Every lap was just ridden. Not raced, just ridden. No aggression. No pushing it. Just going round in a spiral of futility. Every lap had a counterpoint, being sat in the pits, fed up, near incredulous.
When will I learn?
Weeks of nice weather had to end in the run up to this race. They had to. It’s just what happens. This time though it wouldn’t matter. The time had come for better things. A new place to race after last year’s failure.
How one deep loamy woodland differs from another I don’t know. I still don’t. they all turn to deep, thick, claggy mud quickly enough. And stay like that.
When will they learn?
It was not fun. The course overly basic, then ruinously muddy, then just soul destroyingly stodgy. Not one for the riders, one for the masses. Do the masses really like fireroads that much? Doesn’t matter, that’s all there was to offer I guess…and my soul wasn’t in it as I just twitched my way round and round wanting to be racing on my limits, rather than competing without caring.
I sat, uninterested, in 2nd for 15 hours. Of which about 10 were ‘on course’ the rest in the ever self-bolstering JMC pits, being reassured, cajoled and almost cossetted by Angela and Jase (who’d had a crash…and enough, hours earlier but stuck it out selflessly anyway). A pep talk by the two of them working for every 7 mile mindless spin round the woods.
By the 2nd lap I only wanted to ride for other people. I knew I wouldn’t be taking anything for myself from the event, but so many people offer so much of themselves freely for me to be able to ride that I’d carry on, glassy eyed, as a feeble attempt at thanks. So I did. Each talking to in the pits would get me back out on the bike and the fitness I had in spades would keep me in with a shot of winning, no matter whether I floored it or just sat back.
Or at least that’s how it worked until, at just after 3am I, suddenly and surprisingly, lost the ability to hold down food. Or drink. Water. Anything.
I retired. Confused, fed up, hollow, angry. Sick.
I’ve no positives to take from the race. I already knew I could be fast without trying and sticking out the event until I was ill hasn’t given me any mental fortitude, it’s just reminded me that I haven’t said ‘thankyou’ to all the people that invest in me properly yet.
But I will.
Somewhere better. Somewhere where I’m utterly at my limit for longer than I can possibly imagine. I’m looking forward to it. Wherever it is, it’s going to be brilliant.