Some amazing things have happened this week.
Our lovely son, James John Rothwell arrived:
I won the Glentress 7:
I (finally) learnt how to piss whilst riding (yes, in my shorts). (Picture not supplied).
Let’s flesh this out a bit. Char had an emergency caesarean section. It was a pretty full on experience for both of us. After hours of contraction induced agony the decision to operate was made. Char’s body disappeared behind a screen. There was lots of tugging and pulling going on. Then silence. And, from behind the screen, I was handed a little boy. Like some weird Paul Daniels magic trick. Aint technology amazing!
He’s been great so far. Both Char and James are in great shape. Except after the operation Char is pretty immobile. And will be for weeks. The housework is killing me. I hope she gets well soon.
Amazingly, (touch wood) James has been sleeping brilliantly. So no horror sleep deprivation so far and a very relaxed happy time for us all. Hoorah!
And for this reason, the Glentress 7hr was on! Double hoorah! I was really looking forward to this one. It’s a race at Glentress innit! I knew it would be good but I was completely blown away by the course. Steep and long climbs. Brilliant singletrack. And loads of uber techy off piste descents that had been built especially for the race. This was the best endurance course I’ve ever ridden in fact. It was never going to be a pure fitness fest and this is one of the main reasons I love coming over the border. Health and Safety doesn’t travel this far north. They build courses to test mountain bikers in Scotland. The main descent would have fitted well into a pure DH course in fact.
As expected the start was fast. And up. For a long time. A solo tri guy took the lead followed by me, 3 or 4 solos and a couple of pairs riders. Eventually the pairs guys inched away and us solos pushed along in a fast train. It remained so until lap three when an early caffeine gel got me all excited and I went off the front hard. I stretched out a slender lead of a minute or so. In the transition I paid… getting off the bike for the timing mat triggered off cramp… Nooooo! I REALLY wanted to win this. My head was totally in the right place and I was totally fired up…. So I pushed through the pain instead of backing off. After about 6 laps one of the guys started to bridge the slender gap. And I was bursting for a piss! I knew if he got past me, psychologically he would have the edge… So I thought of everything wet, cold and trickly and Hey Presto! It worked! This may sound like a (slightly gross) small point, but piss stops eat away time and can be crucial at times like this. In fact, if it hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would have won the race…
We tore into each other. He really hit it hard to try and pass me but for almost a complete lap I redlined it, determined to not let him break away. He started showboating a bit…. cross ups over jumps, that sort of thing. I focused on making no mistakes as we were going warp speed, off camber and through trees at high speed… I held his wheel on the edge of control. At around 20mph he clipped a root. And then hit a tree with a sickening crunch. Shit! If he had hit his head or his back it would have been very serious, possibly fatal. OK, balls it up but don’t really hurt yourself… I stopped. After a few moments he got up. We weren’t far from transition. He half rode, half limped to his pit. I knew he was out of the race. You can’t hit a tree at that speed and keep riding. Don’t know how he is but if something wasn’t seriously damaged it would be a miracle. Didn’t get his name but I hope he is OK.
So I now had a gap. No idea what it was; I was self pitting. (And many thanks to Tom Hill who let me share his and his friends gazebo and even left some gels out for me as I had ripped through more than I thought I would need). I think self pitting helped my urgency and adrenalin levels to be honest. But the gap can’t have been huge, five or ten minutes at the most. I had to keep pushing and it was really hurting now…. the cut off time for last lap was 4:45 and the lap needed to finish by 5:30. I got through at 4:44…. but with no pit support, I had no idea if anyone was on my tail. You just couldn’t see from the transition. So, after almost 7 hours of hurt I wasn’t going to take the chance and headed out again. It became apparent I was clear. I missed the cut off for my final lap by five minutes but I needed to be sure and besides, on a last lap I like to say thank you to the marshals which I hadn’t yet done. They were brilliant for the Glentress 7, even when the inevitable rain, cold, and mud kicked in half way through the race….
What a seat of your pants race! I loved it and was really pleased to win this all round test of endurance mountain biking. And a big up to local Jules Fearns who won the ladies solo; the north east takes the fight to the borders! The event was fantastic, the atmosphere fun and friendly, and the racing savage (as it usually is in Scotland!). I hope the Glentress 7 runs again next year.
The prize presentation was great too. No prizes set to categories. Each category winner took a ‘lucky dip’. A £100 Endura voucher, a meal at a local restaurant, a free fork and shock service at Flotec Suspension (which I won – thanks guys) and (the jackpot) a year’s supply of jam from a local farm shop. Ace!
My dad was here when I got home. We toasted the win and our son in style with the two Cs….
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