24 heures du mud

3:35 pm Stupidity, Bikes

It’s getting on for a week since CLIC24 and my shoes haven’t quite dried out yet. That’s two pairs - having taken one pair off to (the shame!) go to sleep for a bit, I couldn’t quite bear to put them back on so I treated myself to a fresh pair. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Here’s a quick run-down of the weekend:

  • Thursday 8pm - start packing. Try to ignore increasingly desperate weather forecast
  • Friday 8pm - crowbar last bit of gear into van, set off in rain
  • 8.25pm - bask in beautiful evening sunshine breaking through a clearing sky over the Mendips. Think that maybe it won’t be too bad after all
  • 8.30pm - get van stuck in mud driving in to camping field
  • 9pm - put awning up, get fridge going, generally make preparations
  • 9.30pm - lock van keys inside van. Leave some people to try and recover it, go to get some grub
  • 10.00pm - finish rather fine chili con carne just as caterers close for evening and offer free burgers - bonus!
  • 10.15pm - return to camping field, find that Alan has successfully opened van and recovered keys and that awning has filled up with people
  • 11.oopm - bed
  • Saturday 8am - arise to slightly grey but not unpleasant day
  • 11.45am - wonder where the hell the morning went, develop slight panic
  • 11.55am - hydration system not yielding water. Get penknife out to open slot in bite valve. Success! Hastily attempt to stow knife blade back to front, cut finger open
  • 11.56am - stick glove on, stop worrying
  • 11.57am - decide that I’m overdressed, take a couple of layers off
  • 11.59am - torrential downpour. Put one of the layers back on again
  • 12noon - the start!
  • 12.05pm - I finally stop faffing and start riding
  • 6pm - five laps done in alternate sunshine and heavy showers. Course dry and whizzy in places, sticky in others. Come in for change of clothes/bike
  • 7pm - finally get out on course again having faffed for England with lights/MP3 player/etc
  • 7.18pm - light battery falls off bike
  • 8.20pm - back into the pits. Apply gaffer tape and zipties to battery pack. Eat portion of chips kindly delivered by Seb
  • 11pm - smile wryly as the theme to Mission Impossible kicks in at the top of the speedy rocky bit
  • 1am - start to doze off and make stupid mistakes. Having done nine laps, decide to allow myself a two-hour nap
  • 1.30am - Sandra and Isla asleep in van. Unroll sleeping bag in awning. Chew through some pasta, go to sleep
  • 3.30am - alarm goes off. Er, apparently
  • 5.30am - I wake up and curse quietly at (a) wasting time sleeping and (b) having missed the often-magical dawn lap
  • 5.32am - look outside awning into murk. Dawn lap clearly wasn’t in any way magical
  • 6am - off again. 15 lap goal now clearly way out of reach. Decide to just do what I can
  • 6.20am - persistent rain begins and doesn’t stop until mid-afternoon. Some sections of course disintegrate into slurry
  • 7.20am - pitstop for toast
  • 11.20am - complete 12th lap, feel pretty badgered, clearly no chance of getting round again before midday. Stop
  • 12noon - THE END. Although most people have already finished. Rain gets heavier
  • 1pm - after possibly the quickest clearance of an MTB event field in history, the only people left on the site are us and a bloke who’s camper has broken down.
  • 1.30pm - take run-up at exit, successfully negotiate woodchip-lined Pit Of Doom, make for home

So there you go. 12 laps, which I was initially a bit disappointed with but later found out that only four people had bettered (out of 87 soloists), so actually quite pleased. I’ve spent most of the time since then cleaning bikes, doing laundry and avoiding stairs…

2 Responses
  1. samuri :

    Date: May 23, 2007 @ 11:46 am

    wow! 4th in the world! That’s very good. I’m always a bit miffed when I hear about good results in the rain. Whenever I race it’s always in fantastic weather so everyone does really well. I’m sure I’d win if it was raining.

  2. Nick :

    Date: May 25, 2007 @ 7:54 am

    That’s well done. It’s always hard to race in the rain - once it starts that’s when I used to start making places up.

    Well done Mike for keeping going.

    So wet that you’ve resorted to boating?

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