Through after the first lap and the commentators announched I was the first solo female through, Ali agreed with them. I was handed a bottle and some food without me stopping and headed back out. I was walking a couple of the steeper hills and was rubbish through the twisty singletrack but I was enjoying the course and for the first few laps was riding with the same few riders who were also soloing. A couple of times I even rode the "Jump of Doom", I was having fun!
Keep Pedalling for lending us a Dirt Worker so no-one had to queue at the bike wash) to sort out a muddy clogged up bike. The course had dried up so it was back onto the Superfly.
Nighttime came pretty fast and it was time for lights and partway through the night 3/4's. I kept plugging away and by now the lead had gone up to 30minutes, but I knew anything could happen and so I couldn't stop. Each lap I came in and demanded a doughnut whatever else Ali tried to give me, this apparently caused lots of amusement.
I realised that I could get to twenty laps without having to speed up much, I didn't fancy pushing my body to go five minutes faster so I could get out for 21! The second to last lap was the hardest, my knees decided they hurt the most and I was a little worried I was doing permanent damage. But heading out on the last lap things felt a bit better, I bumped into Paul who rode with me through the singletrack and suddenly I could follow and not think. Lots of people were cheering and I was still smiling. The singletrack lurkers tent gave me some bucks fizz and I cross the finish line five minutes after 2pm to shake hands with Pat.
It might be a solo race but I'm not sure I could have done it without Ali, she was a star in the Pits and also stayed up for the full 24 hours!
All that was left was to shower, pack up and me to be helped up onto the podium. Ali is already planning next year but I'm not so sure!
Lots of people to thank:
- Ali for being the best pit bunny in the world
- Helen for the bed, extra food and perfect bottle handups
- Cookson Cycles for the help with the bike, getting it ready when they are busy, lending us the Gazebo and basically being the best bike shop in the world.
- Squirt Lube for keeping my bike running
- The marshalls who kept me going through the night
- Rich and Shona for the Dirt Worker and Jenn for washing the bike
- Minx for help with clothing - no one else seems to have such a great range of womens bike clothes.
- Everyone else I have forgot because I am still really tired!