I never imagined Minx having what I always considered to be a 'grown up' race team. Then I had a happy meeting with Jenn who seemed to embody everything that Minx meant to me - someone who just loves to ride a bike, and it seemed right to support her in the small way we can to fulfill her race and riding dreams. That was last season.
Now we have acquired another rider (more happy meetings), Fi, who came to mountain biking just a year ago via adventure racing and as a newcomer with a passion she fitted right into our little group. Having a pair (does that make a team?) of riders I thought that made me an old hand (if not quite a grown up yet), and that I might relax a little from the emotion-fest that was last year's Mountain Mayhem.
Erm...... no. The fact it was the tenth anniversary of the event came with poignant overtones as it was. The relentless overnight rain and hellish conditions were making heroes of everyone there anyway. I mean, you can see my problem can't you? I cried after consoling the girls through day break wobbles, cried (more happily) when I saw Jenn back to her old self a couple of laps later. I wept all over Helen from TF Tuned (sorry Helen) after being part of coaxing a sniffling limping Fi back out for one last lap - desperately wanting to make her stay in, knowing full well she'd be a a pain in the arse for a month, and probably hate me forever if I had.
I was red eyed as they finished and positively damp with emotion as they stood on the podium in third (Jenn) and fourth (Fi) places, and had to keep saying 'shut up' in a faux-gruff voice to everyone who was taking the mickey. It's an incredible result from two girls who aren't pros and struggle to get the ride/work/pay the rent, balance right, just like the rest of us.
They both rode for 24 hours solo with no rest and no sleep. The conditions were unbelievably bad. Is it any wonder I'm still welling up with pride? Thank you both for being the best riders a team mum could hope for. You'd better be sleeping right now...