A nice, maybe chilled out 12 hour race, as a pair, seemed to be the ideal preparation for Mountain Mayhem in which Dave and I will both be racing solo. Sure, we’d have to battle hard to get a good result but we were here to have fun and to just enjoy it.
After a really early start I travelled up to Gisburn with Phil, Budge and Andy (who were all racing solo) I met up with the other half of Team Ragley and we set about dumping all of our food and spares next to the Cooksons gazebo. It was still early. There was an hour to go until the 7:30 am start….
Somehow drawing the short straw to do the run (I must remember Dave’s ‘do not get changed into cycling clothing’ ploy for next time) the race started and I puffed and wheezed my way up the gravel road to the start/finish area where my bike was. I’ve not done any running since autumn last year so to only lose a handful of places at this bit was an achievement…I started my first lap with the taste of blood in my throat.
Obviously we were expecting a battle as with any race but we weren’t expecting Rich Rothwell and Ant White to be racing in the pairs too. Another pairs team from Leisure Lakes were also dishing it out and early in the race we appeared to be running in 6th place. Soon afterwards and following a few more flat-out laps we were leading. We continued to lead the race until I had a disastrous lap where I had two punctures as a result of poor line choice, clumsiness and lightweight tubes. I really must get around to sorting out my tubeless setup….
That lap cost us a load of time and dropped us right back to 3rd. Gutted, but we decided at that point (with about half of the race still to go) that we were going to still go for the win. Lap after heroic lap followed in one of the most exciting 6 hours of bike racing I’ve ever experienced. First the Leisure Lakes guys were overtaken, leaving some time still to make up on Rich and Ant. The sun was beating down on us but we were remaining consistent, we were closing on first place. They were also out for the win and the transitions were getting more and more frantic, until the point where I overtook Rich on the final part of a lap and came through the timing gate a whole nanosecond in front, shouting ‘DAAAAAVVVVE!!!’ like I was his mum or something. I could see him and Ant taking off their coats ready to receive the timing chips and off they went to start their penultimate lap…..
Dave was first back but I knew that 2nd place was only a couple of minutes behind as I saw Ant riding into the transition pretty much as I was on the way out.
Big Lap. Give Dave a head start as much as possible.
Back into transition. Off Dave went. Turns out I’d given him about a 2 minute cushion.
Anxiety followed. The race would end at precisely 19:37 (the race had started seven minutes late), when no more laps could be started. I needed Dave to come back before Ant, but AFTER 19:37 (otherwise I’d be heading out for another bloody lap).
At 19:37:48 (ish), Dave crossed the line. We’d won. WE ROCKED. So much for ‘nice, maybe chilled out 12 hour race’ though.
Results here (you may notice that we were rocked so hard that we had in fact won the pairs, the teams, the solos, the whole bloody lot)
At the presentation we drank beer and feasted on the hottest chilli ever. It was so hot that most people couldn’t even finish it, there was more sweat being produced as a result of this stuff than had flowed from anyone’s pores during the race and even though the chef said he didn’t slip with the bottle of Insane Death Sauce, I think he did. Mental.