Photo: Andy Chadwick
It seems to take longer and longer to recover from anything these days. A few years ago I’d be able to ride two 24 hour races pretty much back-to-back – admittedly I probably wasn’t applying myself to the task in hand with the level of intensity that I’m doing at the moment, but still, I definitely take a while to heal nowadays.
The aftermath of arguably the hardest 24 hour race I’ve ever done – the 24 Hours of Finale – has included a persistent bad back and hamstrings that feel like they’ve suddenly become six inches shorter. Stretching and massage is helping, however once again the clock is ticking and there’s only a couple of weeks left before the next big 24 hour race, Mountain Mayhem.
In hindsight, a nine hour ride with Dave at the weekend was probably pushing my luck a little bit. Pretty much all off-road, the route was one of my regular training routes – basically Winter Hill to Lee Quarry with all the hills and bridleways in between. Once complete, we had a coffee and a panini on the Costa Del Bacup and then we rode the whole route again in reverse. It wasn’t ‘daft’ like some of our previous adventures but it was long enough and rugged enough to fall into the ‘slightly silly’ category – my aches and pains came knocking at the door after seven or so hours and stayed with me until I was able to get home and reach for the foam roller…..
Putting aside any concerns about my body’s ability to last another 24 hours at this stage, I’m determined to enjoy Mayhem and approach the race in relaxed fashion after the tense build-up to Finale.
All the ingredients for an enjoyable event are there – the Team JMC/On-One/Clif pit will be as packed with friends, family, kids and pets as usual, there are two soloists (me and Dave) and two teams (men’s and women’s) all taking part, there will be the usual chances to catch up with friends only seen at bike races and the weather will be scorching hot and sunny as usual