One week to go…

This time next week, I’ll be a nearing the end of 24 hours of Exposure.

I’m experiencing my usual pre-big-race mixture of emotions.

  • Feeling unprepared
  • Feeling unfit
  • I’m scared. Scared of embarrassing myself, scared of the pain, scared of the mental torture
  • Worried about putting my brother, sister and two friends through 24 hours of looking after my every need, watching me self-harm
  • Worried I won’t do as well as I should
  • Excited that I’ll be testing myself
  • Excited about riding a fast bike along lovely trails
  • Excited for every single moment of clarity, where it is just me, a bike, a trail. The ultimate escapism.
  • Looking forward to meeting old friends, and making new ones
  • Feeling fit
  • Feeling prepared
  • And repeat

Bring it on.

Glentress Seven

The Glentress Seven was one of my favourite races last year. Seven hours of riding round an excellent course, in frankly appalling weather produced the ideal combination of fun, suffering and socialising. The choice of singlespeed wasn’t optimal, but added to the challenge. The onset of mild hypothermia towards the end made things a little spicy as well.

Anyway… the race is back for 2012, and I’ve dropped in my entry already. Reckon I’ll ride geared this year, and see what happens.

That was Rapha Supercross. Ouch

45minutes. That’s all. 45minutes.

Why is it so damn hard? And why am I (relatively) so slow in comparison to longer races? Frustrating. But addictive.

For the first time, I actually got a really good start, a flat sprint across the playing field before a tight right turn into the course proper. It was all a bit of a blur, but I got clipped in cleanly, and had a convenient gap open up in front of me, and took the opportunity. Round the first corner, holding my place… maybe 15th? Then into a series of straights and hairpins, and I gradually fade back. Fellow Velocaker Tim passed me, unsurprisingly, as he always beats me, and I tried to settle into a steady pace. But, my legs felt heavy, I felt sluggish, and just kept going backwards.

Maybe this was down to mountain biking the day before, maybe I was feeling a bit under the weather, maybe it was that I’ve been training for long endurance events all summer, maybe it was just one of those things. I think I eventually came in around the half way position, maybe a little further back.

On the plus side, it was a beautiful day, there was a wonderful atmosphere, I met up with lots of friends, both old and new AND got to have a few swigs of Duvel after the race (and could have had a hell of a lot more if I wasn’t driving). I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than racing, chatting, watching more racing, more chatting and laughing with lovely people.

Jo Allen got some great snaps (including one of me pre-race)

As did Cheryl King

I’ll be back at the next week. I’ll keep racing cross, it’ll always be “a bit of fun”, I’ll always want to do better though!