Finally my first 24 hour race was here. Before I say anything else I want to thank the two people who made it happen, my support team. Juliet and Tim were awesome, I couldn't have asked for more from a support crew!!!
One thing that concerned me about Moonride was the 10pm start, effectively meaning that a 40 hour stint without much sleep was required. In the week leading up I made sure I went to bed early and slept in until 7.30am. Maybe extra sleep makes you super sleepy because all day Friday I couldn't stop yawning.
The lead up to the start was very relaxed, I had spent the two weekends previous, packing stuff into boxes, getting food ready and writing instructions for my crew and so I really didn't have much to do once we arrived in Rotorua.
On Friday I was pleased to see a nice layer of cloud and so keeping the temperature warm. Of course, as darkness fell the clouds cleared and it started to get really cold. We registered and set up camp at 4pm. We camped next to Paul and backed our easy ups together so that our support crew had company all night.
After a quick plate of pasta at Fat Dog it was back to the ranch and bed for me. I got 2 hours lying down but didn't sleep - there was too much laughing at America's next Top Model going on next door.
I got to the start at 9.30pm and didn't bother with a warm up, it was mighty cold and I made a last minute decision to wear a beanie under my helmet and I was pleased I did. The first 3 laps were a blur, getting used to the track, getting passed by people all enthused on their first lap, finding good lines and trying to relax. By about lap 6 a felt settled and relaxed and was getting feedback that my lap times were consistent.
My first milestone was a battery change after 3 hours and these first 3 hours just disappeared. Poor Juliet wasn't looking warm at all and was wearing 2 puffers!!! Prior to the start and after a practise lap I set a goal of completing 45 laps. I thought if I got to 40 I'd be happy and 45 would be great. After a few hours I realised that 45 was certainly on as my lap times were consistently under 30 minutes.
Somewhere during the night Juliet told me my calorie consumption was trending down and because it was cold and I was not drinking as much as anticipated I needed to eat more. So, I forced some more food down. This was awesome, early feedback and prevented me from being in a deficit position that would be very hard to come back from.
The hardest time of the night was about 4am. I realised I was struggling as I was feeling a little nausious and so came into the pits for a sit down in front of the heater, some hot soup and some bread. I started to get pretty cold and didn't stop for long. By the time I got half way around the next lap I felt great so it was well worth the stop.
Just before daylight it got pretty cold and there was an eiry mist in the forest. Once it got light it was like we were riding on a new track. Everything was new and new lines opened up. As a consequence the next few laps flew by and I sped up considerably. It was suggested I slow down a little as there was still along was to go. I never really got warm and kept all my thermal clothing on.
Tim had gone back to the Ranch for a nights sleep and arrived back at around 8am. I had set a goal to get to 20 laps by the time he arrived and I think I was on 21 or 22 so was super pleased. Juliet then headed back for a sleep.
At this point I swapped bikes for a lap while Tim gave the Santa Cruz a clean and lube at this point I managed to go out on a lap without a drink bottle! After this I stopped every lap for a small mug of soup and to grab some food (bread mostly) as well as a Sharkys resupply. This strategy seemed to work very well. The odd cup of coffee that I was provided with was most welcome too.
I couldn't have timed the start of the 12 hour any worse. Just as I was going over the bridge the first guys passed me. I was kind of unimpressed with the behaviour, and Chris Sherwood was unfortunate enough to hear what came out of my mouth as I got hit. It was nice to hear other riders give the aggressive ones a hard time.
The 12 hour people eventually settled down. I was disappointed to be hit by 12 hour riders 4 times. There seemed to be a lot of aggression and lack of paitence and I hope some people new to mountain biking weren't put off by this.
Sometime before Juliet returned, possibly about 3pm, I had a bit of a grizzle and said to Tim I wanted to stop. He of course took this literally - I was just having a grizzle. Tim even texted Lisa but lucky for me Megan had just gone past and when I caught her and had a chat I felt a lot better and so by the time I got to the pits again I was happy. Tim was very confused and claims that it will never ever be possible to understand women!
I continued to pause every lap, and a mercy dash for extra soup was required! I saw Jude a few times and found out she had had a flat tyre in the night. As darkness fell I lost my way a little and slowed a lot. I just didn't have a goal, time seemed to be standing still.
Then just after 8pm I heard I was catching the girl in front. My enthusiam multiplied and I was off! I wanted to see how close I could get. I pulled out 3 of my 10 fastest laps in the last 3 laps. In the end she did 49 laps and I finished with 48. I can't help but wonder if I could have caught her with a couple more hours notice!
I am really pleased with my how I went in my first 24 hour event. I've got one more of these lined up and then I think I'll find something new involving long distance and mountain bikes!