Almost 2 weeks after IronBike and I am still feeling the effects of such an incredibly tough event, both mentally, physically and also my bikes/kit.
Obviously I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to finish and be classed as a “finisher” but anything can and does happen in such a hard race, 140 riders started and less than 40 were classed as finishers for the second year running. My crash that put me out was caught on film, descending the 4000 steps of the Fenestrelle Fort I chose to ride a flight of steps that was too steep and had no grip and the crash that followed took me out of that day.
There was no way that I could have completed the 6th day but I was able to recover overnight and completed the 7th and final stage in Sauze d’Oulx. Next year I hope to return to compete again and plan to make it my number one event of the year, training specifically for it. Without experiencing it for yourself it is hard to describe why it is so special. A mixture of being extremely hard, very scenic and most importantly very rewarding. There were several British riders who deserve a massive well done for being able to be classed as a “finisher”. Rickie Cotter (winner of the Female race), Jonathan Harris, Andy Jones & Richard Samuel.
So now that I am home in wet, dreary Wales where it took 10 days for me to see any blue sky I have been trying to return to a normal training regime. The first week following this simply wasn’t possible, my body was hurting after the crash and I felt it best to take a week off the bike to allow everything to heal. When I did return to riding it was a few slower, easier rides to start then slowly increasing the intensity and duration to a point where I am now back to a fairly normal level, although my thumb is still causing problems.
There are only 5 weeks now until my biggest race of the year, the 24hr World Solo Championships being held in Canmore, Canada. I hope to be the fittest that I’ve ever been going into the race with all the small niggling injuries that I’ve had hopefully all sorted. I am still having issues with my left leg going numb, but since it only happens at maximum intensity I am not worried about it for a 24hr race, but I do hope to get to the bottom of it over the Autumn/winter and my gut feeling is an operation might be needed.
I’ve rebuilt my Felt Edict bikes and I will be riding them as much as possible between now and the 24hr WSC to get used to them once again. They are brilliant, fast, light and very efficient bikes and I am sure they will be perfect for the task at hand. It does feel a bit strange going back to 26″ wheels after being on my Felt Nine 29er almost all year but comfort is more important for me at a 24hr, which is why I am choosing to use the Edicts.
Next up for me is the TrailMasters event next weekend. 3 days of riding very close to home, based in Llanwrtyd Wells. It is essentially a compacted Trans Wales format, so it would be nice to get a win like I managed to achieve last year. I will be riding the Felt Edicts to prepare them and tweak the riding position if needed.