Nia’s View – 12hr Champs

12hrs of Exposure – UK/Euro Championships
8th April 2012
Dealing with defeat
27th April 2012

Its Friday 6thApril we are in Scotland this can only mean one thing, another race!

We arrived at Rock UK around 11am only to be told we had diesel leaking from the van! A quick inspection underneath showed a very wet fuel tank and a trip to the local garage, not the best start to the weekend. Matt took the van to the local garage while Trina and I found a good spot to pit from and set up one of the tents, this consisted of walking around the camp area and finding what seemed like the only area where you didn’t sink in to the ground whilst standing on it! After last years experience I was not going to just pitch anywhere and get the van stuck again. A little while later Matt returned from the garage, nothing they could do as it looked like there was a hole at the top of the fuel tank so as long as we didn’t park it on a slope we would be fine. 3pm soon arrived and Ben turned up in the ever so discreet Wiggle van, this meant we could now erect the ez-up and claim our spot. Whilst we did this Matt & Huw who was racing the 24 hour race went for a practice lap and returned just as it started to rain so we decided to head off back to the B&B. A quick stop in the village of Newcastleton first to see if the Cafe was open, we got there a couple of minutes before 4pm and they were closing up and mopping the floor but the lady was so kind and opened up for us to have a quick drink and a bite to eat. I did feel a little bad on the way out seeing our trail of muddy footprints on her nice clean floor. Back at the B & B Ben & Matt sorted out the bikes a bit whilst Trina and I relaxed before heading out for a bite to eat with Huw & his wife Louisa. After a very nice meal and a few drinks it was time to head back and start job number 2 a leg massage, job number 1 was setting up the pit area by the way.
More than just a shoulder to lean on!
The alarm went at 7.30am Saturday morning, we packed everything in to the van in time for breakfast at 8am. A full English for me & Trina and Porridge for Matt. You cant beat staying in a B&B the night before a race it is 100% better than waking up in a cold damp tent to a bowl or cornflakes with UHT milk!
We arrived back on site at 9am, Ben & Matt went to sign on while Trina & I started to set up the pit area. Food/ Drink prep area, mechanics area and the most important tea/ coffee making area with it only being a 12 hour race there didn’t seem so much to do as normal.
11.30am soon arrived and Matt headed down to the village for the start whilst we drove down. That familiar sign of bagpipes playing only meant one thing the race had started and it was time for us to head back up to the Rock UK venue and wait for the 1striders to come past.
I always find the 1stlap the worst as you are never sure how long the lap is going to be, but soon enough the first couple of riders had passed our pit with Matt following a few seconds later. A quick bottle change and a shout to say something was rattling on the bike and he was off for lap 2. Oh he also grabbed his glasses which I realised were still on my head when I arrived back to the venue…..oops!
Only 11 or so more laps to go.
Apart from washing his bottle and making another drink up there was not much to do this lap. One of the worst things I find about supporting Matt is when that stopwatch ticks over his expected lap time, with every second your mind goes in to overdrive thinking the worst had happened.
Lap 2 consisted of a bike change due to the ‘rattle’, bike changes is something I feel we do very well it literally is a quick jump of the one bike and on to the other with everything already in place.
A bike change means we have a bit more to do in the pit this time around so we got cleaning the bike, I say we but it was mainly Trina she is always the bike washer when at races with us. A couple of drinks made up & Ben sorting out the mechanics we were ready and awaiting Matt for the next lap.
The slick Wiggle pit setup
Lap times were quite consistent through out so we roughly knew when to expect Matt in to the pits. This was apart from lap 6 when 1 minute went past and then another, then another! We were really starting to worry now and think the worst as you always do, next we saw Dave Powell come flying past which meant Matt was now in 2ndplace. Ant White soon followed and kindly let us know that Matt has some kind of puncture, another rider then passed saying it looks like Matt has ripped the side wall of the tyre, so we thought he must be struggling to fix it. 17 minutes later Matt eventually came in to the pits surprisingly calm, told us he had a puncture and jumped on to the spare bike, now the chasing began.
By this time it was now getting dark, so not only did we have to hand him a bottle, gels and clean glasses every lap we now had to hand him a light along with any other demand that get shouted out. Here he comes again shouting out instructions I need this, this & this I truly believe Matt thinks we have octopus hands as how he thinks we can hand him all these things while he is still on the move is beyond me! Matt doesn’t like to stop much in races he much prefers to keep riding through the pit area but sometimes this is just impossible for us.
On the last lap Matt got the gap down to 5 minutes we could tell he pushed hard every lap but Dave was lapping only a fraction slower than Matt. 11.30pm we all headed down to the finish line to see who crosses that finish line 1st. It was Dave, 3 minutes later Matt crossed the finish line with a disappointed look on his face. We all headed back to the pit area, tensions were high so we all decided to go to bed. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to bed at 12.30am while there were still riders out on course and supporters having to support for another 12 hours or so. I could get use to this.