I’m disappointed but it was a hard slog. Only if you’ve tried to ride a bike through lumpy, uneven, unforgiving snow on a narrow trail and in in flat light will you understand what it’s like. Pushing or riding the bike bounces like a bucking broncho so you have to manhandle it back to its proper course. Go off the edge of the trail and you’ll sink to mid thigh – and it’s even worse if the bike goes off the trail.
Could I have done better? Of course – and that’s the only thing I’m beating myself up about (just a little).
The medic, Cameron, and crew at Muktuk were fantastic. They were worried about my asthma (which had kicked in after just a couple of miles) and my right shoulder, wrist and hand which had taken the brunt of calming the mad gyrations of the bike. I wasn’t too concerned about the shoulder but the asthma is a worry because it makes you work harder to breathe and so sweat more which is dangerous. Deliberations and discussions continued for some time – I don’t give in easily – but Cameron said it was time to stop and he was right.
But there was some real good news from the race. My arthritic knees didn’t hurt at all (thanks to coaches Ashley Foster and Mark Redwood) and I sorted the cold feet/blister problems of the last 2 races. So now I need to work on the arthritic shoulders and hands and get the asthma checked out.
Oh – and I’d quite like a new bike!