In 2014 I rode for team UFO and we came 3rd mixed in a time of 5:54 in great conditions. This year I rode for the same team....
The 'team' had their mind set on a time 25min faster than last year chasing another particular mixed team !!!!
We stayed in a guest house in Montegue, the rain poured all night and those of you that know me... I have a rule against riding in the rain. So as I lay awake listening to the rain I felt my anxiety levels rising. At 4:30 my alarm goes off, try to put on the light and there is no power in this little guest house. So we are now getting ready, pinning numbers and packing bags in the dark ,cold and rain.
I was not happy.
Get to the race, 5 minutes before we had to be in our pen one of my team mates is trying to pump my tyre and unscrews the valve so now I have a flat tyre at the start. Quick fix, he screws the valve back in and we are on our way.
This rattled me just a little more!!
We head out like bats out of hell.... The team that we were hoping to beat started 1 min behind us and after 20km they hadn't caught us... Made me think we may have been hauling a bit hard!! I felt horrible, my legs were dead, could barely hang on to the group and it felt like I was riding thro mud.. And we had a monster of a head wind which didn't help.
Eventually at 50km I went over a bump and was so happy to feel my wheel rim. My tyre was flat again. The valve was leaking all the time and I was riding on a half pumped tyre for the first 50km. Maybe this was why I was struggling. It Gave me a glimmer of hope that things could change!
Anyway, the rest of the team rode on and 3 guys stayed back to help me change my tube and chase back to the group. Which we did. Suddenly I felt like a million bucks. Amazing what a pumped tyre could do. I also had a stern talking to myself to pull myself together and stop being a baby.
After the compulsory 120km stop I felt so much better, the next 40km was pretty much balls to the wall , it was windy and cold but I loved that 40km until the next compulsory stop.
The last 40km is survival 'go til you blow'. It started pouring with rain, cold windy rain,everyone is tired and snappy and just doing the best they can to hold on. The team really did work well together to look after each other and help when they could.
Finally the finish line, pure heaven!
5 minutes faster than last year in horrible conditions. Could we have asked for more?! No where near the team we were 'chasing' who won the mixed category but we did win the fastest FULL team across the line which is awesome since this is a team event. But a time of 5hr50 only gave us 6th place in a very competitive mixed category.
Until next year... I WILL BE BACK!