I've Been Road Racing - National 12 Hour

Because of the way the calendar had worked out this year I have a bit of time to do some road racing, so I have decided to try to win the Lincolnshire Best All-Rounder title.

I did the 50 mile race at Scunthorpe earlier in the year and needed a 100 mile and a 12 Hour race to complete the set so I entered the National 12 Hour at Melbourne, near York. The average speed across the three races is calculated to award the BAR title. 

For some bizarre reason they always start these things ridiculously early, 6am in this case, it was still light until 9pm so we could have had another 3 hours in bed. Anyway, I dragged myself from my slumbers and made it to the start on time (just!).

The course went from Melbourne up to Allerthorpe roundabout, looped round it and then headed back passed the start. There was a fairly significant tail-wind for this section so I knew the rest wouldn’t be easy when we turned and headed into it. That actually felt like the only tail-wind of the day, for the whole of the rest of the race it felt like I was riding into a head wind.

We were reasonably lucky with the rain, we had a few showers but avoided any prolonged downpours.
I kept a reasonable pace for the first two laps, averaging about 22mph before I made my first stop for food at just under 90 miles. Jon Hobson was there, swapping his usual singlespeed for a fixie for this event, and his helpers stepped in to refill bottles and such like for me. I can’t remember your names but thanks guys.

The first 100 miles was completed in 4hr47m, not too fast, just pacing myself nicely and I was still feeling good at the end of it, despite having to work hard into the wind.

I had another couple more stops for food, a brief pause each time I passed the start line. Of course, unlike a mountain bike race it is possible to eat on the move as one can ride without using hands, freeing them up for unwrapping mars bars or holding a bowl and spoon. I spent a total of 4 minutes stationary in the 12 hours, and this was mostly loading food into my pockets.

At 186 miles I encountered my only problem of the race. One of the arm-rests on my tri-bars, which had been a little loose for a few miles, fell off. Not just the pad, the whole thing. I had another 17 miles to do to get around to the start again, holding onto the bars as best I could, some distance away from the shifters. It probably only cost a couple of minutes to be honest. I returned to the start area and ran back to van to swap bikes, using the drop-bar road bike for the remainder of the race, this held together perfectly.

The second 100 miles had taken me 5hr05m, not too bad considering, but the road bike was a little slower than the time-trial bike and my average speed fell away slightly in the last couple of hours. As usual in long races the last few minutes were pretty quick, my legs seem to wake up when they know it’s nearly over.

I completed 236.99miles in the 12 hours, and no the scorers wouldn’t call it 237, not too far off my target of 240. This was good enough for 22nd, which for a National road race I was very happy with.

None of my rivals for the Lincolnshire title were at this particular 12 hour, I will have to wait and see what they have done at their events before I know where I stand. My 100 mile race is near Derby on 1 September, I should know after that whether I have done it.

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