Sunday, 10 April 2011


Mont 24hr:
The first of my double was at 3:30am a time that I traditionally find hardest to motivate myself to get on the bike. I was pleased that I found it easy to get up, get ready and on the bike. It was almost enough to feel partial redemption of my sookfest at the 2009 Kona (see here and here).

I finished up that double just as the Eastern sky was starting to glow, we were around 8th overall and 6th in category. Even better was that the next to places were both in Men's 4s were only a total of 5 minutes up. Motivation levels were on the up and I was getting excited.

As the world got lighter around me I sat down to do the maths on laps, who had how many laps to do and when. I'd hoped I'd have 1, it was certain I'd have two including the last one of the race. I'll be honest, it took a good 10 minutes to calculate these simple equations in my head.

My mind is doing a good job of altering the memory of the next events, to make them see more grand and significant so bear with me as the only recourse I have against that is cold statements.

Word then came in that Dan had had a significant off on the course. The bruised and battered body that tuned up at camp only confirmed our fear, he wasn't going be able to ride out the race. We were down to a 3 man.

Alex was out on his lap (though he'd stated "I want to die" when asked how he felt) and Matt wasn't keen to do more laps so I floated the idea of doing a double on my next round to cover for Dan. Matt seemed unsure, I repeated "I'll do a double" it a few times. Each time the words left my mouth I became more sure. I wasn't just going to do two laps and help cover a team mate, I wanted to.

Rain had settled in before I started and quickly took the track from blown out and dusty to blown out and wet, but for a brief moment I had the opportunity to ride a few glorious sections that had grip, eyes up the trail, tyres laid over onto the side knobs, body relaxed enough to absorb the bumps from the rock strewn course. Onto the wet trails I worked to ride confidently, to put the bike where I wanted it to be rather than to just hope it would go, tough with a tired body and mind.

Finishing up the second lap of my double, Jack Lamshed caught up to me and demanded I get on his wheel so we could chat. I never got a chance to thank him (we'll get to why in a second) for kicking me up an extra gear for a few minutes of flat out drifting.... right up until a chunk of mud the size of Tasmania flicked off his wheel and lodged itself behind my left eyeball.

I rode the last 600m of singletrack without depth perception, stopping only to shove more mud into my eye with a muddy glove or finger. As I stood in camp with Alex's significant other digging around my eye socket with her finger I was told that I wasn't going out again. Matt's lap would be our last, despite it being likely he'd finish with 5-20 minutes to spare. I protested that I'd do the lap... providing Tasmania agreed to leave my optical cavity, something that took well into a hot shower to occur.

So there it is, official results aren't in, but we're presuming we still finished 8th overall and 6th in category. I'm pretty stoked about that, though sad that we didn't finish by racing out the clock.

On a personal level I'm really happy with the htfu spirit of doing the 2nd double. I completely forgot about "being awesome" but in my mind making the tough calls to do the tough jobs trumps it anyway. I'm a little sad that my times weren't quite as fast as the other guys in the team but that's tempered by the fact I was ready to keep lapping and they were spent.

D: 68.7km
A: 1,115

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