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Megan “The Legend” and “The Ninja”

by | Jun 11, 2012

 The Ninja

My Yeti ASR-5C (fondly named “The Ninja” for it’s stealth-like looks) and I have had one hell of an adventure these last couple of months. We started in South Africa with the 800km Cape Epic, then spent time in the Southern Alps in Italy, scaling huge climbs in search of the snow line and descending sweet lines back towards Lake Garda. After a brief rendezvous with Munich’s trails in Germany, we then spent a week together in Greece, enjoying the breathtaking vistas, superb weather and riding trails that could be best described as gnarly kilometer-long rock gardens. In fact, The Ninja and I have done 2180km of sweet riding together, and 47600m of climbing since I left New Zealand late in March. We have been through two drive trains, three sets of brake pads and three sets of tires in that time. The Ninja is my best friend. Together we have experienced great things, seen amazing sights and met wonderful people… So it seems so fitting that The Ninja would carry me on my final journey this trip before coming home to NZ… My first 24 Hour Solo World Champs podium.

An overcast morning greeted us in Finale Ligure and after a rather bad le mans start (the Ninja couldn’t help me with that one), we were off and racing. Finale Ligure is a spectacular place and the 17.2km course (with 460m of climbing per lap) wound it’s way through vinyards, forests and along cliff edges with amazing views that lent themselves to spectacular sunrises and sunsets. I settled into third place in the elite womens category quite early in the race. My feeding schedule worked really well and my first thirteen hours were strong. My darkest moments fell just before sunrise when my position was jeopardized by my flailing body and clouded mind, combined with a nasty carbohydrate deficit. 24 hour racing is a very special beast. It will wrestle with you the whole way and only the strong of mind will survive. My last six hours were some of my strongest as I beat that beast into the ground, then nailed the coffin shut by coming through timing four minutes before the course was closed and going out on another lap (after making some obscene cowboy gesture as I was caught up in the moment), arriving home with 17 laps in 25 hours and 34 minutes, (about 300km and 7000m of climbing in total) one lap down on the winner.

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All we had to do the entire weekend was lube the chain and the Ninja kept trucking along, just like her crazy rider. I’d also like to thank Matteo from the Ultimate Bike shop in Finale for taking such good care of my beloved bike before the race, and me during the race. It takes a special person to have such a huge amount of faith in a stranger, just one of the amazing experiences I had during my trip.

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Nothing explains how good it feels to finally stand on my first world championships podium, but I didn’t feel the immense satisfaction I thought I would. The top step beckons me, and I am still in search of that elusive “perfect race”… I guess I’m in this game for at least another year. I don’t feel quite ready to succumb to sanity just yet… Read the full story on my blog

http://megandimozantos.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/riding-onto-podium-at-world-champs.html