The Real Mind Mutterings from the AUSTRALIAN SOLO 24HR CHAMPIONSHIPS, April 11th&12th 2009

This is the story of how the race panned out via Norms mobile entries onto my TWITTER page.
1 week later, I added my thoughts at the time.  Its an insiders rendition of a 24hr race...not so glamourous, not much really except eating, drinking, riding and needing to go to the toilet!

NORM: Good weather in Canberra. Heading out shortly for some practice on the course at Majura pines.
Jess: (Happy to be here, excited, nervous, a bit tired…hanging out to race)

NORM: Finished two laps of the course. Fast, flowy & hardly any climbing. The tight single-track will hopefully suit me. Bike prepared & ready.
Jess: (The course is awesome, very fast, just up my alley, I mean 95% of the course can be done in the big chain ring, only one hilly section that I reckon will become a small chain ring bit after a few hours of riding)

NORM: Good sleep 8 hours, slightly overcast weather... cool conditions. Looking forward to getting started.
Jess: (Awesome sleep, no nerves, just want to race & put all the hard work and preparation into action.  Whoop whoop!!! Bring it on!)

NORM: Good start... 20secs up on Katrin, the Claire Graydon, then Phillipa.
Jess: (Can’t believe it, no one is going with me.  I expected Katrin to be on my wheel breathing down my neck.  But as soon as we entered the single track I felt her presence lessening, then I could see I had a break on her as the track wound back on itself.  I feel great!)

NORM: 3 laps down... Jess & Katrin riding around together. Justine Leahy not far behind with Claire & Phillipa.
Jess: (Every lap I have this marker point to see if I have gained or lost on Katrin, I keep seeing her at the same location, so the gap is still the same.  No problem, I am willing to race her for 24 hrs, that’s what I am here for.)

NORM: Jess still holding a 1 min lead over Katrin, 1min back to Claire. In the mens Jason English from John Claxton.
Jess: (In a rhythm now, feel in control and so happy to be racing.  Life is good)

NORM: Jason English opening up a bit of a lead now... Jess lapping at 33 mins.  Katrin has reduced the gap to about 30 secs.
Jess: (Still cruising, eating well, drinking well, stopping every now & again to get the chain lubed.  The race MC is excited, each time I come through he keeps time on how much lead I have on Katrin, as I am in the single track, I can hear him tell the crowd that Katrin has left for her next lap, so I know she is coming to get me.  I stay steady, know that she will catch me soon.  Stick to my plan, go out hard, set the pace, race my race…)
NORM: Jess holding two min lead. Katrin has started on the coke already.. Jason English is now about 5 mins up on Claxton at 4:30pm.
Jess:  ( I am unaware of the need for Katrin to turn to Coke already!  But Norm does tell me next lap.  Same thoughts as before.  I still have a count of what lap I am up to at this stage.  I listen to my breathing, settle, think to myself constantly that no matter what I deserve to win, it’s a long race, just settle and enjoy, prepare for a race until the end.)

NORM: Night laps started... Jess still in lead but Katrin putting on lots pressure.. Only 30secs at last split, its now heading onto 6pm.
Jess: (Its heading into the night now and the trail is losing light.  Turned lights on, its that “limbo” time of not quite needing lights, but a bit of extra vision is necessary.  Far out I love this course!)

NORM: Jess and Katrin just left transition together... just as the rain starts to fall at 6:15pm
Jess: (Katrin passes in single-track. We talk.  She says,” Why did you make it so hard?” ,me, “what do you mean?”…I have no idea what she is talking about.  Its about going out so hard.  “Oh”, I say, “What did you expect me to do Katrin?  You can lead for the next 6 hrs now.”  Yep, I am having fun now.  The game begins.! Woo hoo. This is why I came to Canberra – to race Katrin good and proper.  I am looking forward to showing her who has the mental game under wraps here.)

NORM: Heavier rain now... Katrin and Jess lapping together, with Katrin leaving transition first. Jason English opening up a 10+ min lead, its now 6:45pm.
Jess: (It is wet and the trail is getting nasty.  Roots are slippery & ruts become waterfalls.  I do make the conscious decision to slow down a bit as I do not want to have unnecessary stress on the bike, nor self.  Vision is difficult as glasses reflect water & become fogged up on uphills.  Sort of get a little despondent for 20 minutes or so realizing that I have done over 100km & I could have finished either a 100km MTB Marathon or a 6 hr solo race by now & be having a hot shower.  But its all in my mind, I know that if I just keep pedalling, go out for another lap, making sure that the gap between self & Katrin does not blow out I will be ok come morning.  Night time here we come!)

NORM: John Claxton retired at 7:45pm.  Katrin has a 3 min gap on Jess, rain has slowed by 8pm.
Jess: (Norm is telling me the time gaps with Katrin.  I tell him to go F—K himself about Katrin, that I can only control my race and lets focus on that ok?  I am prepared to stay steady during the night, follow the plan, eat and drink, stay awake and stay off the caffeine for as long as I can.)

