Monday, 1 October 2012

Done. No dust.

The strangest feeling. I wasn't worried.

The day dawned. Or rather, a dimmish light seeped from behind the cloud blanket. The air was thick with drizzle. But I felt impervious to it. Very matter of fact. Make breakfast. Eat. Put clothes on. Go.

I forgot all sorts of things (to brush my teeth, apply chamois butter and pack a lip balm) but I had reached the point of don't care: go. This thing had been calling me for some time, and it was time to get on with it.

Having said that I was slow off the mark with lining up and quite far back in the line up, close to Chipps and a few other friends. The weather forecast (damp and windy) had made me choose winter tights. I'd decided to go for my more flexible shoes even though they weren't waterproof, with wool socks which stay warm, wet or dry. I set off wearing a waterproof jacket. I didn't take it off for the whole race. 'Damp and windy' proved to be an understatement.

The start was great. The bike is light and suited to gentle uphill so I flew ahead, making up places, keen to get a good position on Ingleborough. The first tracks were easy, the kind of farm tracks I love riding. But we were crossing streams within minutes. A pair of riders collided in front of me, and immersed themselves in a brook. It was salutary. I jumped over it, noting that it would be good to keep dry for as long as possible.

As the hill became steeper, the true bogfest began and I realised that trying to dance every mud puddle was futile (mud puddle, there must be a word for that. Muddle is taken though). I was quite happy slogging up though, and reasonably fast. Making sure I didn't lose a shoe in the sucking mud. But that was the warm up. I'd seen the pictures of Simon Fell's crazy angle and was just waiting for it to start.

Steep went steeper and we started to enter dense cloud. Shouldering the bike was not too bad - turning it to the wind accidentally was a big mistake with much staggering and the odd falling over episode. Perhaps the carbon wheels, with their deep rims, were not the best choice. Too late now...

Despite this (and weaving across the almost vertical slope at the pleasure of the wind) I was doing pretty well and moving slightly faster than the column which had kept to the left to use the fence for support. Once the 'super steep'™ bit was over, there was still more 'quite steep'™ before the path flattened and we were disgorged, disorientated, in dense grey mist on the top of a grey, stone splinter strewn plateau. Tape guided us through this monochrome landscape to the marshals, and the first dib. The feeling of achievement and elation was amazing! If I can do this, I can do anything.

The descent flashed by - a bit stumbly to start with. I was finding dismounts and remounts challenging. After a few 'surprise dismounts' I came to realise that the winter tights were descending slowly and acting like a slingshot whenever I tried to get into the saddle. I'd get on and then be surprised to be spat off again immediately and unceremoniously. In fact, the whole wet kit, wet legs, wet shoes for sustained riding was a new experience. My brain switched off to the discomfort (good - I kept going) but also to the consequences (bad - I found it difficult to square up the fact that things that I would usually find easy were much more difficult with soggy kit as I became more tired).

For Ingleborough, though, this wasn't yet an issue. I made it down the descent on a wave of elation to the delightful sight of Stanny with his bag of treats. I ate half a banana and took a bottle filled with energy drink and set off. The link road to Whernside wasn't far off and as I rode I reflected that maybe I hadn't eaten enough. Then it dawned on me that my food was in my backpack. For a couple of minutes I actually deliberated about getting at the food but fortunately (although stupidly slowly) came to the conclusion that I had to do it. I stopped, stuffed a bar into my mouth and got going again, resenting every non-moving second. Note for next time!

I don't remember much about Whernside, apart that the rain and the wind were worse. I had to push in places when carrying would have been more efficient for fear of being swept off the stone staircase into the mist-filled abyss. It felt like I was being sandblasted. There were a lot of steps. They were slippery. So was the bank next to them. I kind of ground at it, rather less enthusiastically than I might. I kept losing my bottle - its magnetic attachments which worked off road on other occasions were really not up to this. I hoped that it wasn't a metaphor.

The descent off Whernside was probably my least favourite bit - I kept trying to ride it but it was low visibility, deceptive and wet. The water bars were hidden in puddles as were the edges of the path at times. There were so many ways to come off the bike. Slipping off the edge of the slab path stalled the bike and led to falls. Cycling along the boggy bank led to sliding off to left or right. Or to plunging the front wheel into bog pools, creating another version of the stall and off. Falls created amazing cramp throughout my legs which I've never felt quite so comprehensively before. Chipps caught up with me at this point and disappeared off into the mist (my race strategy was to keep ahead of him for as long as possible so that if I had a serious failing of any kind he'd know and possibly be there to shepherd me down to base).

