Note to self. When setting alarm clocks make sure the time is set correctly first.
Scenario: drift carelessly off to sleep on Friday night before a big adventure race on Saturday. Dream first fretfully about the following morning’s early start, anticipating a rude awakening in the early hours. As those early hours approach and no alarm sounds, your body relaxes more and more and your dream becomes calm and relaxed and eventually your brain blanks into deep, uncaring sleep.
Until a corner of a part of an eye catches sight of the clock. 7.35am. You should have been at your teammate’s at 6am and well on your way to Sussex by now.
Heart rate doubles, bed covers thrown back, curtains wrenched to check for daylight. Check. There shouldn’t be daylight. It should be 5.30am. Panicked dressing and sprinting out of the house, waking the dog, all the cats, breaking ornaments, slamming the door and driving through bollarded, pedestrianised one way streets to the other side of town. Heavy breathing. Adrenaline surging.
So we reached race HQ at 10am just as the first teams were heading off. The start was staggered and we had negotiated a later start time (although we were only postponed by 4 minutes until 10.09). So we threw the bikes together, necked a gel and headed out for our run. Late but not that late.
It was an 8 hour adventure race. We were to run first (our choice) and then mountain bike. It had been raining for days and the ground was sodden. We ran and ran and ran through woods and moorland and over beautiful agricultural land. We ran for 5 hours and cleared the course. Neither Gary nor I had run that far in months and our legs were screaming by the time we reached the transition. I was so grateful to sit on that saddle and my thighs and calves welcomed the pedalling action as though it was a steaming hot Radox bath.
But soon I realised that although Gary had been struggling on the run, his cycling legs were fresh. He shot off effortlessly and for the next 3 hours I pedalling and pushed trying to keep up. I gave up all hope of trying to contribute to the navigation and let Gary get on with it. I’d done my bit on the run.
With 20 minutes to go we decided to be greedy and go for one last checkpoint. The bridleway started well with firm concrete under our caked wheels. But turning a corner we soon sank axle-deep into thick boggy mud. After a brief chuckle from us both, we aborted the mission and backtracked. Unfortunately despite our best efforts we arrived at the finish 3 minutes late (annoyingly we had also started 3 minutes late) and so were docked 6 points which was enough to nudge us into second position. Errrr….
But what a race. It was fabulous fun and I was feeling very chipper in my pink Minx jersey. No prizes for us but the knowledge that the moral victory was ours and a few lessons – in alarm clock programming – learnt along the way.