One particular story comes to mind.
The biggest challenge other than the climbing were the storms at altitude. It was the worst I had mentally felt during the race, but also the most electric, excited, and fulfilled when I completed this specific section and continued to push onwards. It was an incredibly hard climb up another mountain. The weather took a turn for the worst and my emotions were all over the place, again. Cold started to set in as I pushed my bike through the rain. Hail stones the size of golf balls hitting me all over. I wanted to stop but I kept thinking to myself, just keep going. Pain may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and if I quit, it will last forever.
Unknowingly after a 3-hour hike-a-bike, my efforts were rewarded in the form of a bunk house (or bothy) in the middle of nowhere equipped with running water, a firepit, gas stove, and electricity. Result! Survival mode kicked in and I began removing my wet outer layer kit and set to making a fire and bring the finest pack of shop bought noodles to a boil to eat and warm myself up. Then, my mind was completely blown.
I actually couldn’t believe it for a moment. I opened a carboard to my left to find a box of celebrations and a bar of Lindt milk chocolate with nuts. My spirits were truly lifted. It reminded me of home, the people rooting for me. And encouraged me to give it my all and finish my first ultra-endurance mountain bike race.