Riding a bike for 24hrs.
So where to start… the idea of attempting the 24 hour time trial came about in 2016 after completing Lakesman iron distance triathlon I was looking for the next challenge and as I prefer the longer stuff then this seemed like the perfect thing… I first attempted the ‘24’ in 2017 but at ten hours pulled out for a variety of reasons one of which being the awful weather.
So, fast forward to July this year with the experience of last year and two twelve hours under my belt and having ridden a fair few miles over the last 18 months, I was ready to try again. The start for me was at 13:39 on the Saturday afternoon which thankfully after last year was pretty nice, not too hot and not too windy and none of the torrential rain of the previous year, however the bad news was that due to some unexpected road works the course had now changed and would be up and down the infamous “battlefield” out and back… What this meant was hills and lots of them and that also the night circuits would not be on nice straight duel carriageways but instead on rural and winding roads, at this point I was aware that my original target of 400 miles would be much harder to attain.
The first few hours were fairly uneventful apart from a nagging feeling of nausea and not being able to eat and also forgetting to take pain killers before the start for my bunion which was becoming more and more painful. As it started to get dark, I came in to change into my night gear and swap to the road bike, at this point still in good spirits but starting to be concerned by the fact I wasn’t managing to eat anywhere near enough food. By this point I’d abandoned the original plan of very few stops and was stopping as and when I needed.
As it drew dark I realised that I actually was really enjoying riding at night it was calm and peaceful and as a long distance swimmer, I quite enjoy being with my own thoughts plus the support out on the course and from my long suffering other half Mr Bateman was awesome, especially the bumble bee, scooby doo and the guitarist, no these were not hallucinations! But finally, at around 11pm my stomach gave up and I was very sick, bizarrely the next couple of hours after this were probably the best I felt mentally. At around 4am I was feeling really quite low, so I stopped and went to bed for 20 minutes which made a massive distance and Rob then kicked me out of the van door into the daylight. We were still on the rural roads until 9am which is when we were directed back to the finishing circuit, a 17 mile ride of pure evil hills lol oh those hills.
Once on the finishing circuit it was simply a case of holding on until my 24 hours was up, at one point the amazing new LEJOG record holder Mike Broadwith said “keep it up looking strong”… as he zoomed past me WOW! but whose sadistic idea was it to stick what felt like Mount Everest on that circuit, oh my goodness I have no words as to how much that hill hurt, so much so that I finished 5 minutes early to avoid having to go up it one more time!!!
Final total was just shy of 346 miles, less than I’d hoped for but happy with it given that I’d barely eaten and those hills.
So, will I do it again? Oh yes next year! It’s an awesome race with a great atmosphere and despite everything I loved it! The support from my lovely OH the Teams and the other riders is second to none on this event and I recommend it to anybody. Now to find my legs for a fast 100 lol 24 hour fellowship here I come!