I did it. I completed a 24 hour race. Usually very good at talking about riding, and talking about racing, I actually did some!
It was my first experience of racing in Germany and compared to the UK the course was less demanding. In fact, not demanding at all. I am used to the UK where a 24hr course is no different to a XC course, and our XC courses are much like a pro level XCO race in Germany. (having ridden AlpStadt on a practice lap). Duisburg was nothing like this. It was like a glorified tow path ride, with not a technical section to speak of. What this meant though was it was quick.
I wasn’t. All of the endurance races which I have done over the past 5 years (which, actually is very few) have ended in disaster. SITS – mud bath and DNFed. 24:12 – 12 hour torch bearer, started at midnight and crashed smashing my helmet at about 4:30am. Also DNF’ed. Brighton Big Dog last year – great great course. I managed 3 laps. Just 3. After 2.5 my chain snapped. This meant I ran about 5 miles, which destroyed me. Therefore my aim here was just to complete the race.
I rode slowly as a result. My fastest lap was actually my last.
I caught the bug again. I want to race.
Where to start.
So much has changed in my sport recently. As a kid, I watched the Tour de France, on channel 4 for just 30mins each night. I dreamt of the race, but the riders always seemed so far removed from who I was. Exotic Europeans living in countries back then I had no idea about. Even in 1994 with Chris Boardman riding in the Tour, it still seemed like anomalies. It returned to normal service almost instantly with their departure.
Now though, we have Wiggo. A British Tour de France winner who appears to be a normal bloke. No, in fact he is a normal bloke. Someone who you could imagine being in your own cycling club. Actually, I am user that there are people in your cycling club who have way bigger egos than him.
Watching Wiggins win the Tour de France, and Froome take second, as well as Cav take stages and Millar take stages brought tears to my eyes. Tears which returned watching Wiggins win Olympic Gold. Suddenly people are talking about my sport. The Olypmics track cycling is likely to bring further success. It feels a bit like I have arrived – it also feels slightly like the secret is out!
The day of the final stage of the Tour (a sprinters stage, with Wiggins overall win already assured)I rode 65miles into the Peak District. I saw so many Team Sky jerseys, as well as genuine British Cycling team members riding. Let’s hope the momentum continues – I look forward to the day I go to a bar and don’t have to request they put the cycling on!
Sorry I haven’t written for a while. I have been busy. I built a bike.