What a weekend! Wow!
Luke Burgess (physio) and I travelled down to Egham in Surrey on Friday night to be ready for an early start at Windsor Great Park and the set up of the Red Bull Timelaps event.
Now, I’m no aficionado when it comes to anything two wheeled so I had no idea what to expect. A quick Google of last years event soon got me up to speed. The event was extreme, dynamic, challenging and borderline crazy. 25 hours (courtesy of the clocks changing) of cycling round a 6.6km course, chicanes, straights and hills (one affectionately named Heartbreak Hill by the competitors). At 2am in the morning the ‘power hour’ would commence. As many laps as possible round a second, shorter course. This, we learned was the domain of the strongest riders in the team. Midday Saturday to midday Sunday, 4 riders per team, as many laps as possible.
Saturday saw us pitch up our support gazebo in a frosty Windsor park. The teams were arriving too. Gazebos, sleeping bags, camping stoves, lounge chairs and of course, the bikes. Luke, being a triathlete, was letting out the odd ‘wow’ in appreciation of some of the bikes that passed our tent.
Once the start was underway we made our way back to be ready for the first competitors of the day to filter through. This was about 1pm and we didn’t really stop seeing people until after 6pm that evening. 15-minute turnarounds for a variety of issues including calf cramp, quad and hamstring tightness and lower back soreness. The cold weather was not helping people when they got off the bike, leading to a rapid drop in body temperature and consequently tissues tightening due to shivering.
We also learned that many of those first riders didn’t warm up adequately, probably because they were too excited to get going! This had a huge effect on their performance in that first 1 or 2 laps and on their recovery from that first effort. There was a similar story with changeovers in that riders were not exactly sure of when their ‘go’ time was, so they were waiting for the transition sometimes for 15 minutes in the cold.
Once our session on Saturday was over, we wished the riders good luck for the night and headed back to the hotel to rest up for the following morning.
At 720am we were greeted by a few very tired but still smiling faces. Straight back into 15-minute sessions and that continued until around 11am when all the competitors gathered for the finishers. We saw similar issues as on Saturday, only the accumulation of soreness was evident, and some riders were struggling to walk due to tightness and cramp. As only completed laps counted the competitors would all finish at varying times between 1145 and 1215. Considering everybody had been on very little sleep for the last 25 hours, spirits were exceptionally high, and the celebrations were in full effect. Load roars as the top 3 were awarded their medals brought a close to the event and people swiftly evacuated the site, ready for a hot shower, some good food and bed!
A few take home points:
Big thanks to Harris & Ross for sending me on this adventure, Luke for being a great wingman and Red Bull for putting on such an awesome event.
Looking forward to next year……..
Find out more about the Red Bull Timelaps by clicking here.
Sarah O’Neil is based at Harris & Ross Wilmslow and is one of our sports massage specialists, book online with her by clicking below.
Luke Burgess is based at Harris & Ross Manchester and is a senior level physiotherapist, book online with him by clicking below.