NORM: Change of batteries... new attitude, chasing down Katrin. Katrin went str8t thru so must stop next lap.  It’s now 8:18pm
Jess: ( nothing much has changed expect I have lost track of counting laps now.  I don’t bother asking Norm either, I am sure he would have no idea either.  Still happy, just going through the motions as planned.  Nothing special happening.  Water is still running on course and the suspected Granny Ring uphill is most definitely a visit to all the granny’s in the world.  The mud is sticky and the roots exposed.  It feels like a hill that is much steeper for this reason.)

NORM: Vanina Vergoz now into 3rd only 20mins adrift of jess who is 4 mins back from Katrin at 8:30pm.
Jess: ( Norm tells me about Vanina and I pull my finger out instantly.  Bugger that, I cannot have her be part of the game plan.  I make sure I go a bit faster now and continue on my eating and hydration plan.  Cannot afford to stuff up now)

NORM: Mark Fenner appears to have pulled the pin.. However the rain has now stopped.  Katrin now 9 mins up. Jess still feeling good... Katrin has done the last 2 laps without a stop at 9pm. Mens update... Jason English from Andrew fellows and Dan McKay.
Jess: (Staying steady, in control.  Time is passing as are the laps.)

NORM: Jess just put in a scorcher and pulled back Katrin by 2mins... and has put at least 5 into Vanina behind her... woo hoo! It is nearly 10pm.
Jess: (I guess I am still concerned about Vanina catching me, so in turn have done a faster lap to ensure I put time into her.  A couple more laps and I am ½ way there)

NORM: Another strong lap by Jess.. Put 15 mins into Vanina. Katrin and Jess now lapping about the same with Katrin just 5 mins up at 10:30pm
Jess:  ( Nothing has changed, I am lapping, drinking and eating, having my chain lubed, changing battery, doing what I need to do.  Mind set is strong and focused on the bigger picture.  Night will end and day will come.)

NORM: Another 40 min lap by Katrin... she is in serious mode now and its nearly 11pm.
Jess: (Nearly ½ way there…starting to have fun now)

NORM: Woo Hoo! 40 min lap from Jess then... bringing it back now. Katrin not stopping each lap to eat whereas Jess is...
Jess:  ( As I read Norms Twitter feed, I have no idea what I was thinking or doing, time has just become one big chunk, I am just lapping and being the best I can be.  Focusing on reaching 6am – daylight.  It is good however to hear the group of girls ringing cow bells still up and helping us get through the dead of night)

NORM: 12am and the race is about to start... Katrin had long break then... Jess still within 10mins... 30+mins now back to Vanina.
Jess: ( I am pleased to be over the hump now.  Its all a count down from here.  I am starting to need to go to the toilet, wishing I had not worn bib knicks.  Too close to stop and worry about it, see if I can hold it off)

NORM: Katrin is showing why she is world number 2... 39 min lap. Jess still about 10mins back and its nearly 1pm.
Jess: (I am happy at this stage that no matter what Katrin dishes out, it really makes no difference to her position, Norm is telling me that she is stopping, drinking coke, getting a little frustrated at the battle)

NORM: Anything you can do.... Jess just smashed out a 39 her fastest night lap yet, and she had a little fall that she laughed off.
Jess:  (My fall consisted of hitting a rock and being flung into the dirt and landing on my hip / thigh area.  The guy behind me cannot believe I just get up and say its all good.  I get up and continue riding, no issues, bike works and I am not sore at all. Just dirty!)

NORM: Both Jess & Katrin now a full lap up on the rest of field at around 1pm. Jess: (Norm tells me this, it spurs me on the make sure I pass them some more.  Excited as I start to do the sums.  I tell myself that I most likely have about 10 laps to go.  Who knows if this is true, but it’s a nice thought)

NORM: Katrin's last lap 40.50... Jess' 40.40
Jess: (Norm is excited. I think I have just been given a No Doze.  Feeling clear headed, no caffeine jitters, happy with this as I am scared of the potential affect of the drug.  But I smack out another goody)

NORM: Katrin pulled into pits then and had a sit down... she has done this 3 times now. Once again 40 min laps each but Jess 2 mins quicker thru at 2:30am.
Jess: (The trail landmarks keep popping up really quickly, its amazing how fast time is going.  The need for a No.2 has not gone, starting to plan my toilet strategy.  There is a port-a-loo & this will save time & keep my toilet stop a secret to all.  I need to tell Norm that I am going to change helmet batteries so I don’t have one in my pocket & change jerseys so I can unzip the entire way & not have to take my helmet off.  Tummy is rumbling with gut churning action going on.)

