RESULTS: Apparently i did 21 laps (despite lots of people, including me, thinking i did 22) and came 6th out of 119.
Looking at the lap times there’s no big discrepancy that there would have to be for the organisers to have missed a lap, so i guess we miscounted…
Never mind, it’s still an improvement of 12 places – from 18th to 6th is quite a leap – and only 3 laps less than last year – on a longer and far muddier course…so i think i’m heading in the right direction!
Oh, I just realised that I still have my 100% PODIUM record for 2007 intact! Admittedly it’s only because the podium at mountain mayhem went silly low down (i mean really, 6th place on the stand?!), which is a technicality, but it counts so woo!
7 races, 7 podiums: 3x1sts, 3x2nds, 1x6th.
Bigging myself up a bit:
- 1st placed fully rigid soloist
- 1st placed 29er soloist
- 1st placed rider fueled by morrisons cream cakes, cheese pasties and fruit smoothies (how proud am i?!)
- 1st placed soloist whose shoes matched his frame (running out of ideas now…)
And now, after all that i’ll make everyone aware of just how many people it takes to make a solo rider:
In no particular order:
Wayne: Stayed up for as long as I did, washed the bikes 11 times IIRC, fed me, kept me â€œin the knowâ€ about how I was doing in fact the only thing he didnâ€™t do was actually ride the bikes! Rocking
Guy: Always ready to go out of his way to help, never grumpy, generous to a tee, bought us ice creams
Samuri: Became bike/kit courier, remained cheerful even when i was faffing about after the race holding everyone up. Top bloke
Matt: another link in the bike courier chain (donâ€™t ask), saved the day by figuring out how I could get the bikes to the race, understands the importance of cake
Brant: willing to cough up for a 100mile taxi ride if he thought itâ€™d get me to the race quicker, instigator of the search for a place for us to stay in brum when the trains went wrong, came up with the whole idea behind the bikes, hasnâ€™t complained about just how knackered his scandal is right now (alternatively, he might not knowâ€¦)
Simon: risked cracking numerous lenses on camera trying to take pictures of me (and everyone else, all weekend)
The people on STW: who heard about our plight on the way down and immediately offered to get wayne and I there/put us up for the night, no questions asked.
Angela: (added after a mild telling off) sympathetic when i moan, helpful when i look lost, accepting of the fact that i’m never at home i’m always out riding (and when i am home i’m just slumped on the sofa looking tired), pretends to not notice how much i’m spending on bikes, cooks pies
On top of these seriously ace people there were a LOT of spectators/resting team racers who recognised me as I rode past and shouted encouragement, many I recognised (hello ed, tim, simon, I could go onâ€¦) many more I didnâ€™t. Itâ€™s kind of weird being recognised and having â€œoy twinkydaveâ€, â€œhows the new on-oneâ€ etc shouted out as your racing from the sidelines and â€œyouâ€™re dave, that on-one rider arenâ€™t youâ€ called out from other racers as they went past/I went past them. Weird, but in a really really good way!
As mentioned above, I canâ€™t really say how I did officially yet, but riding wise I felt good for the whole race. Sadly there arenâ€™t any tyres made for 29ers that I could find that could really cope with the thick sludge that the course turned into so, like most of the racers, the final 5 or 6 hours involved a lot of pushing/dragging through awful conditions.
Up until then I had found my rhythm in the first 3 laps, settled down and never felt the need to slow down while riding. I used the same gears on the climbs for the whole race, even during the worst of the conditions the bikes were sprightly enough to stay in the middle ring and spin or, when grip allowed, stand up and stomp. They also remained superbly composed downhill and along the flat in the totally slick conditions, despite the low profile summer tyres, so what I had imagined would be a serious deficit was no worse than what everyone around me â€“ on mud tyres â€“ were suffering. The parts of the course that remained rideable were still fun on lap 21, 23hrs into the race, if that gives you an idea of just how much I like them.
(pic by wayne)