The people below are a big reason why I have gone underground for so long. We had an idea to raise lots of money, chaos and attention in the pursuit of fun and happiness. We sort of succeeded. In 2008 we were 6 Cows, in 2009 140 Cows. This year we decided to take it higher. No plan. No rules. Just (not sure if you have heard this slogan before?) do it!
I invented the Apocalypse Cows. A sturdy hardy bunch of riders, separate from the main herd, who were going to aim for a 2h30m for the 97.4k's (no, I didn't transpose any digits) of the 94.7 Cycle Challenge. We ended up with some seriously fast people and then some runners who own bicycles (as I like to call me and my friends). We had some local celebrities Freddy Lampret and Robbie McIntosh. And a crew of some really strong riders, and some pretenders.
Did I forget to mention that each Apocalypto had to do two loops?
You don't just get flame-cow-printed-arm-warmers (I invented those too!). You have to earn them.
The first loop was unbelievable. Although some of the guys could easily have gone harder, we tried to maintain the resemblance of a team, and ensure a steady pace that the weaker riders (i.e. me) could follow. That strategy disappeared the moment we hit hospital hill. It was like a grenade was thrown into the group as everyone dropped their lungs to hold onto the leaders' wheels. In the space of a kilometre, the ACs were split into various groups. Somehow I managed to stay with the front guys. Not trusting anyone thereby ensuring I stay close to the guys with bigger quads is not a bad thing.
The stronger ACs took control of the group which formed around us and we brought that group home in a time of 2h42m. Some of the other ACs who were forced to go solo, came in at about 3h10m. The pain of being shelled out the back.
After the first loop, we regrouped and headed out to meet the main herd of about 270 Cows. I found my ice cream bike which had just been involved in a collision with a cyclist. Both my replacement rider, David Renwick, and the female cyclist survived and were only slightly bruised and battered. My cramping began fairly early into the ride but after some tequila and Slowmag the muscles eased and I was able to endure. Ahead of me in the picture below is my mate Duncan Barrable aka Duccio who pulled the ice cream bike (attached to his bike with rubber tubing) with me at the helm.
I had a prang (accident) of note with 20k's to go. I lost control of the bike down a descent and around a corner and was pole vaulted off the bike and over a barrier. I escaped relatively unscathed, but the bike did not. A Samaritan from the crowd came to the rescue with his Popeye forearms and hammer. He straighten the "L" shaped forks back into their "I" Shape with his arms and knees, and applied some finishing touches with the hammer. I rode the last 20k's without front brakes. My riders would hold onto the back of the ice cream bike with one hand and apply brakes with their other hand to their bikes on descents to ensure I had control over my dancing front wheel.