For my night time mountain bike race I entered the Mud and Sweat Nightrider event at Haldon Forest in Devon.
I’d been a bit ill the week before and hadn’t eaten properly on the day of the race. Then my son was up in the night so I’d had about five hours sleep. By the time I’d driven to Devon and set my bike up I was already exhausted.
A long line of riders waited at the start in the middle of the forest at night. It was a spectacular sight but as soon as the horn blew and we set off, I knew I wasn’t going to make it. The race started with a hill and I was immediately out of breath and feeling nauseous. The route entered the singletracks of the forest and immediately got very technical – way out of my league. I would have struggled doing trails like that in the daylight, let alone at night after five hours sleep and with a stomach bug.
I went the wrong way. I got off my bike and pushed up and down the steep bits. I thought I had a flat when it was just thick mud. I got lapped. I had to keep stopping to let riders by. I wasn’t enjoying it. I struggled to the end of the first lap and gave up, dripping with sweat and feeling woozy.
I know I’m only saying this because I couldn’t do it, but, this sort of mountain biking just isn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy it and I won’t be doing it again.