Monday, 27 May 2013

Erlestoke Twelve - 6 Hour

I have great memories of Erlestoke 12, it was my first win a few years back when I surprised myself by winning the 12hour single speed race, a few years on and I had intended to race the 12hour solo again, but on my geared bike, but after Exposure 12 my head was feeling fragile and I couldn't face another 12hour so soon, so I decided on the 6 hour singlespeed race, then a few days before the race I discovered my frame had a crack in the frame, checking the 6 hour entries I wasn't sure I'd fair that well in the geared race so I considered mixed pairs, I finally settled on 6 hours solo geared and decided to see what happened.

The weather gods had been kind again, 98% dry and dusty wiltshire single track, which all seems familiar and fun. The start was casual, the only way SPAM know, starting at 11:53am, I didn't mind, I was ready and on the front row. I knew the start would be fast, but I need to get used to that. George Budd and Single Speed Singular Al shot of the front, never to be seen again! I kept in contact with James Braid from Team Wiggle, I caught him on the hills then got dropped on the single track, this went on for a few laps, quick changes of bottles wasted no time, but the gap to James grew.
Thanks Duncan @
for the photos
Three hours came and went, I still felt pretty good, legs felt strong but the fast starts do jade me after  racing single speed for so long. I was unsure on my race position, but that was ok, approaching the end of my 7th lap I lost the front wheel on a loose corner, I was fine but I had twisted the bars slightly, quick swap onto my spare bike and I was away.

The 8th lap felt good and I knew I could only manage 1 more in the time left, I was starting to feel good again after a lull and could have carried on if needed, just as I thought this, George lapped me!

I finished 3rd overall in open male, happy and surprised! I know I need to work on my speed but i'm slowly getting there! I have a break from long races in June, I best try and get faster!!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Exposure 12- 12 Hour National Championships

After a good result at Gorrick 100 I felt in good shape for Exposure 12, held this year for the first time at the Wasing Estate in Berkshire.

Dad and I arrived friday afternoon, good job I have a van now as the amount of stuff I take seems to grow every race! I went for a practice lap friday afternoon and felt a little disappointed by the course, the laps felt too short and the some of the trails were very fresh, but I knew like most endurance races the course improves as it gets ridden in. The rest of the evening was spent catching up with fellow racers.

Race kit, race bike & silly grin
Race morning arrived and I felt pretty calm, I went through my usual race routine, and headed over to the start line. I was “seeded” second this year which meant I was officially called up to sign on, it also meant I could start at the front, which meant the 3rd row by the time i’d rescued my bike!
Race sign-on
The start was fast, I didn’t want to lose touch with the front group, but I didn’t want to go into the red so early! I settled quickly and found a good rhythm, first lap was over very quickly, no need to stop I carried on, the first few laps carried on this way.

I felt ok but was concerned I may have been stretching my gel stops out too long as my lap times increased slightly, I quickly seemed to lose my head, I usually go through a rough patch but it happened much earlier than I was used to. I took on more food on my next stop, but still felt bad, I hate it when I can only “plod” round, but a plod was all I could manage! I wasn't used to this happening! I was still in 5th but couldn’t see this lasting!

At around 6pm there was a torrential downpour which had been threatening all day, luckily on the previous lap I had put on a gillet which prevented me getting too cold, but on the next lap I added more layers, strangely the cold rain woke me up!

Soon enough it was dark, the course was quite muddy by then, but I still had plenty of grip in most parts but it was quicker to walk a few sections.

The last few laps went quickly and I finished 6th open male at 11.30pm, slightly disappointed that i’d not given it my all, but happy enough with the result, I guess it's taught me racing a 6hr race six days before a 12hour race is still too much for me.

Big thanks to Strada Wheels for the race jersey and spare wheels, Rob from Finely Tuned Ride for running the pits and keeping my bikes in great order and Dad for pushing me on through my poor patch

Next Stop Erlestoke 12 or 6?,single speed or geared? I'll decide the week before.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Gorrick 100 - A lesson in getting on with it

After last years disaster where my Gorrick 100 lasted 3 minutes I was keen to have a better race! Despite the race being 1 week before Exposure 12 I went for the 7 lap category, as it is part of the Endurance series, the Endurance series has been setup to recognise the riders who specialise in longer races which in the UK, which aren't noticed by British Cycling.....

After a long training week the previous week I cut my riding by and concentrated dialling-in my new race bike in the run up to the race, despite this come saturday I was still feeling tired.

After a very early start we arrived at Porrigepot Hill, a venue I know well having raced there plenty of times before. Lining up at the start the usual fast faces were in attendance, no matter the longer races are meant to suit me. The start was fast and I had very little in response, dropping away from the front group, along fireroad sections I knew well I had no real speed and couldn't make my way through the pack.

Over the next few laps I plugged on, making it up into 12th place, but not making any time up on the guys in front, but I wasn't losing time or places either, despite a few minor off's on the loose loamy trails and enjoyed the course, with the majority of the lap made up of singletrack it was physically demanding course, with little time to eat or drink. Gradually my legs switched on and I passed a few 7 lapper's, but I still didn't feel great but I made myself drink one full bottle & one Mulebar kick gel per lap.

The last 2 laps felt better, and by the final lap I was on the chase of the riders in front, making up a few places. In the end I finished 8th out of 77, happy with the result considering it wasn't my best day, but I glad I made the distance without having to dig too deep, but I know I could have done better.

Next race is Exposure 12, Saturday 11th, so less than 1 weeks recovery, but i'm comfortable with that