What normally happens after a 24 hour race is that I’ll spend a few days moaning about how many aches and pains I’ve got or how horrible the most horrible part of the race was, I’ll eat loads of food in an attempt to replace some of the 20,000 or so calories I’ve burned until I don’t feel quite as hungry anymore and I might go to the pub. I’ll also write a blog, massage my own ego and drone on about how I did this, that or the other, ending with a single line where I’ll say a tagged-onto-the-end ‘thanks’ to all those that helped me achieve whatever it is I achieved.
Well, I achieved another win at TwentyFour12 at the weekend, so that’s good. I didn’t push too hard for three quarters of the race – I made sure I remained in contention and held enough back for a potential push towards the end but always had the World Champs in October at the back of my mind. A 24 hour race is utterly crap as a training ride but I was going to preserve, rather than spend, as much fitness and wellbeing as I could. It was going well until the last 6 hours when the heavens opened and everything got harder, everyone got wet and I started to shiver.
But it got harder for everyone so it didn’t make too much difference. I just did what I do and it turned out well.
I was looked after again by loads of really generous people who give me stuff that makes this sort of thing a bit easier and affordable in return for me ‘giving it my all’ and not being grumpy and/or a dickhead.
The event as a whole was as brilliant as it was last time, so credit must be paid to Martyn and his team of organisers, do-ers, caterers, look’er-after-ers and marshals.
Meanwhile, while I’m being totally self-indulgent and then having people shower me with praise and prizes, Debbie remains as always a relatively unsung hero. I’ve won eight 24 hour solo races now, each one of them (and all the others that I didn’t win) I’ve been supported 100% by my amazing and long-suffering wife.
She knows when the low points are going to happen. She knows from the look on my face how I’m feeling and knows precisely what to say to get me back on my toes. I see other guys in races having to carefully arrange their various food items, spares, clothing and tools so that they can grab at them in the middle of the night more easily. I don’t have to do any of that. Deb knows where everything is and arranges the pit to suit her- mainly to ensure that the act of “shovelling sugary treats into Jason’s gob” takes as little time as possible – so quickly in fact that I don’t really need to stop riding at all.
Even when the weather turns bad, it’s three in the morning and she’s not had any sleep, Deb’s always awake when I arrive after another lap, latest leaderboard information at the ready, bottle and gel in hand, five, six, maybe ten layers of clothing on (and a bobble hat), ready to keep me rolling.
And all this is on top of having two kids to look after. Sometimes a dog as well. Incredible.
Genuinely, I have it easy. All I have to do is pedal and think about nothing else but the race.
So this time, just for once, I’m not going to drone on and on about how amazing my training was or how clever my race strategy was, because I must have one of the greatest pit helpers in the world whose contribution to my successes over the past few years can’t be underestimated.