Yesterday I rode my first ever mountain bike super marathon, 100km. The Scott MTB Monster Marathon in Wantage, Oxfordshire. I had not had the best start with a few weeks of bumpy training and no time for long rides. I was hoping that the short sharp vo2 sessions which have helped improve my fitness would be enough to pull me through. To add to this it was my Dad and Sarah’s wedding on Friday so after a wonderful day and long night I hadn’t had a lot of sleep and had a belly full of cake and wine!
I drove up to Oxford apprehensive about the distance, the furthest I had ever been on a mountain bike but excited about the challenge.
The start was delayed by 15 minutes as people got stuck in London because of Ride London. Which reminded me of the absence of Martyn, who was meant to be accompanying me on this latest adventure…
When the horn finally went my relaxed start meant I was quite far back, I worked hard through the field to try and get in a good spot before the single track. I managed this relatively successfully and turned into the singletrack in a good position.
The first hour passed quite quickly, I thought the feed zone was at 21km it turned out to be at 17km which had taken me an hour; this worried my slightly as I had planned my own rations around when I could replenish. I picked up half a banana and re filled my water bottle.
The next couple of hours went by without a hitch I was happy I put more air I’m my tyres as I flew by lots of people with punctures. The hills were easy climbs but in the heat felt hard.
The views were amazing up on the ridgeway I could see for miles which took my mind off how long I had been riding for. The ground was chalky and rutty in most places with some loose rockie climbs and descents. A few road sections linked together the mainly double and single track course including one road through a valley where the wind seemed to be pushing me backwards.
The first 70km I felt happy with my pace and progress. I had a slight head ache due to the heat and being slightly dehydrated. At 76km I reached the final feed station snacking on peanuts and bananas I was starting to feel tired. Luckily I met a fellow cross-country racer and chatting about racing helped the time to pass quicker! When the 10km to go sign came I was really excited to be so close to finishing but also sad that my first 100km was coming to an end.
Crossing the finish line was a relief and being able to grab a cold drink felt very rewarding!
My first 100km was a great experience and I learnt a lot. I think in reflection maybe I needed to drink more in the first two hours. Also I think I would have been better with a more salty snack. Malt loaf was great but I craved salt so would try something savoury next time.