Tuesday, 28 August 2007

D2D, the 3 Peaks & a cracked frame.....

Summer never really arrived, and it's already time to think about the last events of the year.
First up should have been the 3 Peaks cyclo cross race. I did start training for this at the start of 2007, with plenty of miles on the crosser and a few xc runs each week. However, I was spared a very long walk in the Yorkshire hills when my old cross bike suddenly snapped in two places. Although that meant a long walk home in the wet, it would have been nothing compared to what might have happened if it had broke during the race itself.
I decided that buying another cross frame was'nt worth it for just one race. So instead went and bought myself a nice shiney road bike.
Crossers are fast and great for old field edge stuff, but you can't beat a 'proper' mountainbike for the real rough stuff.
So the 3 Peaks is'nt happening, it's a shame because I would loved to have done it, even if it was just to say I had!

What is happening is the Dusk 2 Dawn, a 12 hour race held in Thetford Forest between the hours of 8pm and 8am.
Again I'm going into the solo classification, and again my old friend Aaron will be there as will Marcus, all of us battling it out for local 12 hour solo honours.
I've ridden the D2D course before, and it has to be the easiest of all 12 and 24 courses, so I hope to do at least as well as I did in the Twentyfour12. The biggest issue for D2D riders is having enough light for the 12 hours, though hopefully Nick-No-Balance has sorted that for me.
All that remains to do is to stay well and fit for the next few months, and perhaps lose my summer holiday belly!

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Kona Sleepless in the saddle

Catton Park August 14/15th, not actually racing this one, but there as my mates helper on his attempt to turn in a top ten position.
Helpers, or 'Pit Bitches' as they're known in the trade are there to provide help with food and water, minor mechanics and race times and positions.
Unusually in this game we call 24 hour solo's, the weekend weather looked spot on for chalking up a good placing. Dry, hardpacked, sunny and warm, perhaps a little too warm though. However, Nick-No-Balance's ethnic origins, and the fact he has very little surface area would all go towards helping him.
The race started at 2pm with the mandatory run to spread the field. For the next six hours all I really had to do was keep my rider watered and fed.
Straight away my experience in this sport told me that there would be many riders that would 'crash and burn'. Riders were going hell for leather, taking advantage of the dry fast conditions. I told Nick not to worry about his position until about a good seven or eight hours in, and to keep it steady and concentrate on the long term. Of course I did'nt need to tell him any of this, he knew what to do. Sure enough right on schedule riders started pulling out, tired and dehydrated. Now we could look at the standings, they were'nt bad.
The next casualties would come in after midnight. Riding tired in the dark can really make you think twice about what you are doing. And seeing youre tent and sleeping bag each lap can weaken many a mans resolve.
The dark and rain took more riders out. Nick was now within reach of his target. Even the previous years winner was no longer in the running. Nick had also by now ditched the full suspension Trance for the Kona Unit singlespeed, and soon realized why it was the weapon of choice for so many soloists.
During a short'ish break from helping, Nick had gone into 11th overnight with Rod Mason in 10th. Nick had been shaddowing Rod all the race, though it was very unlikely he could pass him. During the final hours some confusion set in, the bike Nick was running had no computer and the pit timing computers were running a few laps behind. We knew Rod had ridden to 9th, so was Nick 10th?
On the final lap I went on course to shout some last words of encouragement, it was then that I heard over the race PA that Nick was 10th. As soon as he passed me I ran to the finishing straight. He seemed to be taking for ever, then he appeared. As he wheeled down the course to give big Pat Adams the obligitory high five, the PA again annouced Nick in 10th. He had done it.
We were both very happy, but at a loss as what to do next after 24 hours of racing and mooching about. Nick after some time decided to wait until we had the official results before announcing it to the world. Unfortuneately this proved to be a wise move. What had happened overnight we don't know, but Nick was still 11th.
That is still an outstanding result, though he found it hard to swallow. We both came away from the Sits with many lessons learnt, Nick knew what he could do, and I had seen what not to do.
Needless to say we will both be back next year, though I might have a pop myself if my riding and 12 hour races go well.