It’s strange because part of me is excited, and part of me is totally dreading this, but I’ve gone and signed up for a twenty four hour mountain bike team race. Having done this once before a good few years ago, you’d have thought I’d have learnt my lesson, but I haven’t.
It should be slightly different before, our team arrived for the 24 hour Red Bull Mountain Mayhem race two short and one fell out after a few laps, so making it through into the hours of darkness and then giving up was pretty good in my book. So actually, if I was to be really tough and technical about it, I’ve not actually completed it before!
This weekend I was at a barbecue at a friends who I haven’t seen in a while, and all the old crowd were there including all those from the Mountain Mayhem cycling days, those that entered a team where everyone turned up and they all actually competed and completed! It was a great day, and especially great to see all the guys, now with wives and babies, again. It was one of the best days out I’ve had in some time, apart from the pressure I now seem to be facing from some of them (you know who you are J.) to get married! If only I hadn’t tried to use that as bribery in the couples pool tournament for my girlfriend to make her shot!
Almost immediately upon arrival at the barbecue the subject of my friends pending participation in Sleepless in the Saddle came to the conversation. A team had already been entered and one of them had already dropped out, and since I happened to be standing in the wrong place at that moment, I was asked.
Don’t get me wrong I was delighted to be asked, however it reminded me that despite originally being in the first cycling team, starting the Tartan Lardy’s and buying lovely T-Shirts for us all, I’d very much fallen out of that crowd and been left behind with the second “poorer choice” team. However much that annoys me it’s not something that really kills me, after all they are much fitter and better than I am. It makes me wonder though how far down the list of cyclists to ask I am for this year!
It’s an exciting prospect though, and something that just might push me to get back to off road biking again and get my fitness level back up. The training coupled with the move of my workplace to the outskirts of the City and the renewed daily cycling should get that over thirty fat shifted…which is badly needed!
The idea with this race is that you don’t all cycle for a full day, instead you do a lap or two of a set course which may take on average around sixty minutes, and then rest while the others take their turns. At night it gets interesting as it tends not to be a floodlit course, you have to rely on your own lights for illumination of the track ahead. A set of halogen lights is what really comes in useful at that point.
What I remember happening during the first race was taking my turn at one or two laps, and that would consist of a none too frantic pace. Then you’d get off the bike at the finish line and stupidly accept one of the free cans of Red Bull – like that’s going to help you relax! – and then off back to the tent where you would carb load and then attempt some sleep. This was quite possible since you should have three other teamates doing their laps, so you should have three times the amount of time you raced to relax. Unfortunately filled with Red Bull, pasta and potato, that was more or less impossible.
Perhaps this time we’ll drop the Red Bull idea. Another thing I would love to drop is the idea of the tent. I would seriously consider borrowing my parents caravan for this one. Double bed, cooker, fridge, toilet and…a shower! Luxury.
Some serious thinking is due…and some serious training.