Ben is TORQ's research specialist. He holds a 1st class honours degree in Sports Science and is currently completing the highly regarded IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
TORQ Fuelled, Wiggle rider, Matt Page, recently took on a rather arduous bout of racing after the World MTB Solo Championships were cancelled at the last minute. Matt flew out to Australia to take on the Scott 24 hour and, after just 5 days recovery, got back on the bike to take on the Crocodile Trophy; one of the world toughest stage races....
It is with a big smile and a sigh of relief that I can say that my 2012 has now finished! In the final few races of the year, I managed to achieve everything I had hoped for and, yet again, trump all my previous year’s cycling to end on a high.
The biggest race of my year, the Scott 24 hour, was without a doubt the most competitive field of riders assembled this year. Australia has a host of top riders, none better than Jason English, who has absolutely dominated the 24 solo scene in recent years with no one having been able to get close to him. Many consider him to be unbeatable and, whilst I wasn't able to beat him this year, I came closer than anyone has in over 4 years, finishing just 20 minutes behind him.
During the 24 hours of the race, I pushed myself to the limit; staying strong physically and mentally, posting consistent lap times and, with the longest stop of the whole race being around 30 seconds, I was able to push Jason harder than anyone has in a long time. To give an idea of my progress; I finished in 6th place in 2010, several laps adrift and never in the fight for first position. Deep down I honestly didn't think I could beat him, which was perhaps my downfall this year. Now I have confidence in my own abilities and I know now that I can return in 2013, when the World Championship event will be on the same Canberra course, and go one step higher. My motivation to succeed is higher than ever, my dream has been to be the best solo racer in the World and that is now a very tangible goal, rather than just a dream.
Just 5 days of “recovery” followed the 24 hour solo race before I found myself lining up for stage 1 of the Crocodile Trophy; an event that many consider to be one of the hardest in the World. The ups and downs I had during the race were typical of stage races, starting fairly slowly over the first few days, and battling temperatures ranging from low 30's to high 40's. It was oppressive and a huge challenge to overcome. I started to feel stronger mid-week and even moved myself into the top 10, something I would not have dreamt of beforehand. Unfortunately my luck changed on the final day when a string of issues cost me over 1 hour, and with it a few places, finishing 11th of around 140 starters. Still, I was happy with the achievement, especially given the very high level of competition - to finish the race is difficult enough and especially so with the fatigue after the 24 hour race.
Returning home to the cold and damp weather was certainly a shock to the system but, after some time to recover and reflect upon what has been a fantastic season, I am truly thankful for all the help and support. I am looking forward to 2013 with an exciting goal of becoming a World Champion.
Check out Matt’s full blog from his adventures here... http://mattpageracing.blogspot.co.uk/