Home again after a marathon haul - an exhausting time for all, rider and crew alike.
Ben was going great guns; his best position was 7th, but then at about the 14hr mark his knees started to play up as they had in previous 24hr races. This time he wasn't going to ignore it and end up spending mega time at the Physio and munching anti-inflammatory pills so he went slower and finally decided to take a long break. The next day he managed another 6 laps and ended up 14th, 3rd in his age category and may have qualified to go to the Worlds if he wants to. He did well and I'm proud of his efforts.
From my point of view it was interesting to see the preparation some riders and crews had put into their race and 2 in particular stick out as being of interest to me. One was the eventual winner who had all his food requirements worked out to the last gram. He didn't choose what he wanted to eat, he was told by his crew who scientifically plotted how much of each nutrient he needed to keep going. He had 4 crew members - the chief (his wife), gofers (parents) and a mechanic plus 3 bikes...all of which he needed, multiples of all clothes, glasses, equipment etc etc . Everything was labelled and nothing was left to chance. He had worked out what speed he needed to ride and what he could manage and his pacing was spot on. He refused to be sucked into competing with the early flier whose initial speed we all knew could not last, caught him after about 12 hours and ended up beating him by over a lap.
The other riders crew were also very efficient although amusing to watch..it was good to have something interesting to look at during the wee cold hours of the morning. It was a bit like a formula 1's crew swarming around their car..he'd ride into the transition area and one person took off his glasses and replaced them with a clean pair, someone else did ditto with food in his pockets, someone did ditto with his bottles/bidons, someone else had a cleaned and lubed bike ready, someone else fed him a cup of something to drink and someone took the photo. He was well up in the placings after at one point being behind Ben so although needing a rather large crew, his method worked.
So all both riders had to do on the day was...ride, everything else was done and decided for them. What I take away from this is - plan well, find a good crew and method that works for you, test it and once you're happy with it change nothing.
My rest is over..now into recuperation. The bike is slowly being built up and I have already discovered 2 things..1. I'll have to get a new stem made as the head tube is pointy at the front and my current stem just wont fit and 2. the rear wheel is hard to get into the horizontal drop outs, a problem I had with my powertap wheel and the Colnago, although not quite so dramatically.