A friend suggested to ride Revolve 24 at brands hatch race circuit just to see how many miles we could do in 24 hours (for fun). I’m always up for a challenge so I thought I’d give it a go, when I read into it I realised it was an Official qualifier for ‘Race Across America ‘ where you had to complete 340 miles in 24 hours to qualify, so then the challenge became even more exciting!
I started training at the Athlete Lab twice a week. The end of ride reports really helped me keep track of my progress. At the end of August, I intensified the training and one day I ended up spending 12 hours solid in the Lab completing all the sessions I could do. The staff even set me up a table for my food & drinks which really helped especially as I rode around 200 miles during that time.
I was well prepared for the weekend, hired a Motorhome / spare bike/food and basically took all the cycling Equipment I had!
Saturday 3.30 pm and we’re off! Nice slow steady pace trying to work out where I had to pedal and where I could roll to save energy while still keeping a decent pace. The first 3 hours flew by and my energy levels were good and I stayed focused.
Bang !!! A spoke snapped on my front wheel instantly buckling it. I was only a quarter of the way into a lap – I couldn’t believe it and didn’t want to walk all the way back to change the wheel but couldn’t seem to get the spoke out. With no tape to secure, I improvised. I took a Veloforte energy bar out of my pocket, tore off a chunk and moulded it to hold the spoke in place and get me back to the pits. It worked! Back at the pits I roll in and see my two friends waiting to put my spare wheel om, just like it was an F1 race change. What a laugh.
Night has begun to close in, so time for a bit of dinner (pasta/beans) some warm clothes and lights for the night section. I continued to focused on small targets, getting the miles in and refueling as and when.
Sunrise! Wow, what a feeling that was! A quick stop, wash, change of clothes, breakfast then straight back out. Strangely, throughout the ride, I never felt tired or even thought about having a nap, but I think sleep deprivation did start to set in as I soon couldn’t work out what pace I had to do to complete the ride and went into a bit of panic around 10 am. My friends reassured me to just keep going at the same pace and it would be fine.
Around 1 pm on Sunday a few friends and family turned up to support me which gave me a real boost, now I’m thinking “Yes I can actually do this!”
At 2.30 pm I completed the 340-mile target with an hour to go. #stravakudos I was so happy and started to ease up when my friend shouted out “well done but keep going as you’re actually in 6th place in the soloist category” Half of me was thinking - yes let’s do this but the other half just wanted to relax. I kept the pace going until 3 pm – then hit the dreaded wall …… even half a pack of jelly babies didn’t seem to give me a boost. I pulled into the pits stumbled off the bike and said to my friends “I’m done I’ve got nothing left” They helped me off the bike and into a chair, knees hurt back hurt, hands and feet were tingling…
I still wanted to do the final lap to see the chequered flag. I asked my friend to see when I had to rejoin the race to complete it , he came back and said “Now ! as they are going to shut the pit lane” So with a big deep breath and a massive struggle, my friends helped me out the chair and virtually lifted me back on the bike and off I went.
I’m sore and I’m tired but this is the final lap! I came down the start-finish straight and thought a sprint finish and then I’m done. I went past the Finish line and they rang the bell for the final lap! At first, I thought I’ve just given it everything and still have one lap to do but then I actually laughed and thought myself “oh well one more’. I completed the ride with a couple of guys having a chat and got on the finishing straight for the ‘Actual’ last time relieved to see the chequered flag
In total, I completed 357 miles, climbed a total of 35900ft and burnt 13,000 calories and I am very pleased to say I qualified for RAAM and came 6th out of the 70 soloists in my category! Over the moon!
Big thanks to all the guys and girls at the Athlete Lab especially Marc & Tom for all their help and advice with my training, it really helped me to get the results I wanted!
Few weeks rest then back to the lab to start my winter training!
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