It’s less than a week until Mountain Mayhem. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve ridden this 24 hour race solo, but the sheer size of the event and the fact that seemingly the whole bike world turns up means that it’s always an exciting race and it’s still one of very few races that goes on the list first when I’m planning the year ahead.
It’s a new venue this time (we’re riding in Princess Anne’s back garden, basically) so there are even more questions and uncertainties than usual. Will there be enough space? What will the weather be like? How hilly will the course be? Will it turn into a quagmire if/when it rains? What tyres? What bike? What shoes? (ok, maybe not everyone is asking that last question).
Whatever happens, I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. My training in the past few weeks has been ok (it’s been at worst “regular stuff that I just about manage to fit in around daily life” and at best it’s been “Canary Island Awesome”), those supporting me have done this many times before, there are two Team JMC teams taking part too so I should be ok for getting any bike issues sorted and the bikes that I’m taking are brilliant – probably the best race bikes I’ve ever been lucky enough to take to any race before in fact so hopefully I’ll do them justice.
I’ve only just built the new Niner Air9 that Jungle have lent me and I’ve subsequently “tested” it in the time-honoured fashion by riding it to work and back a couple of times. Fortunately my commute contains some man-made mountain bike trails so I’ve been able to do a bit more than ride it down the main road and back.
I’ll get another couple of rides on it this week to get it set up a bit better. It’s been built with some super-lightweight parts from Mount Zoom so hopefully the course will have plenty of climbs so that I can feel the benefit. First impressions, not surprisingly for a crazy-light carbon bike, are that I think I can make it go very fast indeed. It’s also very, very, very orange, so that’s good too.
The other bike is quite different but just as ace (I’ve won races on it in fact) – a rigid Ti 29er, also built with Mount Zoom parts and some lovely Rolf Prima Ralos wheels that are lightweight, look great and also survived the Component Hell™ of the Strathpuffer without any lasting damage.
I’m even taking the racy singlespeed just in case the weather gets REALLY bad and the course falls to bits…
As usual I’ll be burning the retinas of all the marshals with lights from Exposure and I’ll be keeping the legs turning with the aid of fuel from Clif Bar. If you see me and I’m really chatty then I’ve probably just had a Turbo Double Expresso gel….
I’m also being helped out this time by SportPursuit who will have been helping me to recover from long training rides with some nice Nike compression clothing. The nice thing about this stuff is that it’s fairly thin and lightweight so I’ve been able to wear them in bed, even in Tenerife, all night without getting all sweaty. Pretty sexy image huh?
The Nike gear will be especially handy after Mountain Mayhem when I’ve got a couple of weeks to get ready for 10 Under the Ben, a couple of local midweek XC races, a couple of local summer cyclocross races, the Bowland Badass Sportive and only 5 weeks to recover and race another 24 hour solo at Bontrager 24/12. Sounds hectic, and it is; but you only live once don’t you? (I’m having a week’s holiday after all that).
Hopefully Princess Anne will have remembered to bring her washing in before we start at the weekend.