A Satisfying Conclusion to a Onerous Racing Season
As a solo endurance mountain biker, it is important to ride within yourself and, ultimately, attempt to achieve consistent lap times. Many novices make the mistake of riding too fast, too hard, too early. It is much wiser to hold some energy in reserve and concentrate on smooth, efficient riding. My focus turned to achieving this goal. After the first six hours, my lap times ranged between 28.28 to 30.34 minutes. I crossed the line five minutes before six and knew I would be able to put in an extra lap over my nearest rivals. On finishing, I was informed I was leading by 18 minutes in the Master's category and I was 4th overall in the entire solo field.
The Jetblack Racing Team had supplied a mountain of chicken, salads and bread rolls, and I greedily devoured the delicious offerings. Meanwhile, I watched the 24 hour riders, as they prepared their bikes for the darkness ahead. The light began to fade and the cool fingers of the night began to close tightly around us. I chatted to Kevin 'Kevlar' Wynne-Smythe, of the JetBlack Racing Masters Fours, whose team were involved in an almighty tussle for the top three category places. Once again, I was reminded of how pleasant it was to be wrapped up in warm clothes and relaxing, instead of searching for every last sinew of strength out on track. After a pleasant stroll through the Botanical Gardens my wife and I retired to our tent, where I was able to muster some fragmented sleep.
My mind began to wander as I passed rider after rider. 'Track when ready...thank you...track when you can...awesome...two riders...have a great ride...enjoy your lap'. In my mind, I had already designed and constructed the electronic bike accessory which would utter the above phrases when activated by a handlebar-mounted button. Like a toy, with a cord draped from its back, the exact phrases would vary in order to provide variety and interest!
Personally, with ten podiums out of twenty races across all formats, the year has been extremely rewarding. My goal of becoming World 24 hour Solo Champion in my age category will have to wait another year, but a successful foray into stage racing with the Crocodile Trophy, Series victory in the Rocky Trail 7 hour events and third place overall in the STM 7 hour Series, has meant my season has been a great success. The prospects for next year, with the new Jetblack Racing Team, look highly promising, and I believe I still have much to learn and several areas I can improve, so hopefully my racing will continue to go from strength to strength.