At the weekend I took part in the Gisburn Dirty Dozen 12hr event and it was ace. Went into the weekend pretty relaxed considering the ordeal I was about to put my body through but excited at the prospect of riding my bike all day. I only had a few weeks of reasonable training since the UK champs and I just rested up a few days leading up to the event so I was dubious of how I’d feel during but sure I could go the distance.
Saturday dawned after a crap nights sleep (although not as bad as my dads I’m told) and set about getting ready for the race as the mist on the surrounding hills lifted in the early light. I knew there’d be little time in the morning to sort stuff so I was pretty organised, which is rare for me so had everything sorted with time to spare leading up to the 7.30 start time. It was a running start and as stated in my previous post I’m not a fan of running but to be honest I wasn’t bad at all, quite pleasant actually, ha! Got on my bike, which I’d managed to loose for a second or two, mounted and off I span.
Plan was to go off reasonably hard and see what happened with thought process of either I’d be able to handle it or I’d blow and learn how to suffer to make sure I get to the end. The lap was good, brutal on a few of the sections in the second half of the lap but yes, good. It was hard to work out who was solo as there was no normal number boards (timing chips though, good considering the size of the event), had an educated guess but set about riding against myself and not them.
The first few laps ticked by nicely, knew I was pushing but not going into the red but about (and only) 3hours in my body started to kick up a fuss. I started to feel fatigue in my legs, my back was still stiff (usually takes a few hours for it to loosen) and triceps were going from the out-of-saddle action on the brutal sections. I had also mixed my energy drink to strong and it was making me feel sick.
All in all I felt terrible and the fact I kept looking at my watch and seeing it in the 3hr time bracket for what seemed an eternity didn’t really help. The awful thought of possibly dropping out entered my head but I then start telling myself all the things needed to push on; ”You signed up for this” ”you better be smiling” ”pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever” and the best, blunt one ”man the fuck up!”. I slowed a little, spinning on the bridleways and pushing on the single track, pits were a little longer and I tried to stay chirpy as possible, especially in the pit with my dad as he was doing, as ever a top job.
I felt pretty naff for hours, expecting for it to continue until the end be that at 12hr or until I climbed off, which I kept telling myself was not an option so pushed it to the back of my mind. I tried to look forward to things in the pit and about 8hrs in I put on shades and my mp3 player. Now I don’t know if they were the key but from that point I felt strong, if pretty fatigued. The following lap I also found out I was in 4thplace and not far from 3rd! Which only spurred me on more. I didn’t know the rider in front, so didn’t know what jersey I was looking for, I just aimed at everyone who was in front of me.
The last few laps I was in pain, body was well and truly gone and my IBS was kicking up a massive tantrum with the bloat that I get on a day to day basis being exaggerated from 10+hrs of chugging energy drink and sitting on a bike. It felt like someone was kicking me in the stomach. Fun!
Came around about 11hr 50min in and even though the chances of catching 3rd was slim I thought ‘feck it!’, said to my Dad ”all or nothing” and went out again. I didn’t catch 3rd, he did an awesome job and put in a fast lap (and I wasn’t actually as close as I thought) but I wasn’t bothered, I was just happy to have gone the distance.
A day or so on and I feel pretty good even if I was 3kg lighter than I should have been so need to work on my liquid strategy but yes, still feel better than after UK Champs despite pushing, suffering and racing for a greater length of time. Sweet.
I’m starting to really dig this ultra endurance shiz 🙂