Trike: TA (East) + Breckland CC 12 hour

Cycle (trike) 340km, inc. Tricycle Association (East) 12-hour [B12/3 Course Details, start sheet etc.]

8:58:34/197.3 miles (21.980mph/35.374km/h) ___ HR147(159)

My alarm went off at 4:15 am, and I’d managed to drop off to sleep for a few hours. A quick cup of coffee, a banana and a muffin, and I was off up the road. I stopped at the Eccles Road junction, the main turning point for the event, to drop some bottles, energy food and a camelbak, and then went on a bit further to leave a couple of emergency drops elsewhere just off the finishing circuit, in case I needed them, and then headed over to the village hall HQ. I didn’t have much time before my 6:05 start, so I quickly got my trike assembled, pumped up the tyres and fitted my numbers and I was ready to roll. Just a kilometre’s warm up before the off.

Being the “scratch” rider, I was last trike off but it didn’t take me long to reel in the others, long before we’d got to the A11. In order to undo my handicapping on them I’d have to lap most of them two or three times. It was drizzling slightly, and my sunglasses steamed up a bit, but I kept them on as the forecast was for improving conditions throughout the day although it did lend a somewhat dingy view to the overcast conditions.

Once out onto the main road I was quickly into my stride, setting a steady pace. I was worried about my lack of recent hard miles and had set myself the target of Carl Saint’s recent trike 241-mile ride in the Elmet 12-hour, hoping to build steadily towards that distance. The roads were good and fast and after the opening 50-mile leg I seemed to be doing OK. On subsequent laps my speed didn’t seem to vary much at all, hovering around the 35-36km/h mark, but I was sure it would fall away later. Number 25 passed me at the start of the first big lap, and it was good to have him ahead of me so that even though I was losing time to him, I could judge how I was going. The sun started to break through the clouds after 3 hours, and number 24 passed me somewhere here. With the sun, the wind got up, but it was mostly across the course and never directly in our faces. I caught no. 24 back again half an hour later and he faded over the second half of the event.

4 hours passed at 89.0 miles (22.25mph) and I stopped for my first refill of bottles and a new camelbak after 4h18, still feeling OK. We did another couple of the westerly laps before going on to the easterly ones. I caught the other Oxford City rider at this point, Michael Johnston, and gave him a shout of “hup! hup!” as I went past. He was doing quite a bit of freewheeling and not looking so comfortable. The eastern lap proved, if anything, to be faster than the western one and certainly my first lap of this was nearly as fast as anything I’d done to this point. The wind dropped for about an hour, which definitely gave the whole field a boost.

It was getting hot, but not unbearably so, and I now realised I was well ahead of my schedule to beat 241 miles. In fact, I did a few calculations in my head that told me I was gaining on National Competition Record schedule, 255.88 miles (21.3mph). (My bike computer is set to kilometres, so these calculations can be quite complicated, something to keep my mind occupied!). I got through 6 hours with 132.2miles (22.0mph) and 8 hours with 176.8 miles (22.1mph – slightly faster again). I stopped at the end of my second eastern lap after 8 hours for another camelbak and bottle refill and stuffed my pockets with the rest of my food. I was still keeping a good pace up, I had no real issues with eating or drinking and my legs though tired were feeling OK: it was starting to look good.

Coming back down the course to complete my third east lap I was passed by a couple of fast moving police cars. I was hoping they weren’t attending an incident on our course. I could still see riders coming back towards me (including no. 25 who was now quite some distance ahead of me), so it looked OK. I caught Mick Fountain (Didcot Phoenix CC) about a mile before the Eccles Road turn and we could see there was an incident on the far carriageway. Sure enough, the road had been closed and the organiser stepped out to tell us the event was off. It turned out that Will Dorset, riding in our event, had been knocked off by a car and he was being taken to hospital. He had a broken arm and wrist and quite a few scrapes and bruises. The section of road that was closed was part of the eastern circuit and also the finishing circuit, so that was the end of that. There was no possibility of a diversion elsewhere.

I’d done nearly 9 hours in the saddle at this point, and was 5½ miles up on a comp. rec. schedule. I knew I would get at least one more of the fast eastern laps to do before we were turned on to the slower roads of the finishing circuit, so I’d only have had to do 2 hours around those – it was looking very likely that I could have beaten the old record, but I’ll never know now.

After a bit of a chat to Mick and Marion Fountain I had quite a distance to ride back to the HQ where I packed up my things and headed for home, stopping off on the way to pick up my “empties” and litter from where I’d dumped them. The main road was open again, as though nothing had happened.

Splits (off my bike computer, distances from the startsheet in square brackets)
3h/67.0 miles (22.3mph)
4 h/89.0 miles (22.3mph)
1st stop: 4h18, 95.3 miles [94.26 mi]

6h/132.2miles (22.0mph)
8h/176.8 miles (22.1mph)
2nd stop: 8h00, 176.9 miles [176.0 mi]

8:58 = 197.1 miles (22.0mph) [196.1 mi]