Well, Dusk til Dawn has been and gone. Achey backs and knees are being stretched, chafed unmentionables delicately dabbed with Savlon, and 'second elevenses' are being consumed in a guilt-free manner all across the country. Here included. The race rocked, as Thetford races are apt to - masses of singletrack, a very tough course despite there being virtually no climbing, friendly riders, great atmosphere, fun and giggles all round. Add in bombholes, bouncing mice, thick mist and stars and - finally! - a night event in which I had absolutely no problems whatsoever with lighting. A big thank you to USE for pulling out the stops and equipping many racers with the new Exposure lights - I could have run on the Joystick Maxx and its piggyback cell alone for the entire race, and it was only when I started passing riders whose lights had failed mid-lap that the sense of security in having twelve hours of bright light started to sink in. Add in a bagful of Torq products for second place and I'm set up for winter, with some great memories to tide me over til 2009.
D2D is the traditional season closer, marking the end of the UK's enduro season. Yes, there are odds and ends between now and next spring (including the Thetford Winter Enduros and Gorrick Spring series, way too good to ever be called odds and ends, sorry chaps!) but nothing which requires the same intensity of resting, planning, packing and travelling that the summer season does. I am thoroughly worn out; it's been a stupidly busy year, and speaking to racing friends before the race revealed that we were all steeling ourselves for 'one more race'. There are so many events here now that you could race nearly every weekend if you wanted to; as it is we have to pick and choose, because nobody can be in a condition to race that frequently, no matter how good they are. If I got anything wrong this year, it was doing too much, but then doing too much is what I enjoy and to a certain extent what I am good at, too...
The Blasted Ribs (as they've come to be known) have meant that my season has ended with a bit of a fizzle, rather than a bang. The cancellation of the 3 Peaks put a dampener on things and I'd have loved to win at Thetford for a second time but limited lungs put paid to that. As it was I placed amongst the top ten men, caught, passed and dropped my boss (sorry JP), and rode 2:1 for 12 laps (145 miles incl prologue), all of which were goals for the night and all of which make me very happy.
Now, I have time to heal, slowly and properly. I can stay up too late when I want to, I can ride every day without having to think about resting. I can ride my lovely, lovely road bike exclusively for days on end without having to worry about the singlespeed feeling the 'wrong shape' when I get back onto it, I don't have to spend endless amounts of time planning event logisitcs and tidying up afterwards. And I can eat a whole packet of M&S caramel shortcakes in a 24 hour period without feeling guilty about it, because winter is coming and I need some seal fleece back. Ahem... More tea?