Saturday, 31 March 2012

Stage 5 - A Day from Hell!

From Mark Hardy from Team Weatherzone.

Short report today. Might do a longer update tomorrow.

The Weatherzone boys at the start of an Epic stage today
 Heavy rain all last night and still showery as we drove to the start line. We had 116km and something like 2300m of climbing on the agenda today. All the trails were super muddy - or should that be souper muddy. Slippery, slimy and bike caking.

I had no legs today. Absolutely nothing. I was in granny gear on even the slightest hill. Could barely get my HR over 130. So we raced very slowly for the first 3hrs. Then Johnny broke his chain and a jockey wheel. I rode the 20km to the next feed station to get the spare parts he needed. I'd been riding nearly 5hrs by the time I got there and it was freezing cold and pouring rain. As I was about to ride back to Johnny with his parts, a medic spotted me and thought a had hypothermic symptoms and grabbed me. Before I knew it I had most of my wet gear off and was bundled in blankets. Johnny arrived some time later. He tried to get his bike fixed but the queue was 15 people long. Soon he was in hyperthermia as well. Pretty soon there was a bunch of us bundled into a 4WD trying to get warmed up.

After a while - no idea how long, the medic told me the sweep was ten minutes away and we needed to decide whether were we going to pull out or not. The grim reaper was coming down the hill so we got going. We were not going to get kicked out of this event without a fight.

Crossed the finish line in 9hrs 31mins. Most of it I can barely remember as I was off in la la land. All I can say is I rode as hard as I could for at least 8hrs of that time. I thought Wednesday was my worst ever experience on a bike. Well, this certainly beat it. Went from heat exhaustion/dehydration to hyperthermia in two days.

Many people were eliminated from the event today. It was extremely difficult riding.

For tomorrow, our aim is to just get around the course. Any thoughts of racing are just not feasible. Our bodies have been driven too hard and are now right at breaking point. I'll be very happy to finish this event. If I ever mention that I might do it again, then please just shoot me

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