10 August 2009
sleepless in the saddle
sun burnt, dehydrated and pleasantly tired. a room of chaos, a muddy bike in the hall and a small pile funky smelling lycra. oh, a few half drunk bottles of lucozade,some very melted brie and a bag of melted/reformed/melted/reformed jelly babies. all adds up to a top weekend of camping and riding fun.
our team, unimaginatively named, NATS Singlespeed + Special Guest, was entered in the mixed category. all we had to do was ride as many laps of the 8m course in 24hrs as possible in a relay stylee.
Simon-riding god and owner of 'the best bike in the world'
chris-sharer of pants and gloves
alex-still in search of the perfect tyre
me-flapping around worrying about the time
and our special guest trio-enjoying a pre trans wales taper
not having ridden in a team before i was unsure what to expect. secretly i thought it would be easier than solo-i was wrong! firstly there's the pressure of knowing that someone's waiting for you to get back, no slowly but surely attitude here. then there's the element of nerves that i wasn't expecting. rather than just being a bit nervous before the start then settling into a rhythm of pedaling and pushing. i got full on race nerves every time i stepped into the change over area. then there was the 'down time' between laps. i apologise to everyone in the team and especially jane for constantly asking what the time was and how long i had before i had to go back out.
however, the pay off for this, is having a great bunch of folks to hang out with and sense of camaraderie that's obviously missing when going it alone. and the added bonus of having extra pit bunnies (fearless lucy and cambridge supporting ali). i know that jane enjoyed this a lot more than siting in a large marque waiting for my slow return and wondering what mood i'd be in.
as for the actual riding, well we were certainly very lucky with the weather. i don't think the course would have stood up to the rain and it could have been a very different event but that's the chance you take. riding on a mixture of chocolate blamonge and a mattress made of hay is what you have to expect and not something to complain about when so many people are circling a muddy field and weaving between trees. there where sections that made me whoop and grin and others that i dreaded and became my nemesis, some parts seemed to surprise each lap!
tactically we were all wrong. a 'handicap' of two ladies, no gears and me doing the first lap. but i think it was this complete disregard of competitive nous that led to such a relaxed (apart from me!) and chilled atmosphere. pleasingly we all did the same number of laps, no-one was left waiting, there was no falling out and despite a few spills and a chain malfunction we managed a credible 5th place.
good work guys!