This was where the conditions bit me - my wet kit flapped around my legs, I found it hard to remount and avoid the crotch-slingshot effect, and my brakes did not want to work, ultimately ending in a comedic 'can't brake, can't stop, steer into reeds, over the bars' dismount. That hurt quite a bit and when concerned fellow riders picked me up, I was vastly grateful. I was a little more circumspect after that, giving steep terrain a miss and running more. I did manage to ride some rocky gently sloping sections and gave myself a little cheer for getting over quite a few water bars. In retrospect, they should not have held much terror but I was probably empty and a bit cold which was affecting my mind and skills.

When I finally reached the bottom of Whernside (which seemed to involve fording several torrents - only one of which had a bridge) I was very relieved. The doubts which had beset me in the mist vanished (probably as Stanny stuffed jelly snakes into my mouth, washed down by more energy drink). I'd come this far, I would finish.

The link road seemed to take forever and I managed to add some Clif blocks to my calorie intake. They're quite tricky to open whilst cycling though (note for next time). At the bottom of Pen y Ghent I turned down the lane - familiar with it from cheering Chipps there last year. As he'd told me, it was just the kind of terrain I like riding on a cx bike, stony and not too steep. Wonderfully, my friend Kirsty who was there to cheer offered me water and when I asked whether she had sweets, one of her friends broke up a bar so that I had it handy in my front pocket.

Riding Pen y Ghent lane would be something I'd do for fun on a good day. On Sunday, it was satisfying as I ground up it, refusing to dismount as people around me were doing. I even rode the three foot deep puddle at the bottom (I was bemused that I managed it - it was a really odd feeling to have water lapping your thighs as you ride).

Eventually it became too steep and rocky. The wind was hard work and quite often I had to wheel rather than carry just to avoid being blown away. I had a few dispiriting moments as I seemed to get slower and slower - until I remembered the bars in my pocket. They were so easy to eat and as I chomped them down my mind cleared and my feet started to move faster again.

People were dashing down the hill on the lane as we struggled up - and I envied them! As you near the top of Pen y Ghent there's an amazingly steep section, after which you hope it's over. Of course, it's not, there's a upwards sloping boggy section to go (how we can have bogs at the top of mountains is a mystery - but they do seem to be a speciality of the area) before the welcoming sight of mist clad marshals. Again, a wave of sheer joy passed through me. Turning back onto this now gently descending, but horribly boggy, terrain, it looked like the promised land. Well, as far as we could see. Which, honestly, wasn't very far.

Despite the bog, from which we slithered onto the loose, rocky path, the descent seemed to go so quickly. There were still a few people struggling up near the top (which meant, happily, that I was not last). I became happier and happier, uncovered my brakes and let rip. I was delighted to pass quite a few people. I'd been eyeing up the path on the way up and it felt familiar enough to pull the stops out.

Sadly one lady got me back on the link road - my highest gear was too low to help me keep my advantage as the last two miles are almost entirely downhill.

But in all, I am delighted. I finished and a lot of people didn't. It took 5 hours and 45 minutes - longer than I hoped but fast enough to make me 23rd woman in a field of 57. I got a medal. I might wear it round the house occasionally. It has been the most physically demanding thing I have ever done. I tested the limits and measured up.*

*If I ever want to raise money for charity again though, I might pick something easier next time. Like a coffee morning.
You can still donate on my justgiving pages. Go on: amnesty ... or ... greenpeace the choice is yours.
Thanks! Beate

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Nearly there...

So, I am as excited as a child at Christmas. I am collecting together the gear (I've cleaned this little low profile backpack and bladder off for the occasion). I lay awake last night thinking about the course and wondering about the weather and realising that I didn't really care. I just want to do it!

I went to see Ali this morning for a second look at my shoulder. She confirmed that it's getting better and told me to cosset it a bit this week. Not to get it cold, give it a nice heat pack one night and generally recover.

