Well as the bikes gleam after a good wash to remove the grease, dirt, mud and energy drink from their sleek steel frames. A quick bit of reflection on the Gorrick 12hr race and my 7th place and several others great first efforts.
I'll only go a little way to setting the scene, myself, fired up by Nick and Clive, entering the Gorrick 12:12, were joined by 3 others, Tommy (Solo) and Phil and Dom as the other pair. Clive, Hudson and I had arrived Saturday set up the pit and camp and as the others started to arrive Saturday morning, the venue started to buzz. I was for once fairly relaxed and more so when Nik arrived a few hours before the race, I can't do a enduro without here calmly over seeing things.
I had set myself a descent target of a top 20 on the single speed, I guessed tough target. Arriving at the start line later than I planned I wiggled my way forward and then waited, the quick opening lap and then we were off.
The course was brilliant, nothing too technical, nothing to hard to climb, not at least until hr 8 or 9 and the gearing worked well and the plan to change around the 5th hr was about as good as expected and allowed me to put in some quicker laps, before needing dial it back for a bit.
A wobble about the same sort of time saw a slightly longer stop of about 5 minutes, a feeding frenzy and then a charge down the pit straight, that nearly ended with my stomach contents on the track. But fortunately not.
Some ice cold rain for a period of time gave those with good bike skills an advantage and I caught and passed quite a number of riders in different cats as well as Solo men. A shout from Clive now and then helped and the support from the pit was great.
Soon, I like Nick and Clive, would be in my element, the dark, on a course that changed each lap. As more riders pulled them selves out of bushes, picked themselves of the ground, I moved further up the standings.
With 3 hrs to go I had started to pick the pace up again and push on, if there was a crash in front of me and they responded to my enquiry to their well being with "I'm fine thanks", not another thought was given. Even the lass that bailed into a small tree to get out my way was only given a cursory "Are you Ok?", but a cheery "Thanks a lot" when she said "I'm OK", I wouldn't want anyone to hurt themselves getting out my way, but at the same time I was quite focused on the job at hand.
I stopped briefly and lost 7th spot, but with another time to do two more laps, I took off and caught the chap. He stuck to my wheel, so on the first climb I dug in and he popped, I wasn't going to win, but I was going to be the highest place single speed.
My final two laps, were all about finding the next rider and chasing them down and not being caught by anyone, this would surely ensure my place or another step up the standings. Every glow stick I saw I put in an extra special effort as it was another soloist, but most I had past already, damn!
I swung past the pit one last time redlining, and yelled to Nik and Clive, see you at the finish and proceeded to bury myself and at 12.12 I crossed the line. Found Nik and thanked her and fell on the ground mainly to stretch my legs and to get off that damn saddle.
7th in Solo men on a SS, I can't complain too much about and I also learnt a couple of extra lessons, already for next years assault on the 24hr circuit.
Super big thanks to Nik, Rob and Steve, for keeping me fed, watered and the spanner turning.
Nick/Clive, Phil/Dom, nice work guys top bombing.
Tommy, totally gutted to hear about the knee and sorry I didn't seem more concerned, but I was. Heal string and fast dude.
So who's for some Brass Monkey 4hr action? Single Speed anyone? Make mine a steelie!