It's only been a year, I'm in a field again surrounded by hundreds of mankind's greatest invention the bicycle, last years OS mountain mayhem was the best I had ever attended, two podium finishes, sunshine and good friends. The anticipation over the past weeks had been at times too much to bear!
This is my Glastonbury, weekend away, lads night out and social gathering all rolled into one, it was gonna rock, a few beers later and the tiny tent I will call home for the next 48hrs beckoned.
I awoke the next morning to the sound of rain on canvas, when I finally got out of my luxury 1 man body bag the camp site we had claimed as our own started to buzz with the same anticipation I had felt in the weeks prior to the event.
Time passed, final inspections of bikes and kit, race time was upon us, time for game faces to be applied.
Dave, Jase, Lee and Sally all took position for the run, when they start running I head to the pits, it will be ages before I have to do something time to relax and take in some country air.
"Change my tyres to mud tyres for the next lap" there goes my nice relaxing weekend!!! To be honest it was nice to be working despite the fact that Dave's tyres were on tighter than a (add your own crude reference) Mud tyres on time to chill. More rain meant more cleaning of bikes, I must have cleaned a bike a lap sometimes 2, mud in my nails a few cuts I sat down for a beer as the evening approached.
All was going well, Dave was competing well and staying in touch with the leader Ant White, Jase was chasing down Dan Treby, despite a moment of self doubt, and suspension envy in typical Jase style, by the next lap which was super fast, his NO I ain't having that attitude had returned.
Dave came rushing into the pits, Ant had not been past, Dave was in the lead after another consistently fast lap, ant passed whilst Dave refuelled in the pits, I watched the pit work of our rival and tried to learn, sip of coke and a jelly bean and Ant was off down the course. I learnt one thing, Ant was a machine who ran off sips of coke and a jelly bean!!!
Jase had taken Dan in the morning, due to a recording error (may have been the lack of sleep and/or bike cleaning duties) we had missed a lap, "he's right behind me, QUICK" the pit crew, team riders, family and friends made sure he was out the pits in record time, we discovered later that Jason had lapped Dan whilst he had some breakfast! relief swept over us all and Dan kindly informed Jase whilst unlapping himself.
Dave had started to suffer, I could see it in his eyes but somehow he did not seem to mind, "two more laps to be sure mate" big push down the course with words of encouragement, I knew my work was done for another year.
Jacqui was the first over the line for the team of mixed vets recording an excellent 9th Mixed vets and 25th overall, Jason was next claiming 3rd place in the solo, with Dave pumping his blood and mud encrusted legs over the line to finish 2nd solo.The results were awesome, and improvements were made, and personnel goals achieved, hats off to Ant White who had a flawless race, and to Dan Treby for his drive and sportsmanship (on a single speed bike) but most of all Hats off to Ragley , Team JMC it for the support, to the children of the race team keeping me awake (with somthing called pub-step)when all I wanted to do was snooze, to Phil, Budge, Andy, Jacqui and Sally for their help support, food and laughs (Andy the Stuntman Watson) Debs for the coffee and help, Michael for the banter, Lee and Rachael for staying up all night, all awesome, and to Dave and Jase for giving 100% effort and giving us all a good race to watch/be part of.
Its a strange thing to feel like you belong amongst people you see but only two maybe three times a year, a bit like a family, but without the argueing :)
2012 should be a cracker