NORM: Jess has put over 5 mins into Katrins lead over the last two laps... she is catching her now.
Jess:  (I forget to tell Norm about my toilet plan)

NORM: Jess has cut Katrins lead to just 4 mins. Here we come at 4:30am
Jess:  (Forget yet again to tell Norm about my toilet plan)

NORM: Just about thru the night... this race is really starting to heat up...I hate the waiting between laps, its nearly 5am.
Jess:  (I remember to tell Norm about my toilet plan, oh one more lap, my guts are hurting & I need to go!!!!!! That’s all that consumes my mind now)

NORM: Another minute up that lap... but Jess needs a toilet stop out on course this lap, lets hope its a quick one at 5:30am.
Jess: (This is a happy lap, I know that in about 15 minutes I will be sitting on the port-a-loo inviting a new lease on life!  Oh the relief.  Now I can race.  I am smiling from ear to ear & ready to smash Katrin.)

NORM: Jess lost 6 mins that lap... she is feeling better at 6am
Jess: (As I said, smiling from ear to ear.  Its nearly light & I am a new woman)

NORM: Katrin just took a break and Jess just did a flyer and got back 10mins! The race is back on at 6:45am.
Jess: (it is amazing what you can do once you can concentrate again.  The light is up, my helmet is free from the bounds of a light and battery.  The morning fog is like a misty rain.  It’s beautiful.  Sunlight is trying to sneak through the fog and I am going to win…I just know it.  Oh wow, 5 hrs to go.)

NORM :Just 4 min now separates jess from Katrin, Katrin leading... just 3 mins Jason to Dan at 7:24am
Jess: (The mist is lifting, the mood is growing, the crowd is very excited for me.  Norm is ecstatic, holding back all he can, a nervous Richard, Katrin’s husband is looking at me as I ride past him out on the course.  No doubt he is waiting to see how close behind I am)

NORM: Jess back in the lead! 1.5 mins up thru transition and its nearly 8am.  4 hrs to go.
Jess: (I cannot believe it.  I am feeling so strong, not at all tired.  I vow to myself to go hard on the sections that I am best at & stay conservative at the uphills & pinches. Katrin is now further behind as the single track winds around.  Well & truly up on her I remind self to go hard where I can and break her NOW!)

NORM: Jess now with a 5 min lead. Katrin continuing to lap hard. Jason English leads by 3 mins and its 8:45am.
Jess:  (Not deterred by Katrins persistent efforts, a smile on my face I believe I deserve this win.  It is mine, just stay focused, keep lapping, drink up, have a gel, do what Norm says, there is no pain, just winning.)

NORM: 12.5 min lead now... inside of 3 hours to go, 9:23am.
Jess:  (I cannot see Katrin on the single-track sections now where I used to be able to.  Don’t slow down yet I tell myself.  Just keep lapping as you were.  Stay safe, smile, enjoy, stretch, eat & drink.  You Deserve this Jess!!!!)

NORM: Jess is now lapping almost as quick as many of the top 5 men... Katrin still back some 13 mins. Jason English is holding Dan McKay at 9:50am
Jess: ( I am loving my laps, doing the sums, maybe 3 laps to go!)

NORM: 17 mins now... Jess still in the big ring... smashing!
Jess: (not long now…hang in there.  Amazingly there is no pain from fatigue, just from holding my body on the bike for this long.  Arms are starting to feel weak, not enjoying the bumpy bits, I find I am going a little slower in these sections and pushing it harder on the smooth bits.  Still loving the Big Chain Ring.)

NORM:  Jason English still holding Dan McKay by 3 mins... Jess now at least 19 mins up at 10:30am
Jess: ( I now know that there is no way Katrin can catch me, I just need to keep lapping, new sums done, maybe I do have to do 3 more laps.  Whatever it takes I will do it, I am prepared to win. )

NORM: Just heard Katrin say she was stopping... Jess is up by 23 mins now. Jess: (Norm tells me that I can lap Katrin now.  So I try my hardest and keep smiling)

NORM: It’s official... Katrin has stopped & is waiting for the 24 hours to tick by & roll thru for second.  It is 11am. Jess has now lapped Katrin. Jess is on her final lap... cross your fingers! She is very excited and still in amazing spirits.  All she has to do is stay on and she will win.
Jess: (Norm tells me that Katrin is out on the course waiting for 12noon to tick by & will take on 2nd place.  It is a bit of a let down for me that I will not be racing her down to the final minutes.  So now we take our time, I have a drink, lube chain etc…Norm tells me to do my slowest lap & enjoy.  I leave transition, with the MC letting everyone know that I have won. It is a relief, I vow to myself to flow & enjoy.  Stop at the Port – a – loo for one last toilet stop & cruise home.  I get back to the finish 10 mins early, so wait with Jason English for time to tick by.  I have won & its so surreal.  Katrin congratulates me.)

NORM: Jess is the 2009 Australian 24 hour solo champion
Jess :
(I need a shower, Norm is having a tear, & he kisses me.  I sit down but my lower back is killing me.  I eat a chocolate & have a recovery shake.  I collect my gear & head off to get the last 24hrs of mud & sweat from my body returning renewed.  I have won.  I can relax now.)

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