Ex-downhill world cup racer Johnny Waddell has just completed a 12 hour race in Western Australia. Here’s his story:
After 12 hours of racing and completely jarring every joint in your body from the rough terrain, you come to realise just how long a single night can seem and what you are able to achieve when youʼre battling it with fellow competitors. Well thatʼs what I found between the hours of 6pm to 6am during the annual Alcoa 12 hour race last weekend held in Jarrahdale Western Australia .
Arriving with minutes to spare I quickly off loaded my Santa Cruz Bike and rushed to collect my number plate as the announcer was calling all riders to the start line and 3…2…1…weʼre off! For the first two hours while there was still daylight I set a comfortable pace which was quick enough to grab the fastest solo lap time of the event and stay at the front of the pack until it was dark enough to put on the lights. Finding that the batteries connected to my bike were flat (which says a lot about my preparation) I was knocked back to 4th position by the time I had a chance to get everything in working order. From this point the rest of the night was all about the chase.
A close encounter with a spectator’s dog that wasn’t on a leash, a baby kangaroo that ran into my bike (while I was riding) and meeting the trees that came off second best were all part of a great nightʼs racing. Fueled by music and an announcer on the PA system ensuring that no animals within a 2km radius of the event were going to sleep, spectators were out in force with full coolers and BBQ’s. There was even a mobile coffee van to make sure no-one had the chance to have a bit of shut eye.
With only 45 minutes left to spare I had to push out a screaming lap to come across the line within the time bracket. With every little bit of effort I had left I managed to knock 9 minutes off my previous lap time which meant I scraped into 3rd place, I was happy and relieved to finish my last competition of 2008.
Giving much needed support and fueling me with Red Bull, food and water were my support girls, my mum Irene and girlfriend Joy. Thanks also to the following companies who provide me with strong and continuous support ensuring I can push myself to power through these tough competitions.
Johnny Waddell 12 hour race