Newnham Park is an ace venue for an endurance race, the camp site is in the middle of the course, so you get two visits to civilisation each lap, which is nice, but last year it was horrendous, 12 hours of solid rain ruined my chance of enjoyment. This year it was back and luckily, so were the crowds.
For 2013 and after my disappointing ride at Exposure 12, Twentyfour12 was my next big races of the year and after a surprise 3rd place 12 hour solo male in 2011 I knew the course would suit me, long climbs and nice flowing single track. I was racing 12 hour solo again, but the competition was tougher this year with reigning 12 hour UK and European champion Tim Dunford and Elite XC racer Stephen Hodge a good result was going to take a battle!
Come race morning I felt refreshed, but nervous and I wanted to get riding! after my overly fast pacing at Exposure 12 back fired I knew that I needed to control my pace, despite a few fast riders in the 12 hour I had to pace my own race and let them go and ride my own race pace.
I rode a few medium fast laps and felt comfortable, pacing was consistent and I was having fun. I was up into 4th but it was early days!
After 5 hours I had to swap onto my spare bike due to suspension troubles, no matter, the lack of steep hills suited 1 x 10, pacing stayed consistent. Next lap back through the pits Dad tells me I’m in 3rd after Steve Hodge of Mondraker had a mechanical, it wasn’t long before he caught me again, but we still had over 4 hours to go. Over the next few laps we had a fun battle, trading places a few times, Steve riding away but I could catch him without changing my pacing too much. After I saw him dive into the pits for lights I needed to make the most of the gap.
As I started what I thought was my last lap I made the most of the fun course, until I rolled round to the finish line at 23:45pm, bugger! Back out again then, luckily the first half of the lap was the toughest, that out the way I put the hammer down still feeling strong.
I finished well and secured 3rd! I’m really pleased my hard work had paid off, Dad was a great pitman as ever, I’m sure he enjoys the races more than me sometimes! Chapeau to Tim Dunford who won by 2 laps over me and Ajay from Torq who was 1 lap clear, it wasn’t till after the race I found out he was the XC champion of Nepal and twice Yak Attack Marathon champion! I was just glad the weather stayed nice and it showed how great endurance racing can be!
Thanks to Darren and Jonathan from Strada Wheels, the Mulebar guys, I really can stomach their gels for a whole race, Finely Tuned Ride for ongoing tweaking and Francesca Bennett for her coaching expertise.
Next up Brighton Big Dog, more a social than a race.