Racing the Chocolate Foot 8 hour Un-Welby

Writing this post from bed with a sore throat, snotty nose and doped up on an interesting combination of lactic acid, ibuprofen and lemon tea, I must admit I sometimes wonder why we do this to ourselves! I don’t think I have it in me to write a witty or detailed race report, but instead I thought I could share some of my more lighthearted observations in the hope that you might take note and get to the finish line in more reasonable shape than I was.

* Getting good sleep the night before a race is crucial. Don’t be stingy and jam five people into a three bed motel room on the side of a noisy highway, offering to sleep on the floor to make it cheaper.

* If you wake up with a sore throat and head cold, maybe racing is not the best idea.

* If you then decide you will race with a cold, taking a handful of vitamin C tablets in the hope it might miraculously disappear is a bad idea. Do you know what happens when you take four 1000mg vitamin C tablets? Google it, you’ll get the idea…

* When it is hot, you must still eat! 2.5 Hammer bars, 2 gels and a fruit rollup would not even be enough to get you through a day at the office, let alone racing your bike for eight hours. Find something you can get down quickly, wash it down with some water.  Do not roll around lap after lap giving the marshals something to laugh at when you are unsuccessfully force-feeding yourself to the point of gagging.

* If things are getting hectic, have a ‘breather lap’. Take your foot off the accelerator and just re-group for a while. First, concentrate on breathing. Second, accept pain as it is. Don’t think about it getting any better (it won’t), just embrace where you are.

* If you start hugging trees like you are a koala, take a breather lap. And I can tell you that even when you are a delirious koala, trees still hurt when you throw yourself at them.

* When you are arguing with yourself in third person, it might be best to do it in your head. People give you very strange looks when you argue with yourself for being too cautious and walking over rock drops.

* If someone yells ‘RIDER’…. answering in a  high pitched angry Pokey voice ‘OK Gumby, just a minute it’s not safe here’ might also get you yelled at.

* Smile, otherwise, why are you here? Part way through the race a lady told me to smile. I grunted at her. Then I felt bad. The next lap I gave her a big smile and thumbs up and it kept me on a high for at least another 10 minutes.

Kinda smiling, OK not really. Photo courtesy of The Seb.

* Do take the extra one minute to get your chain lubed mid-race. It is amazing how happy it can make both you and your bike feel.

* Electrolytes are your friend. For a change I never once had the inkling of a cramp, even in the hot weather. I was taking a small bottle each lap which had a Hammer electrolyte fizz tablet. This seemed to work very well.

* Have a good support crew and don’t yell at them! If you are nice they might even baby-wipe down your filthy self and drive you home.

* When Gumby offers to race you up the hill, I am not sure what the answer is. I tried and it hurt, but I would have felt a bit rude not to.

Gumby makes it all better. Photo: Dave Bateman

A very tough course, made even tougher by feeling decidedly average to start with. Big thanks to Merryl who made me fight tooth and nail for that podium while being the most encouraging person out on track. Also thanks to my amazing support crew The Seb and to all those cheering us on from our pit stop, you guys definitely got me through this one.

Tired and happy. Photo courtesy of The Seb.

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