Ah....languishing in post-event blues now as my body takes the time to heal and repair itself - but all the while I crave the endorphin hit of hard efforts!
It's all a bit of a blur now. Each days stage rolls into the next and I can recall, mud and climbing and stunning views and ace downhills and river after river after river crossing. Also, the people I met, were an ace bunch. It was a lovely crowd and everyone was out to help each other.
It was definitely the hardest thing I've done on a bike. There were many ups and downs and I cannot stress enough how tough it was. But if one digs in and says "not gonna be last and not dropping out" it's amazing how much you squeeze out of your legs. Naming it a 'challenge' really is apt, because it is a proper hard event. A fair few riders dropped out....admittedly some through serious mechanicals or injury...but some dropped out due to the weather conditions or because they were finding it too tough (some even took the odd rest day and carried on the following day...!).
The weather really was woeful at times. The campsites were waterlogged and very muddy. You ride most of the day (admittedly if I'd been faster, that would have helped...:)) often in the rain, and get to the next camp....often till raining....and then have to locate your kitbag. Get clean and then get the bike clean and then get fed and then rest. Some people even ducked out and stayed in hotels and B&Bs....losers :)
I'm glad I went for the option of using the organisers tents and getting them to set it up each day and break it down each morning. There were definitely some days, when it would have taken me an age to set up the tent (in the rain) on my return. The food was fine - good fuel. The shower were adequate...when they were warm:)
My bike and equipment held up very well. I expected loads of rain and took plenty enough stuff. My knees held out, which is very good news as it seems (touch wood) i've got rid of the problem that's been bugging me for ages. My back....well my back hurts....but not acute and it'll go away.Must get my chiropractor lady to work on it.
Towards the end of the event, being worn out and finding it tough, I picked up a chill and started to get manflu...this made the last day vry hard....but I got through. I'm still very tired. Been out once (monday - 8 days after finishing the event) on my old hardtail and felt tired - but was good to spin the legs. The full susser is in for some TLC and can't wait to get it back.
The TW has taught me alot. Not least about nutrition on longer rides (and esp on multi day stage events). And at times I found it brutal - but I loved it and am keen to do something similar in the future.
Thanks go to, Jules, The Lucans, Rone (for kit and sms support), South African Julie for dragging me around on the first 3 days and making m eat, to Spike and Clare for lemsips and endless anecdotes, to steve for being knocked off by Julie, to Phil for being fast, but probably slower than he should have been due to inury, to Howard for plugging away and getting there in the end, to the organisers for managing to run an event at all given the conditions, to the 'fast ones' for being impressive and an inspiration, to Charlie Eustace - for being fast and for good words on advice, to steve(?) and doc for an energy bar and more words of wisdom, to the Irish guys who always brought a smile, to the amazing two guys who dragged me and my bike out of a fast moving river that had me very worried for a wee second, to Vic and Chris for a good few laughs, and to everyone else with whom I shared a knowing smile (as in, "we're all mad") or chatted to during the event and everyone else who made it.
Right, (assuming I'm at least almost recovered) roll on D2D :)