I’m not quite sure why but things are rarely straightforward for me. The Bristol Bikefest 2012 was no exception.
At first I was riding in a team of 4, entry hadn’t been sorted, so then I wasn’t. After many emails pleading with race organiser I finally had confirmation of my 12 hour Solo Singlespeed entry, exactly 39 hours before the race was due to start.
Plenty of time to get my things together…maybe? All I had to do now was, find a support crew, fit in two sleeps, work a busy day and then drive to Bristol, simple as that!
We got to site at around 10:30 Friday evening, we made it approximately 100 yards into the field and our van is bogged down in the mud. Nothing one of the marshals with a 4×4 couldn’t sort, so our spirits are still high and certainly not dampened by the amount of rainfall we’ve had in the UK over the last few days!
After a good nights sleep, I signed on nice and early things are looking up. My cousin Gareth is in charge of breakfast and Lloyd my nephew is polishing the bike. Before I know it the start line is beckoning and towards it I go.
The start I can only describe as a mess. A Le Mans style start, with no official start line. Half the riders deciding not to do the run and just join in on their bikes after watching us idiots sprinting up a hill. Not good!
Lap 1 – It was basically spent trying to edge my way past many, many riders on the tight single track through the woods. With overtaking opportunities very limited I politely squeezed my way through as best I could.
Lap 2 – The bottlenecks were much fewer and far between and I managed to overtake a good few riders. I’m now in third.
Lap 3 – Start of lap 3 I find out I’m in first position. I feel good. I ease up just a little, to save some energy. I get caught on the final climb of this lap. I just sat behind the rider for the remainder of the lap. I was confident that I could loose him on the singletrack.
Lap 4 – As we came through the campsite just before entering the woods I went for it. I got around him and another geared rider, I’m on my way!
Then fate, doom, bad luck or whatever you want to call it strikes. My chain’s come off! When trying to put it back on I find that the spring has snapped inside my jockey wheel type singlespeed tensioner. Basically…can’t pedal without it.
I jogged back to the campsite and walked into the pit area knowing I didn’t have a spare. After a lap of the trade stands and asking lots of random people we came up short.
An early drive home it then!
A massive thank you to Gareth and Lloyd for being “at my beck and call” on the drop of a hat!
Thank you George Rose of Cycle Coaching Wales for allowing us to use his Gazebo to pit in, top coach, top guy!
Also I’d like to thank Juice Lubes for their numerous bike maintenance products. My bike was glowing after Lloyd did his magic with their Frame Polish. Unfortunately I wasn’t in the race long enough to give the Viking Lube it’s moment of glory.
I’m angry at myself for again not having sufficient spares and that therefore costing me what was looking like a good race. I always try to pull positives out of every situation. If nothing else this experience has left me even hungrier for the next race.
Exciting times lay ahead