Just catching up with my blog posts. I remember this one as being rather tricky – I only entered it at the last minute on a bit of a whim and knowing that a couple of weeks previously I’d had a good 400km DIY audax to Wales and back. I’d spent the previous day organising the second Oxford City RC open 10-mile TT on the Witney bypass and didn’t get home with car unpacked until 7:30pm. Then it was straight on to cooking some pasta and re-packing the car, this time with bike, drinks and food.
I managed a reasonable night’s sleep before an alarm call at silly-o’clock and a drive down to the Alton for the start. I picked up my number and drove the car to a layby on the course where I could pass it and pick up more drinks etc. – we were basically just riding up and down the Bentley bypass all day long. I wasn’t bothered too much about a fast ride, just completion, so I was riding my road bike with clip-on tribars and using a camelbak for extra mileage between stops.
(photo thanks to BKBphotography.co.uk full gallery on Flickr )
On the trundle to the start from my car I realised just how tired I was feeling from the previous day, but knuckled down to the job in hand, a nice steady pace. I had a bit of a tussle with the guy off a minute behind me. He’d get past me after a couple of hours and then stop for a pee and have to do the whole thing over again. Eventually the cycle was broken when I went for my first food and drink stop. The wind got up a bit, but I didn’t find it too hard – there’s a bit of shelter along this stretch of road. The course started to get a bit boring after 5 or 6 hours, so for variety it was nice to see a few locals out, using the bypass as a short-cut. There was even one guy on a mountain bike with a bottle of red wine (unopened) in his bottle cage. Maybe he was riding to Sunday lunch.
Finally we were into the last three hours. The eventual winner, Adam Topham, was still riding as fast as ever, although he’d had a few technical issues to deal with through the day, and those immediately behind him seemed to be riding easily, and fast. My shoulders were starting to ache from the camelbak and I was looking forward to the end. The finish timekeepers appeared on the circuit and then with a last slightly quicker lap it was over and I was done. Thankfully I’d not ridden much past my car to finish so I didn’t have to backtrack too far, glad to have an early-season 12-hour under my belt.
Of course, having ridden one 12-hour quite well and knowing there was time to recover for another, I started to toy with the idea of riding the National, later in July, but in the end other plans got in the way.