Mountain Mayhem 24 hour race.
This is the big one, the most famous 24 hour mountain bike race in the UK and only about 40 miles from home.
Got there on Friday afternoon and set up camp. We've got fluorescent lights and a cool box running off two truck batteries now. Proper civilised.
Mrs BGW was riding in a fun team of ten for Pearce Cycles. They also had two sport teams of four and they had saved us a spot so we all camped together, 19 riders plus support altogether right by the track almost exactly half way round.
We did a practice lap on Friday evening in about 1:50. I guessed that at my race pace I would be lapping in about 1:30 so planned right from the start to stop every lap. It was a hard course with nowhere to recover, a lot of climbing and tricky rutted descents with long drags across and around fields.
The race started with a 2.5km run. I set off at a brisk walk and was well towards the back by the time we got to the bikes. There were still a lot of solo riders and quite a few teams behind me though.
Two traffic jams on the first lap. The second one took about 15 minutes to clear as everyone tried to get down a short steep drop in the woods.
I still haven't worked out a proper race strategy for 24 hour solos.
I can ride 12 hours with minimal stops, I think I was stationary for 26 minutes at Bristol, which includes stopping for a puncture.
I can't do that for 24 hours though and I don't know if it's best to have lots of short breaks, a few longer ones or one big one.
In the end, I had about 15 minutes every lap plus two breaks of about 1:30 and one of about 45 minutes.
I think I actually rode for about 18:30 hours out of 24:40
Four crashes. Nothing serious, three were slipping on wet roots and one was getting stuck in a rut on one of the Land Rover tracks.
I keep thinking I ought to put more of the emotional aspect in to these race reports, as that is by far the biggest part of these endurance races.
Mrs BGW spent most of her time supporting me. Only once was she not there when I came in as she was out doing a night lap for her team at the time.
Having a dedicated support crew makes a huge difference. The Pearce crew were all cheering me on as well.
I'd come in and slump down in a chair while she changed my water bottle, scrape the worst of the mud off the bike, oil the chain and hand me food. I was getting proper pampered.
The Vegan Cyclists kit helps too. Everyone seems to recognise it and a lot of other riders or spectators shout "GO VEGAN" as I ride past.
I felt pretty low overnight, that's when I had my two longer breaks.
I didn't particularly enjoy the course as it was so hard. I use Ay Up lights, which are pretty good, but there's much brighter lights out there now and I found it hard riding in my own shadow as other riders with better lights came up behind me and I couldn't see the roots and ruts ahead.
By the morning, I felt a lot better and started counting down the hours and working out how many more laps I could get in in the remaining time.
My last three laps were all done with minimal breaks in between. Mrs BGW would swap my bottle, I'd stuff a banana or slice of apple pie in my face and shove a bar of licorice up the leg of my shorts to eat on the way round and off I'd go again.
12 laps in the end, finishing at 24:40. About 203km
32nd/169 solo males.
I went in to the race hoping for a top half finish. They show the results on a screen during the race, but only the top 20 in each category, so I had no idea where I was while I was riding. It was a nice surprise when the results went upon the web site and I found I was top quarter.
There's a lot of banter on the way round. I caught up with this guy just as we got to our camping area. I shouted to him "That's my missus with the camera. Slow down a bit, make it look like I'm overtaking you"
Matching gloves, socks & frame.http://connect.garmin.com/activity/93660322http://connect.garmin.com/activity/93663107http://connect.garmin.com/activity/93660290http://connect.garmin.com/activity/93663692