Although held at the same location, more than half the course was different from last year. Some of the more boring firetrail bits were eliminated and some new singletracks employed.
The weather this year was simply terrible. There was rain earlier in the week leaving the course wet. On the Saturday,it was windy and drizzly. Usually, clouds mean cool days and warm nights but clouds disappeared and the temperatures plummeted and there was even a little snow.
The track did not hold up well under the conditions. The result was that some sections became very muddy so I found myself plowing through mud up to my axles. For the first time I wore glasses for Mont laps, even at night - shockproof ones to keep the mud out of my eyes. The mud was so bad that my rear light was invisible and I had trouble changing gears as they were clogged with mud.
Racing was started by the Chief Minister at noon Saturday and ends after noon Sunday. My first ride was a twilight ride at 1800, starting in daylight and ending in darkness. Then back again at midnight and finally a morning ride. So even on a team, you don't get much sleep. Solo riders, though, are the superheroes. While waiting at transition on Sunday morning I was astonished to hear that there was only a second between the leading male soloists! (Craig Gordon eventually beat James Williamson by 30 minutes. In the women's event, Rosi King was unable to peg back Katrin van der Spiegel.)