The stretch of the A31 between Farnham and Alton is a horrible road, and the weather yesterday (Sunday, 12 June 2016) was diabolical. So what a perfect time and place to spend 12hrs riding up and down, as part of the Newbury Road Club 12hr time trial. My brain is still quite foggy from the fatigue and lack of sleep, so I have summarised the race report in 12 (symbolic) bullet points-
- A rabbit nearly killed me in the first 30mins. (He ran out from the undergrowth right in front of me). When he didn't, I hated the rabbit for not saving me from having to ride the next 11.5hrs.
- I thought I had a puncture in the first hour, but think it was just because I decided to use slightly lower pressure than normal because of the rain. It still meant 11hrs of paranoid puncture thoughts.
- My position on the bike felt really comfortable for 5.5hrs. For the remaining 6.5hrs it was agonising. There was no in-between.
- Everything hurts during a 12hr time trial; Back, shoulders, neck, gooch, shins, feet. But not my legs.
- it rained persistently for the first half of the race, meaning I could barely see anything through my visor. Possibly a blessing in disguise as it forced me to pace myself.
- When it was raining, I wanted it to stop. When it stopped, I wanted it to rain again.
- As time passed by, my perception of how quickly it was passing changed. Hours 0-6 felt like 6hrs, 6-10 felt like 8hrs, 10-11:45 felt like 60mins, the final 15mins felt like an eternity.
- To pass the time I tried doing mental arithmetic to work out estimated finishing distances. I struggle to do maths when simply sat at my desk, but after many hours on the bike it becomes impossible. I actually think I started to become slightly delirious near the end.
- The wind picked up in the last few hours, making the westward leg soul destroyigly slow (~23mph) and the eastward return extremely quick (~27mph). It also made pacing difficult.
- My saddle bag and rear light fell off my bike at some point. As soon as I noticed, my chance of getting a puncture or mechanical problem obviously skyrocketed. Luckily, I got to 12hrs without any issues.
- I discovered the garmin 920xt battery lasts exactly 11hrs , then dies. So don't get one if you want to use it for an ironman (unless you plan on going quicker).
- Official distance is still TBC, but I think I managed to ride 311miles (fraction under 26mph average) and finished in 1st place. A huge improvement on my 2015 result of 292.15miles (24.3mph average).
I owe a massive thanks to the people behind the ride, that gave up their day (or part of) to hand me stuff in the pouring rain, while I barked instructions at them.
- James Churchard - who should really have been riding.
- Lydia - did a great job of handing up bottles which I never took.
- Joanne - sorry for accidentally spitting a bagel at your face.
- David Woodhouse - thanks for the awesome caffeine turbocharged gel you handed me (even though it repeated on me for an hour).
- Paul Elcock - did an incredible job for 12hrs handing me stuff on the go. He mastered the art of taping all sorts to water bottles (including a spare garmin when mine ran out!). He wrapped food up in cling film and taped these to bottles, and each one was a surprise concoction. Some of them were edible 😀
- The organisers and marshals who gave up their Sunday to put run the event and make it happen.
Some photos from the day taken by Kinesis Ttwo, who was there for the entire day.