What can I say? I am over one of my hardest and most challenging race in my life. This was a typical race, when Murphy popped up! And he did 3 times in 12 hours.
But I start from the beginning.
We drove down to Bristol on Friday afternoon, after work. We slept in the usual Holiday Inn.
Early wake up Saturday morning, quick breakfast in Paleo style plus one more portion Vitargo and we drove out to Ashton court. Everything went well, I picked up quickly my start number, quick chat with Ian and prepared myself for a start. My crew team settled up everything in the feed zone. Quick briefing and we started 9 o'clock spot on. The start was Le Mans style.. running up the hill. I started to feel something really bad half way in the run and my both legs were in full cramp when I found my bike. I got cramp in my both quadriceps and tights. I tried to ride, but I had to stop and try to stretch my legs couple of times. When I got back in the feed zone from the first lap I was in maximal pain. I couldn't walk. I started to do some serious stretching and my legs started to be better 10-15 minutes later. I decided to try one more lap. I sat back on the bike and started to spin like a lunatic. My legs started to be better and I tried to push harder and harder. Everything felt to be good again, until I fell off in the fast technical section. It was a little "traffic jam" and I tried to pass the guys... but I did some mistake and I was over the handlebar in a second. The bike flow away is well and landed on the seat. I tried to stand up...but ouch! Cramp in the hamstring! I was shocked for a moment, but I turned to mental and I pulled my leg back hardest I could. It was bloody painful but worked and my cramp despaired.
Blood pressure went up, brain steamed and I started to ride like a mad. I pushed hardest I could. I been around the 32th place end of the third lap. I came up 9th in the sixth laps and I just carried on pushing. My lap times were constantly around 25 minutes.
I catched the 3rd guy around the 16th laps and I left him. Adel shouted me couple of laps later, the the second guy was front of me 4 minutes and he was slowing down. He was Steve Webb. Two laps later I passed him and he started to came with me. I had a plan already in my head and I left him to go. I wanted to do 4 laps bit easier pace, but keep him in 1-2 minutes and after I wanted to ride 4 laps on full blast until the finish. Around my second easy lap my bike started to do some funny knocking noise. I thought my frame went broken somewhere, but I wasn't really interested. Only one thought been in my head... second place. I did my 4 easy laps, Steve 1,5 minutes front of me, adrenaline, afterburner switch on! I rode a really good lap. After the last little "downhill" section something really bad happened. My seat post snapped down. I couldn't believe it! I just stopped and I was in shock, but 2 second later I picked up the post and finished the lap. I tried to find some help, I got a replacement seat post and tools, but we couldn't remove the other half from the frame. I didn't want to waist to much time I went out a lap without seat... It was a really painful but fast lap. I had to push hardest I can, because I couldn't sit down and spin.. End of the lap I had to stop, my legs started to give up. Quick thinking, Adel tried to get any help what we can, I started to shout around for a spare bike, but nobody wanted to help. Everybody just watched me... Sheeps!
3 minutes later I been in the Paligap tent and a brand new Kona was under me with my start number and my own pedals. The bike was far too small for me and the shock- tyre set up weren't the ideal for me, but I can't complain! I went out quickly one more lap and I finished the race after 11 hours and 34 minute. The 4th place still was far behind me and I didn't have chance to catch Steve again, but I could keep my 3rd place. I am really happy and pleased with this result! I have to say I worked for this 3rd place.
I have to say really really big thank you for my crew team. I couldn't do it without you guys!
Really big thanks for Paligap! Angus, Rebecca and other people who prepared the bike for me with in 2 minutes!
And I have to say big thanks for my coach, who looks after my training and he put me in this great shape!