It's about time I gave the full story on my race in NZ a few weeks back. Looking back, it seems a bit funny that I was actually going over to race a solo 24hr MTB event. Usually these events suck up a lot your thoughts, and rightfully so, they demand a lot of respect. However, I believe I was too relaxed going into this event. The day before, Robyn and myself traveled the best part of 12 hours to arrive in the car park of the race site in Rotorua NZ. We pulled up in our 6 birth camper, set up our bed and went to sleep. I had a very solid 10hours sleep without any of the usually pre race tossing and turning. We woke up to a glorious day and plenty of time to get set up and wait for the other AyUp boys to arrive. All seemed fine, nothing to worry about.
The bikes got built, the body got primed and the race start rolled around with hardly a thought about what I was getting myself in for. I didn't even roll a slow lap. A short Le Mans start got the event started, Andy Fellow (racing in the 12hr event), Thomas Lindup and the winner Tony Hog blasted off the front with myself moving nicely just behind them. Not too much changed for the next 6 hour or so. Thomas had a bike hiccup, putting him in the back seat needing to do some work to get back into the race. Fellows lapped nicely off my wheel and Tony continued to smash the field apart.
Everything seemed fine. I became comfortable in second place, still well within striking distance of the leader. I was lapping very consistently, feeling I had a good grip on the race. Then, all of a sudden, I hit the wall. I dropped 15mins in the final 1/4 of the 16th lap. I decided to pop a no doze (I usually don't use any form of caffeine) and continue on. This ended up being a huge mistake. Half way around I could hardly even balance on two wheels. I nearly came off too many times so I needed to ride the fire road back to camp and call in a night. By the time I got back, my body temperature had dropped to a dangerous level. I was fine lapping around with arm warmers in the 4 or 5 degree temperatures, but once my heart rate had dropped, I started to feel the cold of the NZ night.
At this stage, I needed to make a decision, call it quits or get back out on the bike and ride myself into second place. With the Mont 24 on the following weekend and my body not feeling like sitting on a bike seat any more, I sat the rest of the race out.
It was a similar story for the other AyUp boys also. With the exception of Andy Fellows coming away with an easy win in the 12hr. Mark crashed out breaking a rib and struggling to breath while Matt crashed breaking a collar bone. The pain became too much for him after trying to continue racing. Better luck next time hey.