We went into Revolve24 for a new experience and fun as a bunch of dudes that cycle socially together most Saturdays. (Hot tip for anyone not local to Adelaide, stop in at the Uraidla Café when you are in town.) We only have experience of participation events and had no ambition of ranking highly.
What a start! I had to Google what a ‘Le Mans-style start’ involved. I now know the pleasure of watching everyone waddle in their road shoes to their bikes. Surprisingly, everyone remained upright.
The first lap was the fastest of the event and team mate Dave was third in the line. Now, as the next person going out, I’m starting to feel the pressure. I did a few warmups in the car park to steady my nerves, but any worry I had peeled away as I rolled out of that pit lane and onto the track.
Our plan going in was for each rider to take 30-45 min stints during daylight hours, switching to longer slots overnight. We found 5 laps (40-45 min) was ideal to maintain a high speed but short enough to recover from. We switched to 7-8 laps (60 min) between midnight and 8am. I was able to get about 1.5 hours sleep, but found fitting it in around trying to eat and hydrate difficult.
We had no idea what to eat during the event. I ended up eating cake, lollies, energy bars, olive bread and rice pudding. We all ate more sweet food than we would have liked.
We were very lucky with the wind only picking up on Saturday evening for an hour or two. The night conditions were perfect. I was thankful to have had the opportunity to learn the corners in daylight as some of the night speeds were quite fast.
Around 9-11pm we were bouncing around 8-11th overall and maybe 4-5 ranked in category (team of four). It was all very close. Things got gassy overnight, in more ways than one (thanks to all the cake), and we powered through the night. It was very easy to lose a lap by dropping out of the fast group during the change of rider. We managed to stay in the fast group through 3 riders in a row overnight with some strong efforts to catch it out of the pit.
By morning we were 2nd in category and 3rd overall. I think we had a 2 lap gap on 3rd at that point. The wind picked up along with the temperature from about 10am. The team really wasn’t in it to compete so I had to sell it. “Lads, we’ve made it this far, let’s go for a position. All we have to do is not get lapped.” The Daves are legends and humored my need to compete.
As we approached 12 noon, and aware that only full laps count, I crossed the line with seconds to spare. It was a solid effort and we held our ground managing 165 laps (817km) total, second placed in category with a one lap lead on 3rd. We were not sure we were actually reading the live results correctly until the podium call... I mean how can we be here?!
Off the track, I spoke to others in the pits. It was a great bunch of people to share the experience with, both riders and support crew. My hat goes off to all of the solo and duo riders. Pulling this off with a four-person team is crazy, doing it on your own is insane. But hey, I once said I’d never wear Lycra so who knows what the future holds for me!
With Revolve24 under my belt, I think it’s time I attempted a road race. At 45 years of age, I think I’m ready.
Great event, great hosts, great people and great work team!
We will be back!