after a stressful drive up the a96 which took 5 hours as banffshire seemed to want to repair every hole in their roads on friday , i arrived in dingwall to
be greated by the worlds worst steakpie supper !. Off to Contin and made my way up the fire road to find a decent spot for my solo pits - read car reversed into the snow drift and abandoned !
(the twinklyone- edit its actually Jase the other ragley rider.....)
Set the bivvy up with my minus 20 sleeping bag and rab bivvy bag ontop of 2 kathmandu thermarests and grabbed some kip. Had a great nights sleep better than any night in a tent
The race started with an spd mince over the ice covered road to the bike. Straight away i realised i was on the wrong gear for a 24 hour race - 32:18
The first lap was tough enough to ride as it was , we were left to clear the downhills and some sections that the guys hadnt quite had time to clear. I resorted to walking up the snow covered uphils rather than expend energy this early on. After 3 laps i decided to stop and change gear & brake pads. 32:21 and some disco sintered pads.
(mikey on the plastic prowler;))
the rest of the race followed a similar pattern - Lap , eat , lap , eat repeat . after a 8 laps i installed more brake pads and changed to my endura stealth jacket with open vents. At some point in the night i stopped and picked up a flashing rubber duck from the stream- this resulted in a bottle of Squirt Lube & Cube water bottle.
About 4am the guys in the pits told me that i was gaining time on Simon hayes of godiva trail riders - he was a lap and 20 mins up on me at this point but i was gaining , over the next lap i managed to unlap my self and get back on track for what i came to do , my head got into a good place and i kept plugging away - i gained 50mins over simon on the next lap and at 6am or so i came across a broken looking simon pushing his bike with a sore back from pushing 32:18. I can only imagine how much pain he was in as i was incredibly sore from 32:21
I did 1 more lap and it really hurt , was really cold and i thought that would be enough for the solo SS win - sat in with jo , roberta , big al and TJ someone mentioned that simon was infront of me again or at least potentially could be as we were on equal laps. I perked up , found my gloves and stormed off up the hill in search of simon. Giving it everything i had , leaving Alek Rozin and Twinklydave (two fellow soloists) in a spin as to A , why i was going so fast at the end of the race and B Why i was able to go so fast at the end of the race.
(Unknown trail of light through the dark)
The truth being i dont really know , adrenalin does funny things to you. I pedaled as hard as i could and when i couldnt pedal I ran and dragged my bike , all the while thinking simon must be round the next corner or the next or the next . Eventually i got back to the pits 50 mins later and it dawned on me - either simon never went out on that last lap or simon had won !
i got into the pits and simon shook my hand congratulating me on my win he had never gone out on the last lap we had infact spoken before i went out when i was panicing about my lost gloves , it didnt dawn on either of us what i was doing !
Alex slaven is a machine ! pushing out countless near identical laps for first place solo with the boys from Ragley , Dave and jase following close behind ! then behind them the first solo singlespeeder (me)
|From Drop Box|
(The aftermath in my bath ! )
the other ABC guys had a hell of a time with pops bike getting left in forfar , Baffs seatpin snapping , neillys brakes going AWOL but still did really well regardless with a 2nd in pairs and a 4th in quads !
(all photos from Keith Harris except my bath)