Finally I have made some time to finish my race report. I've had a long recovery from the race and I'm still not back to normal. As I mentioned in pt.2, I suffered from foot numbness after the race and that still a lingering issue. I've also had some achillies pain and now I'm camped with "hot feet". Personally I'm convinced this is caused by an inflammation of the posterior tibial nerve, but the doctor and physic haven't come to that same conclusion yet. I'm actually waiting from a phone call from my doctor to receive my diagnosis. As a result of these problems, I've been on the bike less, and the build up to SiS is not going very well. I think I'm still much stronger than last year, but I'd like to have good feet before I race SiS. Anyway, time will tell.
So, I finished pt.2 just after dark. What happened then? I was keeping a good rhythm until my lighting meltdown, but after that I got back into the 2 lap rotation. Shortly after dark I put in an order for pasta. Two laps later I was greeted with two massive plates of penne, one smothered in basil pesto, the other in a tomato sauce, both topped with generous helpings of parmesan cheese. The change from sweet treats was welcomed with a big appetite and I took on plenty of good carbs. An unseen supporter refilled my bottles with water, and Sam funneled some energy powder into them to finish the task. This saved me plenty of time messing around in the pits. Each time, I was able to concentrate on eating, replacing batteries, and some idle chat. I do remember forgetting my glasses at one point, but I was no worse off for it. The dust penetrates everything and mud wasn't an issue. Upon retrieving them, I realized how dirty they'd become.
What surprised was that at around mid night, the race village seemed to fall asleep. Having only raced during the night at SiS, I had expected an all night party. Selfishly, I thought everyone would stay up to support the solo riders. The atmosphere, while good, was nothing compared to SiS. Every lap at SiS is greeted with a cheer from an unseen face. The race course was also less populous as many of the teams went to sleep. What is this? 24h is for racing, not sleeping. Not to worry, I cranked up the beats, and despite the quiet outside my head, my motivation was still high, and I charged toward the 1/2 way mark. Wow, 1am, and only 1/2 way. This is going to be tough. I was fighting my mp3 player throughout the night with ear plugs falling out, the too-long cord wrapping around the nose of my saddle on a descent and almost causing a crash. It's all part of the learning exercise, like how long can I go without coffee. Well, looking back and talking to the eventual solo SS winner, I should have been downing espresso shots all night. Cheat. :) . The hours crept by, and I felt good, no issues with cramp, I was riding well, no handling mistakes, I was awake, and life was good. Sun rise was due around 5am, and I'd heard the stories about how beautiful that would be. The sky was clear, and the lighting effect was slowly decreasing, we're almost on the home stretch. 6am. Clouds rolling in. Sun behind the cloud. Failed sunrise. Rain shower. Now I'm bored. The post dawn stint was very hard going. I'd missed out on a good sunrise, got wet, and I was bored of riding slowly and pushing my bike up so many climbs. I was still taking a beating on the downhills, wishing for some damping for my feet. I have a similar sensation in my feet as I sit here typing, It makes you want to jump in ice water.
As the camp came to life, I started to find leaving more difficult. Everyone seemed to be relaxing and I was jealous. I had no idea of my position, but I guessed I was doing OK. I'd been in a battle with another SSer during the night and he was in good spirits. Good to see a fellow rider suffering the same inconveniences (solo, SS, rigid). 9am, I pulled in for another scheduled pit stop, only this time, I stayed for longer. I'd made a deal that I'd do one more fast lap at the end. I was totally bored with riding. A strong cup of stovetop coffee soon changed that, and after seeing I was in 7th overall, I headed out for a quick lap. I kept pace with the team riders, and my motivation was back. The only problem was that I'd never be able to keep this pace until 1pm. After another stop to express my happiness at riding fast again, I did one more lap, and then pulled in for some more chat. I was told Auselia was out on track waiting for the finish, so I set off to find her. It seems she is good at hiding, and I was unable to find her. I completed my final lap at 12:58 (damn) and I was greeted by Michael with a cold Munchenbrau beer. I did it. All the training over the last couple of years has made me strong enough to finish, and while not fast, I know there's more in me. I have no idea when my next 24h race will be, but I am sure of one thing. I will bring Cheryl to support me next time, and someone to shout supportive abuse when I get bored.
Thanks to all the duded and gals who helped me during the race.
Relaxing at base camp, Singular tent
-Leaving for Savona, a view back to Noli.
Waiting for the train in Genova
Train itinerary rubbish. I spent the night reading at Milano Centrale Station, good 24h practice.
Come on, open your doors. I need coffee! It was good coffee when it arrived.