Darren is a man of many talents; welding, designing, innovating and (recently) endurance mountain bike racing. Taking on the Worlds 24 hour mountain bike at Wembo was certainly a cycling feat unlike any other. And in spite of the man ‘with his name on the door’ pulling up surprisingly well from the experience, there was still precious little energy remaining for what is not quite his forte: writing.
That does not mean Mr Baum was going to escape from giving us his perspective of the race. In fact, he found time at the end of each lap to give the Twitter universe a glimpse of his inner most thoughts.
Foremost was paying respects to the family of the rider who unfortunately died after an accident on the very same trails only 24 hours earlier. While accidents can and do happen, no cyclist or their family expect to pay the ultimate price.
From there, it was back to racing. The pre-event talk may have been around whether Darren would even last half the distance. However make no mistake, the start line adrenaline took hold of Darren and his first two hours were as hard as he’d managed to ever go. Combined with a much hotter than expected temperate, the result was Darren making it in to his 42 tooth rear sprocket on lap 3
then 'clicking' on lap 4 that maybe he went out a little too hard…
Lap 5, a certain (salty) frame builder was getting a little tired of the sun…
Lap 6, lights were fitted (at over an hour for a lap, organisers set a 17:30 time cut for lights being mounted, just in case…) and some A lines attempted.
but not again. Lap 7 he wished his two boys (at home) goodnight before admiring some rediscovered biceps
and by lap 10 there was going to be money changing hands!
The bets were that Darren would not make the half-way point of the race. However 12 hours in, and in spite of needing some adjustments the following lap, Darren was still going strong.
Or at least, as strong as you can when you’re framebuilder and father first, 24 hour bike racer second.
We would love to say that Darren’s second wind kicked in from there and he went on to ride for the glory of racing framebuilders everywhere, but…
well, that sadly didn’t happen. Some extremely low overnight temperatures resulted in this scene
as the sun finally appeared again – this time much to the relief of the riders and crew. Darren lives by ‘a man needs to know his limitations’ and for a first attempt at a 24 hour the result was more than satisfactory.
The real heartbreak would however come later, as the cycling computer used would not process the ride. No data. No Strava evidence. Nothing. Not the ideal finale. But out of the ashes of disappointment sprang reason to start planning the next 24 hour race…stay tuned!