I have great memories of Erlestoke 12, it was my first win a few years back when I surprised myself by winning the 12 hour 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 12 hour 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.
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!!