Twenty Four Hour Party People

It is fair to say that as the years become increasingly harsh on the body I have got slower. Not deliberately slower but slower non the less. The ten times, 25 mile times and so on have all become slower than they used to be. Racing is slower, time trials are slower. I could train more but the recent past has proved to me that sometimes training more doesn’t lead to quicker as my body slowly deteriorates in middle age. I am not saying that being in your middle age ends ambition but I find I need a goal, an end point, a purpose to avoid drifting along towards the grave. So Summer 2016 is going to be about one thing. No, not going faster but going further. It’s time to sign up and commit to a party with lots of 24 hour party people. I’ve done quite a few twelve hour time trials and Audaxes in my time so how hard can it be to do that twice. Last year I manage 211 miles in a twelve with not that much “proper” preparation and that was only twenty odd miles short of my younger best. I am going to do the Mersey Roads 24 hour time trial in July. I won’t get the magical 500 miles yet alone Wilkinson’s amazing 541 from 2011 but I won’t be last either. It will always look good on the meagre palmares and more importantly you can join a fellowship of 24 Hour Party People and I bet there’s a badge too. I have done all my twelve hours unsupported save a gift of a rear wheel from a clubmate seven hours into the Kent Twelve some years ago. I needed the wheel quite early on as turning out of the 6:02 am start I approached a roundabout at 6:03am and hit a broken grid buckling the back wheel. Ooops I said and undid the brake and headed off to Camber Sands. It was hot that year and I remember flinging my TT helmet into a field about 1pm with the intention of going back for it around 7 o’clock that night. I tried but all those fields look the same after a while. Anyway if your watching Time Team in a hundred years and they’re digging in a field in Kent then the pointy helmet’s mine. I aim to do the 24 as unsupported as possible with a tube, a pump and a couple of Eccles cakes for company but if you are around and have a nice Campagnolo wheelset feel free to hang around the feed zone for the guy on his bike with the buckled wheel. There is nothing finer than cycling all night and cruising around the corner of a field with a large hedge giving way to a distant sun waking from it’s vacation on the other side of the world.I have loved that on any 400km and 600km Audax I have ever done. However, I will let you know if I feel the same way half way through the twenty four.