The cycle of life for a bidon on a hot day is a fascinating thing. It’s no better demonstrated than last Saturday’s Grafton to Inverell Classic, where temperatures up on the Gibraltar range and beyond soared well into the high 30s, accompanied by fierce head and crosswinds.
At the post-race awards dinner, the organisers announced they’d handed out more than 900 bottles of water at the two neutral drinks stations over the nine hours of racing. Assuming each of the 200 riders also started with two bottles on their bikes – a fair assumption based on the weather forecast – plus another 200 or so spread over the various team car eskies and neutral water motorbikes, that’s a serious number of water bottles. And from what I saw, barely any of them went unused.
As the race progressed, and the temperatures rose, we found ourselves handing out a constant flow of bottles to our riders, plus those of other teams who’d been isolated from their own team cars. There really is solidarity in suffering, whatever team colours you happen to be wearing.
During the course of the day a magnificently eclectic collection of random bottles passed through our team car which had, in effect, become a mobile water bottle filling station. I have no idea where most of them came from, or where they ended up. We simply took them, refilled them and handed them straight back out to the next parched peddler on the oven-like Gwydir Highway.
By the time we hit Inverell we’d lost about 10 of our original (brand new) water bottles. M.I.A. But not to worry. We’d gained plenty of others in their place, as I’m sure every other team car did too. No doubt at the next race this game of musical water bottles will continue. Perhaps some of ours will even return ‘home’?