Life came knocking on my door again this year scuppering my selfish plans to race silly distance XC events, but one event I knew I could wedge in was the Gorrick organised Torq in your Sleep 12hr.
In 2005 this was my first serious distance MTB race and it’s in close proximity to where I live which means packing and getting to and from the event isn’t such a slog, the only issue was what race to choose, the 6-hour or 12-hour, oh and that small matter of ‘training’. This had been sporadic to say the least, working shifts and 4 kids was testing but I was banking on the theory that I generally felt like I had done X amount of hours before I went out for a ride plus I was off on holiday to France and close to the Jura mountains for 2 weeks.
I slammed as much training as possible in this period, this included a ride up a climb called the Ballon de Servance with the son of the 1985 double TDF stage winner Frederic Vichot, who is also the cousin of Arnauld Vichot from FDJ. So I came back with some half decent miles in my legs.
The week leading up to the race I had to face the dreaded ‘ego’ as I had let it loose and entered the 12-hour, it was now time to accept reality and change to the 6-hour.
Race day was the usual mix of nerves and excitement. I drove about 45 mins to the venue, signed on, sorted bike, kit & nutrition and waited for my race start which was later (3pm) than the 12-hour start which was midday.
The race was a paced start and then straight into singletrack. I had decided my plan of action was to stick to my pace no matter how many riders passed me and not get caught up in somebody else’s race. First lap was cool, the course was riding great, lovely dry singletrack and tasty technical sections will a couple of small climbs to attack. Second lap all good, just riding to my established pace whilst having the odd chat to other racers about times, laps and categories. This year the event followed a new timing pattern for the end in which you had to finish your last lap before the cut-off for it to count.
As the race progressed I was still feeling ok but tired and looking at my lap times knew it would be a close affair for me to get my last lap in before cut off. I had no support so was just estimating my times so as I came in on lap 6 asked the timing guys how I was doing. I was gonna have to lap 2 mins quicker in the dark to get in 7 laps, the guy in front had gone through and the guy behind was nowhere close. I knew it was gonna be a big if impossible ask and considering I now felt I had rinsed myself out and was more than happy with what I had done decided to call it a day.
I had great fun and felt like I was making all the right steps to moving in a more productive 2017 racing schedule but first there is The Exposure Night of the Knobbly Tread event !