Well i know you've been waiting breathlessly for the report, but i needed some kip and recovery time before getting the strength to write anything.
Met up with Crosshair for a good old chat on the way down to Petersfield and cracked on with signing on, finishing the bike, checkings, testing and lubing... Eventually Crust turned up and the terrible Trio were ready to rock and roll. Nice easy gentle start from Beachy head, lovely sun, a bit breezy but very nice.
We cracked on at a fairly decent pace, enjoying the flats and minor inclines before our first trek down to sea level, laughing lots at Crosshairs bike struggling beyond words on the cobble descent, the V brakes and 1990's coil spring making the down bits very hard for him. We ended up losing Crosshair about 5 miles later after my Giant threw a rear wheel puncture due to a massive thorn. So it then turned into a bit of a Weeky and Crust show for the next many many hours. Up to checkpoint 1 at about 21 miles or so i was absolutely on fire, climbing effortlessly, cracking on the decents and we had a lot more people around us compared to last year, we may have been near the back but there were many people who'd arrived only a few mins before us at checkpoint 1. The dark had now set in so it was full lights on time and the views were once again superb, looking over to Brighton and other towns/citiies is just mind blowing from up on the Downs at night. Making our way towards checkpoint 2 we were informed they'd move checkpoint 2 about an extra 5 miles down the course, but i was feeling good and happy still. This really is where the ride went rapidly to crap for me.
I just lost all drive from my heart/lungs very rapidly, going from cruising along to thinking "jesus the old heart rate is working here" I'd filled up at Checkpoint 1 on both food and fluids and was drinking lots. The next few miles to CP2 was honestly a bit of a blur... each climb and descent just blurring into 1. The good news was the Ditching Beacon had been taken care of so that was one of the biggys out of the way thankfully. Taking the next couple of downhills and i'd lost it, i was losing ground to Crust and could barely hang onto the bike, even the pedalling between sections on the flat i was just rubbish and really hit a moment of pure darkness and despair in my mind. So it's down to CP2 food station and i got off the bike and instantly lay down for 5 mins (concrete roads are cold BTW) and i'm looking at Crust and the only thing in my mind is "i can't go any further, there's nothing left at ALL". I was honestly at breaking point and desperate to throw in the towel. Sadly (or happily) the big man Crust was still ready to crack on and get on with it, but i'd lost the plot. I went for a toilet break, i won't bore you with the details but it wasn't pretty lol. It was my 4th venture of the day which is obviously a LOT of trips for No 2's. I'd puked just after that and dizzy as hell feeling like i could pass out any second. However, apart from "mate, i'm ****" that was as much as i was giving away to Crust and another random fella we'd picked up and were riding with.
CP2 to CP3 was just an EPIC of endurance, effort, panting and dragging my sorry arse up the hills. Once again i'd stuffed myself with sugar based products like flapjacks and cookies and the miles just dragged and dragged and dragged. I'm still not sure how on earth we made it to CP3, each miles seemed to turn into 10 miles. The only plus side is that we turned up at CP3 and the first thing we noticed is that it was still dark !!!! We'd turned up at CP3 last year in complete daylight. A quick clock check confirmed it was 4.30am and we'd turned up at CP3 last year after 6am, we were about 1hr30 maybe 1hr 45 ahead of last years time. God knows how.
From CP3 to the finish is just 13miles... However in the 13 miles there are 3 climbs that at this stage are get off and walk time. But the first one is just sould destroying, it's a riding climb, but it's about 2.5 miles out from Cocking up the hill... just climb climb climb. I'd filled up at CP3 with bananas, which seemed to ease the stomach cramps anyway, but didn't do anything for the toilet issues, i thought bananas were supposed to bung you up !!!
Riding to Finish i was estimating where we were and what time we would finish and set myself an internal goal of 7am. (Last year was 8.59am). We never quite made this, but we did complete the ride at 7.08am, which gave us a ride time of 12 hous 58 mins (approx timing). Considering we hit 14hr 31 last year i think we can both be VERY proud of this ride and acomplishment.
Crosshairs finished about 40 mins before us, top ride and huge respect for the ride from him, he actually looked as fresh as a daisy... Although i think i'm giving him 10 years and Crust is about 22-24 years his senior.
The event was over, a bacon and egg sarnie was thrown down, it was superb... really feel like it was truely deserved this time i have to say.
I can't finish this thread without putting a bike thanks out to the boy Crust. Without him i'd still be out now on the SDW crying like a baby and unable to ride. I amazed he never just shouted "shut up you whinging bastard" i'm sure i was moaning a lot. I would have without doubt pulled out at CP2 if he wasn't there and i'd be sitting here now depressed, angry and unhappy. So Thank You big man... you're a star.
The Giant... well it was ACE again as usual. Although after CP3 i did snap a chain powering through a nice foresty singltrack, took us about 10 mins to link it up and get back on the trail (which would have helped out time). It also stopped working on the front mech, but looking i think the cable has just come loose so no tension for changing up/down on the front mech. I only fitted it for the rare drop onto the granny ring so it didn't really come into play. I fried my rear pads and my front will need replacing, but that's all par for the course on something like this.
It really puts into perspective the difference terrain can make, last weekend was 60 miles of Ridgeway in 6 hours 25, today, 80 miles in **** forever .... the SDW rides like a 150 mile Ridgeway LOL.
An epic epic day out...Well, night out.