Sunday, 20 October 2013

Part 2 - Wembo 24 Hour Solo World Championships - Canberra

Sleep and me generally don't get along. We argue about 2 or 3 times a night, where sleep cracks it, storms out of bed and I end up wandering around the house until the wee small hours looking for it. The night before race day I really wanted a good nights rest, and to my astonishment, I actually got it. 

I was also feeling a little more relaxed about tactics. Some really smart-crazy people had published online that a 24 hour should be broken up into 3 distinct competitions. The first is not really even a race, its who is the freshest and strongest at the 10 hour mark. The second hinges upon who can get through the night the best and the third part, covering the last 6 hours is a bona-fide balls-out red lights flashing mountain bike race. 

And add the last little piece of calmness to the scenario, our pit crew had set up camp in a golden spot, perched right on the hairpin that signified the halfway point of Pit Lane. It mean that all the hard work was done to get there and once refreshed and refueled, a rider had a tailwind and a downhill run down to the singletrack. 

Pit Crew HQ - 85% built
Despite being relatively relaxed and prepared we were all still buzzing around HQ. Sweet somethings were lined up in little zip-lock bags, electolytes were mixed, bottles lined up and thanks to our resident mechanic Bede we had our respective bikes tweaked that last 1% that stood to make all the difference. I pained over my choice of chamois cream, the tension on my shoes, the placement of my number plate and had to be held back from making nervous and stupid last minute adjustments to my saddle height or handlebar angle.

Dancing with the Stars, Matt Page with Kev and me
There were guys even more prepared than us - nonchalantly rolling around the tarmac like ten year olds in their local cul-de-sac. Among them was Welshman Matt Page, who had come out to shake up Jason English's dominance. He stopped by, had a chat and as most of these very fast guys are, was a genuinely nice bloke.

Now feeling somewhat more relaxed than I should, I snapped myself into race mode, lathered up with about a litre of sunburn cream and chamois cream in no particular order, did a pointlessly brief warmup and rolled down to the starting line.

The starting chute for a 24 is a strange beast. In stage races and 6 hour enduros, the pointy end is straining against the fabric of the invisible line like a nipple in a Southerly. Instead we were all very chilled, even the usual embarrassing chatter born of pre-race nerves was surprisingly AWOL. 

We held a moments silence for Kane Vandenberg who fatally crashed the day before and watched the pros roll away with their entitled 10 minute head start. 

See you cats tomorrow...the Wembo starting chute
To be continued...the actual race.

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