If the A-League is touted as 90 minutes, 90 emotions, then the Wild Wellington 12 Hour Relay threw up at least twelve on Saturday. Teamed up with Ian, Matt and Ant, we knew we were in with a good shot at taking the Legends category, not least because we are, well, legends. Ian had been onto me in the weeks leading up to the race to get myself in race trim, and a PNP race at Makara the week previous did the trick, showing that no matter how little 'training' I'd done, I could still push myself hard enough to pick up a 4th and not pop a lung. But 12 hours is a whole different kettle of fish to an hour and a half, and we ran the gamut of feelings over the long day. I say feelings because I'm not sure if some of these are emotions per se, but you get the idea.
The only way to race. I was stoked that we had such a good set-up, including a full mobile workshop courtesy of our sponsor Searletech. Even the stereo was loaded with cool tunes.
I was also happy to have my friend and long-time pit bitch Andrea over from Aus, even though with Mike doing most of the hoofwork she had plenty of time to enjoy the 24c sunshine.
I was quite a bit anxious when Ian turned up on his road bike, set it up in a trainer, and proceeded to outline our race plan down to the most minute detail. I feared the day might bet a little stressful, but we soon had a big lead on our rivals, although while relieving the pressure on me, only seemed to fire Ian up more.
The look of a disgruntled man. Actually the trainer was a good idea, especially before my last two laps when muscles were tired and tight, helping with a fast night lap to get Matt set up for his final scorcher to get us into 3rd outright.
Our mother for the day, Mike Searle. He did everything asked of him, and lots which wasn't. From swapping the transponder from leg to leg after each lap, to tuning bikes, swapping my grips and cooking the barbie, he still managed to put in a couple of fast laps and a nice crash just out of transition to boot.
When I'd hit this 50kmh tar section at the end of each lap, the relief was tantamount, at least until the nasty climb back up to the velodrome, but you knew the end was nigh and another lap was ticked off.
The pain of being stalked. It was an enthralling battle between Josh and Carl's team and ours for the full 12, with hardly more than five minutes between us all day. Ian and Josh had several encounters, with honours fairly even. At one point Josh told Ian to "hurry it up old man" which only served for the 47-year-old to leave the 29-year-old in his wake.
They're at it again. In the end Josh's team got us, we both were on 37 laps, one behind the winning team, and the only others to break 37. We won our class by two laps, and 3rd outright, with Josh and Carl second in Open. The beers tasted great, especially when Ian stopped calculating lap times and gaps and heart rates long enough to down a brew too. The event was run really well, and thankfully the prize-giving was over quickly so we could get home and get horizontal, the satisfaction of a job well done and the numbing effects of alcohol combining to wash over me and smash me to sleep.
Here's some pics from a real photographer, which make me look like a real bike rider... almost.
I was feeling the pressure to pull out some fast laps, and my first five were all 19's, with only a 21 later my slowest. 85% of the course was climbing, which made for some painful final laps.
Ant was consistent all day, in the 18s to 20s, but didn't fancy night laps so pulled out a fast dusk lap.
This guy is an animal. Sub 19s nearly every lap, and was disappointed with a 20...
Matt's last lap, and ours, was an 18 minute night-time screamer, and got us into our 3rd overall position... awesome ride.