Naomi Grigg’s Skating Years – Part 15 by Naomi Grigg


The rest of the race was a blur. There is something about passing people wearing all the flash gear that really drives you on. I remember passing one guy who looked about thirty and relatively normal, with his 5 wheelers and lycra on, with a cycle helmet and the optional shades – and thinking ‘how must he feel? How must he feel being passed by a 4-wheeler, shorts, t-shirt and helmet wearing chick?’. I don’t think that ‘humiliated’ can possibly cover it. But for every chunk I took out of other peoples egos, I added a one to my own, and faster and faster I skated until the end of the lap.

I got into the pits, shoved the baton into the next skaters hand, and nearly blacked out as I stumbled, shaking and trembling onto the carpet of the team area. I clawed at the clasp of my helmet, and ripped it off as I gasped desperately for air. Everything was blurry, and when I made it back to my pit I collapsed onto my knees and slumped onto my hands and then my elbows, unable to support myself any longer as I groaned in the agony of total and utter exhaustion.

10.08 minutes.

That was big. That was huge. That was a good time. But at least one other person from London had broken the ten minute barrier, and I wanted to do it too. I was going to knock off those 8 seconds even if it meant putting myself into a coma doing it.

And so the 24 hour relay had begun, and with that first lap I had set the scene for the remaining 13. I dreaded each and every lap for the next 20 hours – would this be the one? Would I get lucky this time? There was really no way of telling how fast you had gone until you returned to the pits, shaking and exhausted once again, to be told your time.

We had discovered that getting in behind someone drastically reduced our times, because it motivated you to keep up with them, but mostly it gave you a drag effect. We later found out it was known as drafting, and we loved it. We were all basking in the glory of how fast we were – none of us could believe it.

Back to part 14

To be continued…


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