2012 Overview

A few numbers from last year:
11,091 miles ridden
450 miles run
2½ miles swum

2 wins
3 second places
9 third places
That will do nicely.

2012 was, on the whole, a pretty good year. It began well with two podium places in running races, 3rd place at the Balbirnie Nightmare and then what was probably my best ever performance in a running event, 3rd place from over 1,000 competitors in The Legends of Sherwood race.

I had set myself the target of finishing in the top-10 of the British Endurance Series, and exceed this by some margin. I took the lead in the series at Easter and held it through the Gorrick 100, the Brighton Big Dog and the Gorrick 12hr. However, I couldn’t keep it up at Keilder and lost the lead in the final round of the series, dropping to third in the final standings.

The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the trip to Europe in May. The main event was of course the 24hr World Championship. Any World Championship race is obviously going to be a big event, but I am still new enough to racing abroad that I get rather exited about it. Everything about the race was fantastic, from the venue high on the cliffs above the sea, to the atmosphere and the race itself. I lead a World Championship for the first time (very briefly!) and scored my best result yet, 16th place.
Other than the race itself the rest of the trip was huge fun, riding in the Alps and the gorges of the South of France, swimming in the Med and of course Italian food. I decided to try as many different kinds of cheese as I could, but kept getting distracted by ice-creams.

After the Worlds was the Transvesubienne. The race was just a bit of fun for me, but was like nothing I have ever done before, the riding in that area of the Alps was far more technical than anything I had ever seen, that race was properly tough. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. The prolouge was probably the most fun I have had on a bike, 41 minutes of pretty much continuous downhill, with the finish line still higher than Ben Nevis!

I also did a little road racing, I was very pleased to win the Lincolnshire 12hr title. My performance at the National 12hr was the best 12hr result by any Lincolnshire rider all year, for which I won the John Bull cup. This is solid silver and was first awarded to Mr G W Gunson in 1928, and has been awarded every year since, with a the exception of a break in the 1940s for obvious reasons.

Which races am I most happy with? As far as results go, 16th at the Worlds and 3rd in the British Series are pretty good, far better than I was expecting. However, the races at which I feel that I performed the best were the two 12hrs, the road race and the Gorrick 12hr, everything just felt right at both of these events and I am really happy with the way they went.

Not everything was good though. The biggest failure was the European 24hr. I had been targeting this race in the hope of decent result, and was running in 6th place for a while early on in the race. However, I blew up about 9hr in and limped around for the remainder, finally finishing in a disappointing 22nd place.

The year also ended badly, with me being forced to take a few weeks off training due to a fractured kneecap, of which more in a later post (although with no nobbly-knee pictures, I promise)

On a more cheerful note, it was my road club’s annual dinner last weekend and I was awarded the trophy for ‘personality of the year’. I have no idea how that happened but thanks very much guys, I’m quite touched.

I would like to say a huge thank-you to many, many people. Ant from Mt. Zoom and Dave from Bikefood obviously. Also Chirs B, Matt S and Kat for their invaluable work in the pits, along with the girls at JMC, Lisa K for help above and beyond the call of duty, Mike from racemechanic, Cy and the other chaps at Cotic, Chris, Niko and Anna from the Magura team, Mr K Snr and too many others to mention by name but thank-you all very much.

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