First lap done and I came in to the arena, new bottle and a belgain waffle were handed over and I was off again, it felt like I was near the back of the field but that was fine. Round the arena and I found that there was a nice rooty section around the cabins, not so great while trying to eat. It was at this point I realised the big hill up to where the arena was based last year would be in every lap. It was okay at this point I was getting up it in middle ring (Chris's voice nagging me in my head) but I knew soon it would be a granny ring climb.
Round again and more food and lots of cheering followed me round the arena, I think it was this lap it started raining. I ended up riding the singletrack from halfway with two guys, for the first time I had a wheel to follow and it definitely meant I rode it faster. Into the arena and I grabbed my gillet, more food and a gel for halfway round the lap.
Out again, more food, more cheering people were great in the arena. A warning that a short slippy section was slippier meant I rode into the tape getting a little tangled. But I felt I was riding the singletrack sections well and on the climbs just settled into a pace and let people ride off on me.
At some point my light was put on my bike and 500m later felt off, some kind soul came to my rescue and put it on and tightened the clamp for me. Exposure Lights also helped me out when I realised the connector on my piggyback battery was bent by lending me a spare Joystick for the race so I didn't have to worry about my lights. With my 6pack on my bars and a joystick on my head it felt like I was riding as fast as I had been in the daylight.
Out of the last lap and Ali thought I had about half an hour on 4th so I just had to enjoy the lap and ensure it took me less than two hours. It started raining again this lap and a very soggy Ali was waiting for me at the finish.
The next day we packed up the tent in the gaps in the rain and headed to the prize giving. First was the raffle where Ali won a huge food hamper! Then I was up, 3rd in the 12hour. I was really pleased to make the podium.
Then it was time to drive home, we still have lots of kit and bikes to sort out, the fun of racing.
- Ali who was fantastic in the pit, put up with stressy me on friday night, did all the driving and most of the packing up on sunday.
- Chris for making me work hard on our night rides, even if at the time I don't appreciate it.
- Cookson Cycles for ensuring I had the best bike in the world.
- Exposure lights for help with the lights
- Everyone who was cheering for me, it makes me keep going
- Joolze for the Percy Pigs
- The JMC/Ragley lot for all the encouragement