It started a few weeks ago with a mail. Jon, our Gore man, had booked himself to work in foreign lands and couldn’t take his place at Mountain Mayhem 2010, would I like to take it? Offering the place around to everyone I knew, and not finding any willing takers, I tentatively committed myself. My fate was sealed when Mike broke his ribs collecting in a course meaning the team were now two out of five riders down. We managed to find another rider, Nick Stacey, who was supporting a solo rider and works for Evans, and was willing to put in a few laps for us. So we were now a five piece, Mark, Keith, Debs, Nick and Me. Our team name was Powered by Crumble after Keith’s liking for the Devonvale raspberry crumble bars we sell at the events ( If there’s none on display, Keith has his own personal stash)

So after a pre-event BBQ it was on to the race.

For those not familiar with MM, it’s a 24 hour relay race and is the biggest event in the Endurance calendar. It starts at 2pm on Saturday with a short run for the first riders and finishes on Sunday at 2pm, with racing going on through the night.

With 20minutes to go Keith, our nominated runner, made his way over to the start.

At 2pm we were off…

Now Keith did some sterling work on the run and came in about 20th overall, not just our cat (Mixed Sport) but that was not a position we were ever going to hold! Over the next 7.5hours we lapped solidly until it was time for the night laps, personally my favourite time of the race. So as dusk fell I strapped on the Exposure lights and set of on our first dark foray. Riding at speed with just a small circle of visible terrain flashing by certainly keeps you focused and remembering where all the bumps, dips and low branches are is certainly a bonus.  Back in the pits and time for a quick nap, which varied from 2 – 5 hours for the team. Having done the dusk lap I then got to go out for the dawn one which, when I wasn’t looking at my front wheel on the climbs, was spectacularly pretty.

Handing over to Keith, I then made the descision to go out for another lap when he came back, thus giving Mark and Debs another hour in bed. This was not entirely selfless as it meant I could get my laps over quicker :-) Or so I thought….

There was still 10hours of racing left and more consistent laps kept us within the top 20 of the 112 teams competing.

We’d been keeping a track of our times on the bottom of a piece of cardboard and I had a quick look at our lap times and calculated how many laps were left to do based on us getting tired and lapping slower. These doodlings can be seen on the bottom right.

Unfortunately we kept constant and it soon became apparent that at this rate Keith would finish before 2pm which would mean me doing the last lap. Time for excuses, not raced for a long time, only found out two weeks ago etc and then came the moment Keith was waiting for. He’s off to do an Iron Man in Switzerland in just over a month and is currently in training so the old ” you need the training” line was rolled out and Keith’s fate was sealed. If he didn’t lurk and finished before 2pm then he’d have to do 2 laps in a row. Well lurking is not in his nature and sure enough he popped back at 1.25pm, grabbed a fresh bottle of water and fatally refused an Angry Gel (Because when he eats one it gets him angry!!) because he still had one.

As he had consitantly put in laps around 55mins we all got to the finish line for 2.20 but as this came and went we looked on, watching  each rider appear and ride over the finish. Eventually  the red and yellow top made an appearance, he’d finally run out of energy and bonked.  With only one Angry Gel on him it wasn’t enough to keep up the pace and thus his first lap over an hour.

An amazing effort after a 23.5 hours of racing and enough to keep us in the top 20, finally finishing 19th. (Bizarrely we’d have come 5th if we’d entered Expert Mixed!!)

So another MM for me, my 6th, and another 24hours of riding, pain and snatched sleep. Would I do it again? Well, let’s see who gets injured next year…..