A big part of 24 hour racing is mental strength and your capacity to tolerate the discomfort and pain that comes from riding a bike for such a long duration. Before I’d done my first 24 hour solo, a friend and soloist said to me:
“If you can do the first 20 hours you’ll be OK – it’s the last 4 hours that really hurts”
I remember being unable to comprehend what I would feel like after just 12 hours, never mind 20. But I discovered that its not so much how much your body hurts, it’s how much you think it hurts. If you can motivate yourself to stay focused on the riding you find that your body will only hurt so much.
Motivation is the key to a lot of things I guess, and maintaining it can be tricky. Last week is probably a good example with things like work, the weather, darkness and my bike all conspiring against me to some extent. But the reality is most of it could have been overcome with a little motivation. It was a bit like being in the pits at a 24hr race – you know you should be out on on the course riding your bike, because if you aren’t then you’re not making any progress.