Perfect weather (a few days of light rain before) for the lead up the event and a killer forecast (10'C min-26'C max) for the weekend were the signs we needed, this was going to be an awesome weekend!
This would be my first attempt at a 24 in a large team in 4 years and I was a little nervous to be honest, I spent the lead up week in hard core training for the upcoming Fling, and it had left the old body pretty hammered and sore. Being in a team of 6 I knew would be up for 6 or so criterium style sprint laps over the 24 hour period, and sprinting like that is far from what I normally do... this was going to be a challenge :)
Richard lead it out for our team, putting in a cracking pace for the first lap, then it was onto Peter, Andrew, Michael and myself. Our 6th man couldn't be there until 5pm, so we continued like this until then, then started doubling for the night. Usually you would think I would love doubling, I am a long ride specialist after all and this short course sprinting is far from what I am good at; but I dreaded the double, I knew it would hurt to try and hold a decent speed for twice as long, and I was right.
Brad an Emily were supporting our team (there where tirelessly there for the whole weekend looking after us, it was priceless to have their help!), and at the end of my first lap of the double, Brad come up and cheered me through transition, it gave me a real lift, what a top bloke! My night lap times were abismal, at the end of the double I sat on the ground defeated, I was shattered by the result. I decided to try and get some sleep and see how felt in the morning...
I couldn't sleep though, and was back up at 3am, checking on the team, we were running perfectly to plan, no major dramas, so I waited for next lap, relieved I would be back into single laps. The sun was starting to come up and as usual for these events, so was my mood, I put in a good lap on the Anthem (I had been using the friendlier Trance at night) and was really enjoying myself, hooking the corners and laying into the climbs.
After this lap I started to get a little sick, I felt like rubbish and Emily speculated I hadn't easten any protein, which I hadn't. I did not feel like eating, but shoved in some of Andrew's rice and tuna, it was hard to eat (anything), and I didn't finish it, but I did perk up for the next lap, although it was slower than previous ones. Neil's team had just transitioned before us, so I figured I would try and chase him down, about halfway around I came up behind a guy dressed in orange (like Neil was) and gave him a tickle and a laugh... when he turned to me and stared, I realised, "that's not Neil!", so I quickly pedalled off, most embarrassed :D haha
I never did catch Neil, he had his shit together at this event and set a cracking pace, well done mate!
Marie Clare (who was doing the massage there) offered me a massage after this lap, and it was awesome recovery, I felt great afterwards and followed it with a B&E roll and freshly squeezed OJ from the onsite vendors. It was great to have the time to be able to take advantage of the facilities at an event (usually I would be out lapping instead of soaking up the atmosphere like this). It was very nice indeed!
For the final lap Brad dared me to where some Michael Angelo's David pants he had brought back from a recent trip to Italy. I couldn't refuse, so I stripped off and headed up to transition to do the final lap for the team. Richard was out on the 2nd last lap, and if he ran to pace, he would come through with 5 minutes to spare. Nervously the team stood there waiting to see if he could pull it off and come through in time for me to get one more lap... while I was standing there people started to notice my attire (really, I can't see why they would! :)) and as I looked over to Stu who was on the mike doing commentary I saw him see me, and he paused, got a very silly smirk on his face, did a double take, then started to take the piss right out of my shiny while "never seen the sun" body over the PA to everyone there :) B@stard :) haha I guess I asked for it!!!
Richard couldn't get back soon enough as far as I was concerned, I needed to get out of there, fast! When he came through, we did a quick change over and I gave the Anthem some hell on the congestion free final lap. The legs were shot, so I couldn't pull a stellar time, and the motivation to do so wasn't there either, it was the final lap and we were done anyway. It was a fun lap though, if not somewhat slow.
Toward the end Willo came up behind me, I hadn't ridden near him before. I had no idea it was him, I just knew someone was there behind me, faster than me. As he got close I moved over to let him go by, he didn't just jump in and go for it, he waited and asked "are you sure?", "go for it" I said. When he went past I realised it was him, how polite is this guy! What a top bloke!
Coming into the finish was golden, we'd done well (for us), coming 16th out of 68 teams. I rushed to the car and got changed (that outfit had humiliated me enough :)) and chatted with the teams. A top event really, perfect weather and well run by the organisers. The course got chopped up into a pretty rough mess by the end, but generally it was awesome fun still, many A, B and C lines had appeared over the weekend around most of the bumpy bits.
Looking forward to next year, where I hear they will move it further away from the Scott, which will allow more people to do both events, excellent!
Here's Andrew's lap time comparison for our team... a clear win to Richard, and yes, we were racing each other ;)
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