Friday, July 04, 2008

Geocentric Outdoors
June 2008 - 1st Place Solo Female

All I can honestly say is I’m not quite sure what happened or how I did it. My estimate is that I rode 300 kilometres in 22 hours. In the middle of the night I stopped for an hour and a half with an exhausted feeling all over. I didn’t know if I was going to get on the bike again but when I did things were good. So they’re the facts that tie my memorable moments from the race together.

The idea of riding for 24 hours was a little too daunting from me to comprehend. With that in mind, my approach was to ride for as long as I could but….there was a but….a little healthy competition wouldn't go astray. I knew Jeff was only going to be riding for 16 hours, the mathematics suggested if I rode the whole thing, the tally at the end of the day might be in my favour. I decided this was a great joke and started spreading the word.
It was a joke but really I think it was the joke that got me through in the end. It was my first real experience of talking myself up and then being in the unenviable position of having to deliver.
I rode with Anna for the first few laps. She taught me how to enjoy the mud puddles and whilst I new the novelty would wear off, it was a nice reminder of how important it was to enjoy the good parts of the race and the course. I remembered back to relishing the experience of my first Ironman, doing something new, daunting and not quite comprehendible. I was so happy in that race and I attribute much of the good day I had, to that positive mindset.

So what were the enjoyable elements of riding for that long? It was a beautiful setting and a fun course. There were people squealing with glee on the descents, one was described as the runway, we let our brakes off at the top of the hill and flew down onto a smooth open grassy field. The climbs were tough but rewarding, there was winding single track and some open fire trail where in the early hours of the night I would greet the full moon. The track took us back through the camping ground twice on each loop. There were bands, people sitting around campfires, tents and coffee. It was a great atmosphere.

The mud holes got bigger through the night. They got on top of some people and they started to get me down. I felt the dread creeping in. I decided that if I kept riding them, I would inevitably be eaten. From then on the method was to walk, leap, squelch and most importantly wheel the bike through the mud. I was much happier.

When tiredness finally got the better of me I pulled into the support area at 1:30 am. In this zone I was treated like the Mud Princess. Karen removed my muddy shoes and cleaned my feet, the rest of me wasn't working, so she put on my dry socks and covered me in sleeping bags, I was handed food and hot coffe and left to rest. An hour and a half later when the determination hadn't fallen asleep Karen I mounted my clean bicycle and set off again.

In the early hours of the morning, Karen told me the good news that I was well ahead of the other solo females…but…”here’s the but, Jeff’s just got on his bike", basically, the bad news was I had to ride to the clock struck 12.

It was morning though and everybody talks about the rejuvenation it provides. It was a really beautiful course and the mud was drying. I could take some longer breaks at the end of each lap, the camp site had awoken and encouragement was flowing.

I quite enjoyed riding the slowest lap ever on my last lap, trying not to come in too far before 12 o-clock, the nice slow pace of my thoughts in the beautiful setting. I was happy with what I did.

Big thanks of course to Karen - the support was just amazing, and the event organisers for this one. They've chosen a truely beautiful location and worked really hard to put on a fantastic event that really brings the Queensland Mountain Bike Community together.