So, the training. Yes, I've been doing some. Not as much as I'd like but enough to feel moderately prepared. At least an extra CX loop every week. Another competition - the Singletrack Up the Buttress for cobbled climby madness (second elite woman since you ask). And another 'cross race.

On Sunday 23 September we stopped off on our travels for a bit of London League cx. We thought it would be balmy and warm down south. We were, oh so, wrong. A solid hour of heavy downpour - although the course was such good fun that I didn't really notice until I peeled my clothes off and they puddled on the floor.

The best bit was that I slid off on a corner, and nothing hurt. There were at least 13 women to chase down as well - I made it upto 5th place which wasn't too bad considering that I didn't start too well and  I've had a bit of enforced tapering - a week in London for London Fashion Week. Although that was definitely part of my training to drink like a cyclist. Champagne at 10am anyone?

The course was really fun - Redbridge Cycling Centre hosts mountain bike events and they routed the 'cross race round a couple of blue route bermed corners, through some muddy singletrack and over three decent sized humps as well as up and down more standard playing field fare. The rain gradually increased the slipperiness but the mud never became really deep and boggy which was nice.

I tested out my shoe choice - I think I am going to stick to my Pearl Izumi non-waterproof but flexible mountain biking shoes and try and keep moving fast enough not to get cold. Other than that I have stacked neatly every possible combination of mountain biking wear I possess. And some nicked from Chipps as well.

It's likely to be not-that-nice on Sunday so I'm expecting to be wearing tights (maybe winter ones), a base layer, jersey and a waterproof. However, last year it was bright sun by the end of the race from a rainy start so I am keeping all bases covered.

And taking a pair of Sealskinz socks. Just in case I turn into a wuss halfway through. I changed into them halfway round the Mary Towneley Loop I did earlier this year and they improved my soggy life for quite a while!

Right, back to more packing and bike fettling (or, more accurately to stand next to Chipps and look on as he fettles the bikes). There'll be an equipment list before the end of the week...

I have been really rubbish at collecting sponsorship. Please sponsor me - for Amnesty or Greenpeace! These links go straight to my JustGiving pages, go on, use them xx

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Do not fall off your bike

I've just been to the physio. Not just any physio. Mills Physio. She's very good at cyclists (here she is, with her favourite piece of advice writ large - there's probably a bike propped just out of view too). And she know how much doing the Three Peaks means so she's not going to tell me not to do it or not to train to do it. She's going to tell me how to.

At least that's what I hope, as she moves shoulder, the right, through all its range and shows me the muscles that are not extending properly. And for comparison runs the nicely mobile left one through its paces without any of the winces and grimaces she's just elicited.

If you fall off your bike, onto your shoulder, it can become quite sore. And if it's sore, you hold it into a position to protect it, causing more stiffness and swelling and pain when you move. Until you come to the conclusion that you are condemned for ever to a lop-sided existence with twinges whenever you reach out in a way that is not-approved by the newly clenching muscles.

Which won't do if you're planning to use said shoulder for carrying your bike up several largish peaks, never mind directing the bike in the right directions on the way down.

So, to rewind. I was enjoying my cyclocross learning curve with the every-other-week (ish) discipline of the Yorkshire Cyclocross Summer Series. Every session was a voyage of discovery - from realising that my bike was equipped with stupidly high gears to learning not to follow slow giffers up hills too closely (they may roll back and take off your rear derailleur). Two races ago, I learned that falling off can have consequences.

I'd just started enjoying the race, there was only one woman ahead of me in the field and I was flying. Maybe I should always take a quick deep breath or something when I get that 'I'm flying' feeling. I flew on though, down a short, steep, grassy bank and my wheels went from under me. I'd obviously chosen a better line the previous times. At the time, I was less bothered about the pain in my shoulder than the fact that I was having difficulty getting my chain back on. It lost me maybe a minute as the other women in the field all sailed past. Once I'd managed to overcome my fingers and thumbs, the only thing that mattered was catching them up and regaining second place. I did but I was fairly breathless by the end!

Two weeks later, I rode a much more conservative race and finished bruise free (although ending up in a tape dead end meant another battle to keep my place, so many things to learn). But the shoulder niggled. Another couple of weeks later, I gave in. It wasn't getting better on its own and I was having to be very ginger with my training.

