After 17 laps, mud, cold and a few upchuck stops, Matt Duggan is the 2011 24 Hours of Adrenalin champion.
Saddle sore and a tad bow-legged, Duggan crossed the finish line into a welcoming embrace from his wife Megan. He soon took his two month old son into his arms and soaked in the moment of his first ever solo win.
“This was my first solo effort. I gotta thank the wife and family for letting me get it done. I also have to thank pit crew Craig Bartlett,” Duggan said.
The win caps off what has been a great year for Duggan, who was also married and had a child in the past 12 months.
The Rundle Mountain Cycling Club member played the role of underdog throughout the race. Competing in his first solo Adrenalin race, he tried to keep pace with friend and former champ Leighton Poidevin for the first few laps. Poidevin, however, proved too strong and opened up a sizable lead on Duggan by dusk and was nearly an hour ahead of his friend.
“I tried to keep up with Leighton for the first few laps, but then he took off,” Duggan said. “I ended up riding my own race.”
At the advice of Bartlett, Duggan started the race downing lots of fruit, switching to sugars and gels as the race went on.
By 1 a.m., after nine laps, Poidevin was forced to pull out of the race, leaving the lead open for Duggan.
The news was bittersweet for Duggan.
“I was disappointed. We’re pretty good friends. I was hoping to get on the podium with him, either first, second or third,” Duggan said.
He says the urge to stop did not cross his mind, even during the cold night, when temperatures dropped to 4 C.
“I never felt that I had to pull out. I had to throw up a few times, but felt better after that and just powered through it and got rid of the junk. I had a few laps where I was down, but got through,” Duggan said.
Riding a Giant Trance bike, the 35 year old had no mechanical problems and kept a steady pace. His fastest lap came in at 1:07:33 – his first lap of the day – however, he slowed down at night to 1:44:58 laps. Remarkably, his 17th lap proved to be one of his fastest, registering 1:17:36.
While the pressure will be on to defend his title, he may take a pass.
“It might be my wife’s turn next year,” Duggan said.
John Russell finished second with 16 laps, while Tim Kulak finished third with 15 laps.
Only 27 solo male riders finished the race this year.