What had I gotten myself into? After my epic 24hr Moonride mountainbike race in May I had sworn off endurance events, unicycles, caffeine and peanut butter sandwiches altogether. And here I was just five months later at the start line for yet another crazy solo 12hr endurance race.
This years Day/Night Thriller mountainbike race proved to be even bigger and better than last years event! With over 3000 mountainbikers each composed of 5 person teams this was one BIG event. There were also 55 people (stupid) enough to do all 12hrs solo. This was the first big mountainbike event that NZ MUNi cyclists entered. We sent our first ever team to last years event.
Anyway, the course this year was better than ever. It was about 80% twisty singletrack, 20% transition/camp grassy tent city. There were one or two sharp climbs but otherwise a fairly rolling 8-9km course. I rode a Coker with 150mm cranks. I was a little apprehensive about this, as I had only ridden it 3-4 times off-road, and never on singletrack. My gamble paid off however- I completed the first lap somewhere around mid-lower 1/3 field. The Coker absolutely motored along the grass transition area- I couldn’t believe I was passing mountainbikers on the flat! The twisty singletrack was a lot of fun on the Coker too- it soaked up all the bumps pretty well and was mostly rideable.
I knocked off the first five or six laps feeling pretty good, before I felt really dizzy and collapsed in a heap at my team HQ. The unicycle.co.nz MUni team team passed me at that point but I was too knackered/sleepy to get back on my Coker. Working a 85hr week is not good build up to a 12 hr endurance event!
Finally recovered after about 30 min in the supine position and jumped back on my Coker. Unfortunately I was still not entirely orientated in time and space and my leg overshot the pedal and I sprained my ankle. Luckily I was still able to ride with a little assistance to get back on the Coker. I eased back over the next few laps before I bonked spectacularly. I just lay on the side of the trail for about 10min before the race marshal came over and prodded me. I am also eternally grateful to the girl who stopped and gave me her chocolate bar or I would not have made it back to tent city/ unicycle HQ.
The next few laps were fairly unevenful. I had a couple of bad falls but no major injuries. The night laps were quite difficult given the fact that I hate carrots and my night vision is pretty poor. My 20W lamp was adequate but I found myself wishing I had another 15W to see where I was going. I switched over to my 29’er with 150mm cranks which made a huge difference.
I completed 15 laps of the moonride (the first lap is a shortened lap). In my category (solo men) I came 32 out of 46. Not bad for my second/third attempt at ultra endurance unicycle racing. I am not sure of the exact distance- people are telling me that the laps are about 8-9km long, with the first lap being a shortened lap/start loop.
The www.unicycle.co.nz MUni team comprising of Tony Melton, Malcolm Todd, Steve Pavarno and a really fast kid named Blake did a total of 18 laps. This is an improvement on the 17 laps we did last year, which also had a shorter course.
I now have a sore bum and stiff legs.