Carrying my bike had even less appeal than usual. I have felt quite battered after off-roading and mountain biking sessions and ever so slightly under the weather all the time. I didn't manage the 100 mile ride I had as this weeks' target and I am beginning to worry that the shorter rides and skills won't be enough. I need endurance too. 

The pain was only sharp if I moved in certain directions, and I managed to ignore the lower levels of it to get on with stuff. I usually accept that falling off is part of learning but I've been careful not to - and probably stiffer because of it. None of the effects have been huge, but it has been a drag; a small constant debilitating effect. 

So I ended up on Ms Mills couch, with her digging her fingers into muscles to persuade them to release their crampy hold and set my shoulder back on straight. It's really odd how interconnected the sets of muscles are, how sensation is referred as one muscle is relaxed and then another. It hurt quite a lot which made me realise how out of true the shoulder had become.

I decided not to try and ride my bike today, just to help the shoulder get used to being back in place before I start doing things to make it tense up. I have exercises to do to help strengthen the back of the shoulder so that it isn't so prone to rolling in and a nice stretchy band to do them with. I have been told heat is good and not to carry bike for a few days and to let Ali know how it's going next week.

Post script: It took me a while to get this up. Shoulder is definitely on the mend, but I have to be careful. Carrying will start next week.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Adrenaline boot camp! The Singletrack Weekender

The Singletrack Weekender 
14/15 July 2012

I've not raced much - a handful of cyclocross races, a couple of laps of Sleepless in the Saddle last year, Hit the North and the Dyfi Enduro (although strictly speaking, it's not a race, it's a challenge). I'm actually terrified of them. Beforehand a nagging, grumbling, doubt about the wisdom of entering builds to a crescendo of screaming banshees of fear, screeching the details of my physical, technical and nutritional lack of preparedness as the race approaches.

The sound of fear, in my case, is very rational. It details how little experience I have of mountain biking, of racing, of bike fixing. How skilled everyone else is, their years of practice, their respect for the course. I'm a beginner. What am I doing taking on difficulty and danger? Why? I won't win and I will probably end up looking stupid. With bruises. If I'm lucky.

The solution. Do more races. Make them seem normal. Or that's the theory.

I entered the Weekender right at the last minute. I know Lee Quarry, the venue, and navigating it the first time was pretty scary. But hey, I have had a few fun days there since, where I've not been terrified (as much) and I have been on a skills course since then. Or so I told the voice of fear.

The Weekender is a three part event which must be completed on the same bike. In my case, my trusty Ibis Mojo. The bike that likes to stay upright*.

The first part is a trials test. In which you have to attempt a very steep, technical hill climb, ride down a skinny log without falling into a pond, up and down some hefty steps, track stand for 30 second and ride over a see saw. I managed two of these (the skinny and the see saw) - to my surprise. I didn't expect any! I didn't try either of the two more testing trials - fishing a duck out of the pond whilst riding the skinny or riding a ring of slabs - proper trials rider stuff and you were given penalty minutes if you failed.

 *see, it likes to stay upright

After the trials came the downhill, the most terrifying part for me. Getting a grip, I decided to try out the  course in sections. Not to worry about fast lines and slow lines, just about finishing in one piece.

The main obstacle - in my mind at least - was the drop into the arena. From floor of the arena, my eyes, and head told me that the steeper line was smoother. Peering over the edge, they back-pedalled rapidly into the squealing realm of 'you will die'. Watching burly bloke after burly bloke disappear over it did nothing to quell my fears. Onlookers added pressure, the fear of looking an idiot was coming through loud and clear.

But the second they all disappeared, I sneaked up to, and over, the edge. Saw the terrifying sight of my front wheel disappearing down a near vertical slope but instead of panic, heard the voice of great firmness saying 'Commit to the line. Get used to it'. And I was down, and being sped towards the next section by my bike.

In the event stringing the sections together was harder than I expected - carrying the momentum from the first section and hearing the crowds to boot. I had to get over that edge despite them.

I did. Commit. Maybe not quite to the line I'd taken in the clear headspace of practice. There was a collective intake of breath. But I was right out over the back wheel and I didn't brake (or breath). And then I was down, over, onwards, scarcely believing I'd done it. Veering slightly wide in my joy. I made it through the gaps, down the singletrack and in and home. Not in a terrific time but unscathed. And proud.

