4 Jul 2010

24hr party people

Despite playing around on the M6 for more than 4 hours, Me and Dave arrived in the sleepy town of Ledbury in good time (it still being daylight and that) after picking up a few supplies from a large super market chain, we headed of to meet the rest of team Ragley at Eastnor castle to pitch up, and settle down to a good old game of togger on the big screen, fast forward to the next day as I was once again let down by my national team!!!

We awoke at silly AM when you consider what every one in this dusty field had planned for the next day and a half, we bought some stuff that we needed and some stuff that we wanted, it was getting close, Dave and Jase where both relaxed, I was a little cranky from lack of sleep but it was time to get into character.

Into the arena, a quick check on Dave's bike, find as good spot to prop the bikes up, say good bye and good luck to both intrepid racers and wait.

Jason is followed close by Dave and the transition from running (in shoes designed for anything but) to cycling was slick, that bit was easy deep down I knew it would get harder.

A couple of laps in Dave has an issue, luck would have it that and energy gel pack when empty can save your tube from escaping your tyre casing, Dave crawled into the pits, fresh bike handed over and I had a bit of work to do, tyre changed, polished the TD-1 and the dust seemed to be sticking to everything, quick check that the gears are running good, back out to the Pitts, back on his race bike and off into the distance for another fast lap.

By mid afternoon, the heat was starting to affect, some big names where crawling into the pitts, and into their civvies to watch the remainder of this so called race track side.

Dave's eating well because I make sure he is, keeping a selection of bite foods for him to enjoy/devour at each lap, the energy drink was out of the question, A) because Dave could not process to much during a race and B) because we had none left, a mixture of 50% fruit juice and 50% water was employed, it was working cause by 11pm Dave was running in second place.

Darkness had fallen, this is the hardest time for an endurance racer, you want to eat, sleep, stretch and relax, this is not an option if you want the glory, stopping in the Pitts for more than 5 mins could cost you a place, for me its how to amuse myself, hoping that one of the team racers pulls into the Pitts with a mechanical issue, a puncture anything that will make the hour long lap go faster, I did have my phone and was keeping everyone informed on twitter of Dave's and Jason's positions. Late into the night Dave rolled into the pits, face like a smacked arse, I did what I could to keep him motivated, cracked a few jokes, but Dave shot them down, I was freezing my sugar lumps off my brain no longer wanted to function, but it still had the ability to know that this was how Dave dealt with the night, by being a grumpy sod " your in a solid 2nd place, eat you pot noodle and fuck off" I pointed down the race track slapped Dave on the back and he slowly got his legs back up to speed.

As the sun was staring to rise, people where starting to look happier, Dave came over to the track side pitt stop and almost seemed to be smiling, "how far behind is 3rd place?" it was fairly close " hes about 15 mins behind you, but Jason is chasing him hard, he's not a threat"

Jason had been working hard in the night, working his way up to forth, it's amazing the difference in each rider and how they deal with the pressure, Jase is the one cracking the jokes, smiling and sometimes mocking his fellow competitors, it works because late in the race, he's pushed his way into 3rd and pushing to catch Dave, now he's a threat!!!

They are mates, they have a crack together even share mental long rides during the off season, its never been this close between them in any race I have supported, Jason's lap times are starting to get faster, you could see in Dave's eyes, tying to work out how many laps he could complete before the end, how far behind Jase was, no other option balls out race speed for the next two laps, bit between his teeth off he sped.

1st place was out of our reach, Dave had consolidated 2nd and so had Jason in 3rd, sat on the finish Line with a pot noodle, Jason came over the line with a confirmed 3rd place, shortly afterward Dave came over the line in 2nd, I was to tired I nearly fell over him, everyone was happy, it was a good race and despite the complaints in the night, the blisters on his palms, the lack of sleep and a good meal, Dave enjoyed it, every minute and every grueling lap.

It's crazy that feeling you get when you achieve a goal, all the tiredness the pain it goes, not for long but long enough for you to enjoy the moment, well done to everyone all the team, all the friends, and everyone at the race, it was awesome.

I wanted to give you all a feel for what it's like supporting a racer at a 24hr event, let you know what goes through my mind, how I keep myself motivated how I prep for every eventuality, but because your brain is running on empty, you can't you just get on with it and when you do finally get some sleep you awaken knowing that in some small way you helped your racer achieve greatness.

For my next trick, I will be riding (not racing) at hit the north 2, an 8 hour racing event up north. can't wait!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. I shall buy you a Team-issue gas-powered toaster for next time.
    You were brilliant, by the way. See you in a couple of weeks :-)