Saturday, 13 August 2011

Sleepless in the Saddle 24hr

Well the time came to complete my first solo 24hr enduro, after competing in the Bontrager 24/12 a couple of weeks ago I felt I was more mentally prepared for this race.
The course was as expected really, a nice length of about an hour long and not too technical. A good course for my first solo 24 especially compared to Bontragers technical course which destroyed most of my body.

The part of the race I was dreading the most was at the beguinning, the run! The le manns style start had us running a short lap around the arena area, and having not done any running for years I was unsure how my body would react to a run then 24 hours on a bike. I took the run steady (maybe too steady) and came back into the arena after my first full bike lap in fourth place.

On my second lap I managed to catch up two places and come in second, a very strange feeling being in second place in my first solo event. In the evening the rain came, I had only just stopped so couldn't pull in and had to keep going. The first lot of rain was a brief shower and was actually quite refreshing; however the second lot was not so nice and came down very heavily. I remember riding through the woods feeling like I was in the Amazon. Not only did this make me cold and wet it also destroyed the course. I could deal with the slippyness and the wet, however when it started to dry up the course became cloggy. Some sections of the course became unrideable and even became unpushable. In certain sections I was having to stop every hundred metres or so to de-mudd my bike, allowing the front wheel to turn again.

After this period I stopped back at the tent to change out of my incredibly dirty kit, re-fuel and to wash my bike. After 45 minutes of my dad standing in the bike wash que my bike was ready and I headed back out with my lights on. I rode up to 1:30am then came in for a break. Unfortunatly I was unable to resist the temptation of my sleeping bag and with it being my first 24 hr solo I felt I wasn't mentally able to complete the race without some rest.

After 2 hours sleep I woke, re-fueled and headed back out. I had stopped in second place and rejoined in third, despite loosing a position it could have been much worse if I hadn't of stopped. I rode until 8am and stopped for breakfast, and after a quick stop I headed back out to ride solidly until the 2pm finish time.

With a couple of laps to go my body finally started to give in, my back was going and my knees were hurting. Thanks to the cheering of supporters and fellow riders I managed to keep going strongly and continued to post decent lap times.

Relief came over me on the last lap, I had managed to complete my first solo 24hr and finished 3rd. I've gained so much respect for solo riders, imagining how hard it is doesn't even come close to reality. I feel I have so much more experience now and aim to complete the next one without any sleep!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Bontrager 24/12

So then, the time came for my first 12 hour solo event. Feeling slightly nervous and not sure what I had got myself into I packed up from my new home in the Lake District to make the 6.5 hour journey down to Newnham Park, Plymouth.

I arrived at the race in the morning feeling excited and wanting to get stuck in. The race started on bikes so thankfully I didn't have to do the run at the beguinning, and after a 20 minute start loop the race fully kicked in and there was no getting out of it!

I had planned to stop at about 6ish, half way through the race to have a break, get some food and get my lights on ready for the evening. After completing five laps I pulled in for my break, my back had gone, my wrists were sore and my legs were beguinning to cramp. After a bacon sarnie and a much needed stretch I went back out with an aim to do 3 more laps.

During my 6th lap I hit a wall. My back had gone, my wrists were sore, I had cramp in both legs and no longer wanted to carry on. After pulling in at the arena, having another stretch and some food I felt better. Steph (my boyfriend) pulled my saddle forward allowing me to sit more upright, reducing the pain in my back and convinced me to head back out.

Having completed 8 laps I finished in 4th position. This was a position I was happy with for my first solo event. I learnt alot from this race and know now areas I can improve on and hopefully be a better and faster endurance rider.

I'm now looking forward to my first 24 hour solo event at Sleepless in the Saddle on the 6th/7th August, if I thought the 12 hour was bad I dread to think what that will be like!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Mountain Mayhem

This weekend was Mountain Mayhem, one of the hardest enduro events in the country. To kick off the years racing I competed in the sport mixed team "We are Family", consisting of my dad, sister, brother and brother in law.

With a reasonably tough course it was going to be a hard race, I went out third and managed to get the rainy lap which turned the course into a slippy mud bath however I managed to prevent some near crashes and got round feeling strong. My next lap started at half 9, lights were now needed in all the wooded sections however it had now dried up allowing me to post a quicker lap time. After returning to the tent for some food I managed to gain a sneeky hour or so of sleep and then went out for my 2am lap. I love the night laps, they always seem to go so much quicker as you can only focus on what's right in front of you, technical sections are also a bit sketchier which is always fun.

I finished the race with a good morning lap, with the smell of bacon in the campsite getting me round the course nicely. It was a brilliant race again this year, with lots of good banter between all the riders and a good atmosphere all round. Also a good presence of titanium bikes which is always nice!

Mayhem's set me up nicely for the rest of the years racing and helped me set my sites on my first 24 hour race  at Sleepless in the Saddle in August. Will update you all with photos from the weekend later on in the week.

Thanks for reading x

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

First post!!

Hello all and welcome to my blog, this is intended to keep you up to date with my riding and racing throughout the season. My first race review will follow Mountain Mayhem, my first 24 hour race of the season on the 18th/19th June.

Ill try to keep you up to date as much as possible with reviews and photos.

Thanks for reading x