Just because we could, I went for a second run. Fluffed two bits that had seemed innocuous and ended up having a little sit-down with Mountain Rescue to nurse my multi-coloured knees. Oops.

Hey ho, I was through and with a total thirteen penalty minutes (ten from the downhill and three from the trials). Which may not sound great, but the best female downhiller had only one less. The idea of the penalty minutes was to even the odds between trials riders, downhillers and the cross country riders. Those with penalty minutes set off after those without.

The cross country race was on Sunday. Three laps of Lee Quarry. That sounded quite short so I decided just to take a drinks bottle and some Clif shot blocks, just in case. I regretted that when the sun came out. I needed a drink and I had to slow down to get my bottle in and out of my jersey. Never mind.

The thirteen minute group was quite large. I set off at the same time as Kirsty but was not really in contention to pass her, ever. My steady pace, however passed Sue, a minute ahead of us and the other woman vet, on the first long climb, not to mention a fair number of blokes. Hurrah.

I was glad to have had a recce of the course. There were a couple of intimidating points but I had them cracked by the second lap. And there were lots of the fun berms of Lee Quarry included in the course which was fun. At least I tried to remember that they were fun, the pressure of racing sometimes interfered. But the more laps down, the more that eased. The only really, really annoying thing was dropping my chain. Twice. And on both occasions being overtaken by the same bloke. I caught and passed him twice on the last lap. Then right at the end he sneaked up behind me and passed me on the finish. Being annoyed was soon tempered by the fact that he admitted that trying to keep up with me had motivated him to finish the race.

So, what has this to do with the Three Peaks? I need racing experience. And that was racing experience, with plenty of adrenaline, peer pressure, crowds, shouting, performance anxiety, raging self-doubt and a bit of sheer terror thrown in. And I did get over them. I may have scared a few people when I dropped into the arena on an 'unconventional' line. But I didn't panic or grab at the brakes. Which is good to know, satisfying. I'm going to do any races that come my way, just to help get used to the whole thing.

And, best of all, I made my first podium. I was thoroughly beaten by Kirsty in my category (well done!) and Julia who won the senior women's race. But I was second vet and third overall, which was very satisfying. And I get a pair of Shimano shoes, which look like they may come in handy for the Three Peaks.

Now, please click and sponsor me! Amnesty or Greenpeace - the choice is yours. And I'll be very grateful (and thinking of you) all the way up Whernside and down Pen Y Ghent.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

And then it rained...

So, I've started with the best intentions. There are three whole months to get my body in shape and my bike handling (and fixing) skills up to scratch.

I would like to put in a respectable time - although whenever I see any pictures or accounts of doing the Three Peaks I reduce that back down to 'please, please, just let me finish'. (Like this: cross junkie blog or this amazing piece translated from Italian by Google translate which kindly ascribes the words 'mentally ill' to the competitors).

My training programme (ok, it's a bit vague but I have decided to try and work on skills and fitness which will prepare me for each of the three sections) was all going swimmingly last Wednesday. I found a suitably steep and long track to practice carrying my bike up and did a couple of laps just to find out how hard it was.

Yes, it was hard, I wanted to cry and give up after 20 seconds. Then I stopped trying to run and accepted that stumbling up would be better than not doing it at all. It seemed like an eternity, and one on which everything hurt, and on which I still had to concentrate on what my feet were doing as it was a tiny, rough and narrow track. Apart from the hammering heart (412 feet of climb in less than half a mile) and the sore shoulder from carrying my bike, the worst thing was having jelly legs when I climbed back on. And the other worst thing was completing a circuit and thinking to myself that I'd better check that it wasn't a fluke, and do it again. Ow.

Once home, I checked on the Three Peaks website and found that Simon Fell - the first climb of the three peaks is three and a half times the climb I'd just done. With this in mind, I thought I might go back again and have another go.

On Thursday I rode home from work over the tops - thinking I would get a few 'free' training miles in. In fact, I got a new benchmark: inner tube change timing. I punctured just before the spot where I'd practiced bike carrying. I was rather disappointed to find that it took me 26 minutes to put a new tube in. That could be improved on! And I would save my bike carrying practice for another day.

And then it, literally, started to go swimmingly. It rained.

