The back end of 2012 ended up being a bad time for me and my prospects of having a strong 2013. In September I came down with illness. I hadn’t felt right for some time and after ruling out a number of things, I finally discovered I had a yeast infection in my stomach which wouldn’t go away without drastic diet changes. I had to cut out lots of foods and go ‘cold turkey’ to try and fix it. My main concern with all this was biking and how I could take in enough to keep energy levels high for training and racing. My diet was pretty much down to fresh meat and veg for a while. After a couple of months I was settling into this, starting to feel better and therefore started re-introducing some foods.

Well 8 months on and I’m feeling better than ever! I’ve managed to train hard over winter whilst still on the strict diet and have felt better than ever going into the race season. The main event on my mind was the 12 hours of Exposure UK & Euro champs.

I kicked off with a few XC races. A couple of top 20 finishes in the Midlands XC champs and then onto Sherwood Pines for the National XC champs. The previous year at Sherwood had been a scorcher, the end of March and we were getting the suncream out, but oh how 2013 was different and we were in almost a foot of snow! My category was due to race on the Saturday but due to the conditions they moved the race to Sunday. Phil Simcock had braved the drive down so we both went out in the freezing conditions. The course had turned to a mud bath quite quickly but I finished the race in 4th place in the open male.

Next I went to Catton Park for the Enduro 6. It turned out to be excellent weather and they’d reversed the track compared to previous years which gave it a new edge. A few hours into the race, I knew I was with a strong group of riders but had a fall and had to work hard to catch back up. In doing this I started to cramp. I worked through it though and felt good, finishing 14th in a strong field of XC and endurance riders.

Next was the main event I had been working up to, the UK & European 12/24 hours of Exposure. I was in the vets cat in the 12 hour. It hadn’t forecast the best weather and we’d never been to the track so were a little unsure of what to expect. It rained overnight the Friday but the course dried out pretty well for the start of the race.

After the first lap I’d already got a flat back tyre so had to quickly swap bikes. I continued for another few hours with just quick bottle/gel stops and was feeling good. The heavens then decided to open around 7.5 hours in, we were drenched and the temps dropped. It was awful out there. I came in for a change of clothes and headed back out. I continued pushing up to the end and finished 6th place in the vets which I was very pleased with.

So now it’s back to the training plan, this time running up to Bontrager 24/12 – I’m going in as the Team JMC torch bearer here and hope to do well, but not before Mountain Mayhem Vets team event, Erlestoke 6 hour and Bristol Bike Fest are thrown in.