Friday 23 January 2009

Posted by Velouria Posted on 16:13 | 3 comments

24hrs of Wiesenhof

This year's Dirtopia 24hrs of Wiesenhof had attracted a couple of really good riders, all keen on winning the event.

I was a little more nervous than in previous years - I didn't have great form, and my knee was still giving me the occasional niggle.

The pre-race preparations mainly consisted of checking out the competition, and having them check me out. There were mind games a-plenty.

The racing got off to it's usual fast paced madness, with several riders putting in some blisteringly quick laps in the beginning. I preferred the more sedate approach of riding to a constant tempo, trying not to overdo anything, and slowly but surely I was moving up the field.
After 3 hours of racing I was lying in 6th spot, about 10 minutes behind the leader, on seven laps. Everything was going according to plan - my legs felt great and I had settled into a good rhythm. Yolanda was doing a great job of keeping me supplied with snacks and drinks, and updates on the other riders.

At about 5 in the afternoon, after 5 hours of racing, I was starting to take a little strain. It felt like my neck was constricting, and my glands where starting to ache. And I had a headache. But my legs were fine! I persevered for a couple more laps, and then took a break. I was lying 4th overall, so things were going well.

Meanwhile, Mike had made his 24hr debut with a rag tag bunch of guys, and it looked like they were having a great time. While not in overall contention, they were racing for 3rd, and doing a rather good job of it.

Back to my race - I had rested for a bit, Yolanda had massaged my legs, and my ego, and I had had something to eat. It was time for the night racing, and I had put my new fancy light on my helmet - I was ready to go. The first lap went fine, but after that, the neck issues returned, and by now my mind really wasn't in the race. I was looking for any excuse to stop, and when my knee showed the slightest signs of acting up, I decided to throw in the towel. I had done about 4 or 5 laps in the dark, and was still in 4th place on 19 laps at 11:30pm when I decided to have a shower and take a nap.

The irony is that we don't bring any bedding or sleep stuff to the 24hr, as we fully expect me to be able to ride through the night, so before we could take a nap, we had to beg, borrow and steal some bedding. I awoke at about 5, and was going to have another shower before settling down to watch the rest of the race. As I wandered past the scored board, I saw that Julian (my Epic partner from 2007) was in 5th place, and going well 3 laps ahead of me (I had slipped down to 10th or 12th). If he could be out there and still going, I should at least give it one more lap before giving up. I got into my kit and hopped onto the bike, and for the next 7 hours had a great ride.

I ended up in 5th place on 31 laps, salvaging some sense of pride, and Julian rode brilliantly with a 3rd place on 32 laps. This time I can say that I will be back next year.

The results for 2009


  1. Wow, That Julian guy sounds like one hardcore athlete, almost as tough as they guy, what was his name, that put you away in the 1985 Lourensford and the 2008 Burger.

  2. Yeah - the name of that guy escapes me - he had such talent and potential, but seems to have faded into a one-hit-wonder kinda rider. Julian on the other hand is hardcore - he had to put up with me for 8 days ;)

  3. "rag tag bunch of guys" What, I deplore that blatant profiling! :)