No, you don't understand. It rained. And rained. And rained. I am relatively hardy so the rain itself wasn't a problem. The problem was that half of Hebden Bridge where my business, Makepiece, is, was under water. Not to mention a significant part of Todmorden where the Makepiece studio is. Although we weren't flooded, I had to pitch in and help!

The net result is that so far this week my training regime has consisted of:

  • Saturday: 8 hours of jet washing
  • Sunday: Recovery and light cleansing
  • Monday: 4 hours of lifting and carrying
  • Tuesday: Recovery

I finally got back onto my bike on Wednesday expecting to do a 'cross race in the evening. At least that would be a contribution towards improved fitness. However my boyfriend, Chipps, had to work late and we couldn't make it.

He did make it up to me by beasting me up the hill behind our house then making me practice 'cross mounts and clipping in on the moorland track at the top before tea. He's been clipping in for 20 years - I have been using shoes with cleats that 'clip in' to my pedals since October, and I really do need to practice! Stuff like this uses less energy once you're good at it and all these little things can really help when the going is tough.

Oddly my shoulders feel quite sore, so I guess jet washing has had some kind of an effect.

A close call for Makepiece - thanks to Giles Dring for the photo taken at midnight on Friday. I couldn't get to the shop because our house was cut off by this:

More about the floods on the Makepiece blog and Facebook page.

I'm hoping that next week will be a bit more focused and I'll get a mix of long and short rides in. And some more carrying my bike (ugh, I don't like that bit at all).

Please don't forge that I am doing the Three Peaks race in support of Amnesty and Greenpeace (all those with wet feet and worrying about about global warming please donate).

Donate online now! Justgiving pages are here:
Amnesty & Greenpeace

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Three Peaks...

There’s no other way to visit the top of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent with your favourite two-wheeled companion apart from taking part in the Three Peaks Cyclocross race. It sounds romantic. I’ve watched others do it. They are clearly bonkers.

At the start of last year’s race I was cheering on my boyfriend. I nipped into the ladies’. There was a rider in there, preparing for the start. She was a tiny woman so delicate looking and a couple of years older than me. I was so impressed that she was taking on this race when there were so many big blokes - my boyfriend included - who have a genuine respect for this race as one of the toughest in the calendar - that the seed was planted. Maybe I could do it too.

I hadn’t even ridden a short cyclocross race at that point. I was warned it was hard to get an entry - you need to prove that you’re likely to finish. But the seed was there - and I started making tentative steps.

Nine months later I:

a) have an entry - much to my surprise, delight and terror
b) have raced several cyclocross races (currently third female in the Yorkshire Cyclocross Summer Series rankings - although this is more a case of persistently getting points by attending all races rather than any speed at least it showed the organisers that I was worth an entry!)
c) have been knocked off my cyclocross bike (also my daily commuter) so it’s in bike hospital and coincidentally I've been told I’m run down (or at least have anaemia and Vitamin D deficiency).  Ooops!

I feel that I'm right at the start of a rather long journey...

Most importantly I have decided to raise money for Amnesty International and Greenpeace. It’s hard to sum up briefly why it’s so important to fund these two organisations - they’re both campaigning organisations. It’s so easy to get depressed about the state the world's in - the damage to the environment, the awful events in Syria, the terrible danger so many people live in. But, essentially, I’m an optimist - and I've always believed that if you don't like something you have to try and change it. Even if you only do the tiniest thing, it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Both these organisations have supported, protected and brought together people and have changed the world. I’m a child of the iron curtain - remember that? Gone. Because of the persistance of ordinary people. Like CFCs: banned (and the ozone hole is smaller than it was). Because governments were pushed into banning them.

Yes, there’s loads to be done, the problems of the world are vast but these are two organisations that shine light in dark places and harness the power of ordinary people for change. So, please support them.

I've set up just giving pages for both Amnesty and Greenpeace - it's easy to donate online but you can also donate directly (there's a bizarre UK rule that allows private schools to be charities but only part of the work that both Amnesty and Greenpeace do to be classed as 'charitable') - if you want to spend real money email me and I'll sort it.

I’ll do my best to get fit (and eat my new iron tablets), fast and learn to fix the bike in case of emergencies. I hope you’ll join me on the journey - for the whys, the highs, the mud, the blood and if nothing else, just to laugh at me for a piece of glorious insanity.

There are 100 days until the race, so I’d better start getting ready.