A couple of weeks ago myself and my team of 5 took part in Newnham parks Bontrager twentyfour 12.
I got the idea to do it as a challenge to raise money for hospiscare, Exeter universities campus services charity of the year.
As my last cross country race experience was some what terrifying I was pretty apprehensive about what I'd signed us up too. 24 hours of relay cycling night and day.
On arriving I realised how huge the event was. It was amazing to see so many tents and vans and how big the event arena was. The vibe was really relaxed and it didn't feel like a serious athletic event. obviously no beer or shots but lots of people milling around staying up late and enjoying the live music.
The next day I tried to keep my nerves in check knowing it was going to be a long night and day but it felt different knowing it wasn't once chance all out and your one run counts. In fact with the fun atmosphere of the kids race and relaxed approach of the past racers it was chilled but exciting.
Sue started us off and when it was my turn I was excited to know what the course was like. We didn't pre ride it seen as we were gonna do it about 5 times anyway! The course was awesome it had long slow climbs and short sharp get out the saddle climbs with loose rocky descents but mainly rooty technical single track descents. It sounds like a nightmare for passing but it was really well thought out and everyone was really considerate calling ahead to pass. With all my training I actually was keeping up a good pace every lap and did more over taking than being over taken which really surprised and pleased me!
My first night ride went really good and I was loving it, so much smoother lines that I choose in the dark and it was cooler and the perfect temperature. Just amazing although so different to the day. People were silent but riding in big groups together, almost earie. But the places where the track ran along side the campsite were amazing. So many people cheering and playing music. plenty of banging saucepans!
The second night ride at about 4 am was totally different, by then it was a cold start and there were a lot less people on the track and no one to cheer you on. My lights were both on red so I was nervous I would get stranded in the dark and then my light cleat came loose so I couldn't see in front of me on both lights. I fell off on the fireroad in a stupid place and honestly for the first time thought that it was hard, but I kept going and knew that it would get better when the sun came up.
On my next run it chucked it down on the most exposed part of the course and I got soaked and pedalling was hard going, I'd also only had two hours sleep and was really tired so when I finished I genuinely hoped I would not have to go out again but it looked like I was going to do the last run.
When it got to five past eleven and was chaining over from Emma to do my last run I felt elated and so glad to have a final run, The best I had felt after about 2 am was whenever I was on the bike and I got to finish on high tho I had to race round to get one last person round to count another lap on our total but I did it. I gave it everything I got and pedalled my heart out. When I came back into the area it was ten too and I had five minutes to get Jim out. I over took everyone sprinting through.
It was an amazing feeling to finish. We came 10/19 teams in our category and did 6 laps each. Although you have to dig deep when it gets hard and I'm still tired now! I would definitely do it again. It was a great event and so much fun.