Seeing the sunrise can be an emotional experience. For some, it might only happen once a year, stumbling home on New Years Day from a warehouse party whose recollection is already becoming hazy. For others it might be an almost daily experience, performing morning yoga in a majestic setting on the beaches of southern India.
For me, seeing a sunrise is infrequent and usually occurs after riding a mountain bike for 18 hours around Mount Stromlo in Canberra.
The first sighting of that dull orange glow on the horizon is enough to fill any 24 hour rider with excitement. The toughest part of the race will soon be behind you and it’s time to look forward to the warmth and excitement that a new day filled with sunshine has to offer. You can forget about lights, batteries and vampires and start to focus on coffee, sunglasses and snakes.
For the support crew, it also signals the conclusion of the toughest part of the race.
It can be very tempting to sneak off for a snooze during the quiet, cold hours of the night, particularly if there’s not much going on in the pit area and especially if your rider’s lap times are starting to drag out.
At least the dog is still awake!
Photo: Russ Baker
Apparently the unlikely combination of broccoli and custard is said to provide all the necessary nutritional needs for a rider attempting a 24 hour solo mountain bike event. A group of (most likely single-speed) mountain bikers took it upon themselves to set up this neutral feed station and it is still unknown as to whether any riders did avail themselves of the food and, if so, what was the digestive outcome.
Apart from my pit-row neighbour Andrew Howett from England, who was obviously well aware of the nutritional benefits of this particular gastronomic combination, my pit crew’s offer was met with little success.
Not to be deterred, they moved on from offering food handouts to trivia questions, which did seem to elicit a fairly decent response, as well as uncovering the rather controversial revelation that 24 hour Solo World Champion Jason English, despite being a teacher, does not know the capital of Portugal.
But the measure of a truly committed support crew is something that only an impeccably-timed photograph can accurately catpure.
Support crew showing respect to their rider in the traditional fashion.
See you at the next one!