? dabble in some road racing if my feet come back to life. Decide finally on whether to try and get to WEMBO 24hr World Champs in Fort William 

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