Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Rob's Top Tips for 24hr Solo

pic: photo-it.com

This originally was written for a piece from the UK's top 24hr racers, that featured on Bikemagic. Below is my contribution, and how I keep myself going though the personal battle that is a 24hr solo race:

A very simple, but effective one, as passed on to me by the very experienced and accomplished Jenn Hopkins of the KMP - fresh gloves. These for when it all gets cold and miserable, this little luxury really cheers me up just before sunrise when it's really cold and the tiredness kicks in.

I really struggle with nausea, which is quite common on the longer events from talking to people, what with constantly eating and asking one's stomach to keep churning away. Chicken sandwiches, with real slices of chicken, not processed meat, are a great but bland item that goes down under any circumstance.

At one point it will feel horrible, and hard, and generally a bit sad. Remember, it's meant to be hard, this is why we all do it, this moment is the real test, and the rest is fun. Eat more, slow down, drink more recover a little and keep moving. On my last "bad" lap I took two bottles and an extra bar, some sweets and it all got devoured and then I was fine. You CAN do it, just let your body recover a little and push on. The smile will come back before you know it.

Rob's Kreig Saddlebag
Saddlebag preparation. This is a long ride, in fact it's several long rides back to back without any bike maintenance, things go wrong. I always have: tube, tyre levers, mini pump, patches, CO2, mech hangar, brake pads, multi-tool, including chain tool, quick link for chain and tiny pliers for everything else.This should enable you to get around to your pit if anything more major is required. Giving up 5mins for a trailside repair is fine, losing a few minutes to carry 200g extra (or less than an apple) is no issue, but a 45min walk with a bike on your back is less fun and way more demoralising.

If you're lucky enough to have support, this is your most important asset. 24-solo is the ultimate team sport; you're just the guy sitting on the bike doing the pedalling.

Finally: Remember to oil your chain a few times, this is several long rides back to back don't forget.

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