or, how working an event can be lots of fun when you squeeze plenty of riding in, too.
start by making the most of the journey. some people do this by listening to audio books; learning a foreign language; etc. i did it by getting up at 05.00, catching the first train to manchester, and then riding 75 miles to catton park.
the joy of riding at stupid times of day is being able to use major arterial routes which are easy to navigate but usually hellish. this is the a6 out of central manchester and i am pretending to be a bus. it's alright, nobody saw.
it rained a bit. then it rained a lot..
second breakfast whist drying out in leek. bad coffee and two dime bars are sometimes all it takes. also mostly thinking about shaggy and his succesful ctr. go shaggy!
you have no idea how exciting this place is.
one note: if you are planning to ride to catton park, be prepared for the last hour and a half after rocester to be the most boring road riding you've ever done. end psa.
so, the sun came out and some people ran and then we raced bikes for a bit.
there were lots of people being very enthusiastic about the racing bit (and with good reason; it was fun)...
but the general vibe was so laid back that our team decided we'd be stopping at midnight for a kip. what?! i don't think so. particularly after it poured with rain on my first lap.
shoes of dread. cold, wet. don't make me put them on.
the effective pre-lap routine has been completely different at every race i've ever been to. this time: sweet tea/85% chocolate/smart gel/warm thoughts.
very few things better on the second day of a race weekend than waking up in a sun-warmed tent.
checking lap times. amy won solo in an extremely convincing fashion; elsewhere the gritty kitties team of new mums came happy second whilst stopping to breastfeed between laps (making them absolutely the toughest team on the field) and the formidable big rob/competitive grace combo won mixed pairs too, despite me nearly riding over competitive grace's head in the middle of one of the night laps. sorry grace. our team got in a respectable 25 laps in between the odd bit of 'work stuff', which was enough to give our two 24 hour racing virgins a good intro to the love/hate experience that is 24 hour racing and enough for the rest of us to enjoy the super-fast, super-singletracky and (mostly) super-dry course, whilst all the time hoping those big black clouds would stay safely out of the way over there, please.
although the joy of the work bit means that we've still got to clean and dry most of the stuff in this picture. and none of it's my socks.