Last minute cramming

Illustration for the Ride Journal issue V by Liam Stevens. See Liam’s work here

Oh dear lord. I just looked at the calendar. A week Saturday we’ll be doing the Brontager 24hour7 mountain bike race at Newnham Park in Plymouth. That’s 24 hours of racing. On a bike. At night. On a bike. For 24 hours. Have I said that already?

Training has been going swimmingly. Literally. 1500m sets in the pool are splendid, but they’re sod all use for a 24 hour. I’ve been out on the bike of course. I was out on the weekend. On my cross bike. In the daylight. For TWO WHOLE HOURS. Only another 10 to go and I’ll have fulfilled my obligation as one half of the Cyclestuff team (the other half constituting Jules Carter). Last night I had a visitation from Matt Morris of ‘Might Contain Nuts’. He too, is competing at Newnham. He too, is part of a two man team (with Martin Jones). He too, has taken his training responsibilities a little too lightly and favoured ‘the way of the bacon bap’ and ‘a nice sit on a better sofa’. We chatted about the arrangement. Can we share the same space? Is three laps at a time too many? Is it possible to race with Old Peculiar in your Camelbak?* These questions will soon be answered. In the meantime I bet cram some last minute training in like a nervy ‘A’ level student the night before the exam. A little while back, I wrote an article about night time mountain biking that appeared in the ‘The Ride Journal’ (‘Night riders’ issue 4). It chronicled an enjoyable evening playing silly buggers on the trails around Castell Coch on the fringes of Cardiff. Two hours of silliness that ended at a pub and 4 hours of socialising that ended with a hangover. At 6 times the duration and at least three times the effort, Newnham is promising to be a very different proposition. That article is now beginning to haunt me.

The Ride journal issue 4. The current edition of ‘The Ride Journal’ is available here.


Don’t forget if you’re in the vicinity of Newnham Park in Plymouth, Devon over the weekend of July 7th and 8th, 2012, feel free to drop in and watch us suffer. You won’t be able to miss us. We’ll have a bloody big gazebo with ‘Odoni Elwell’ marked on the side. Great big flippin’ flags will flank our nest. At least one body will be lying down on the mud and whimpering in self pity. That body will probably be me.

No laughing at the back please.

*After he left, I took my pre-race prep seriously by swinging my legs up on the sofa, popping Howlin’ Wolf on the CD player, munching crisps, sipping a glass of wine left over from somebody else’s visit and reading Alan Moore’s ‘Swamp thing’. Life is too short to prep in any other way.

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