Last weekend was the 2014 Bristol Bike Fest – a super fun, local race in Ashton Court in Bristol. It also included the Steve Worland tribute event, commemorating Steve’s memory.
//Video by Alex Tyler/Wideopen //Photos by Alex Tyler //Words by Matt Jones, solo 12 hour winner
After an epic run up to the event consisting of house moving, my monster stag weekend of biking and real ale consumption in equal measure I wasn’t overly confident going in to the Bikefest 12. The weather forecast was pants and being without any support, things from the outset were soggy and a bit grim. Being total solo had its simplicity in a way though as I didn’t get any updates throughout the day as to where I was.
The course was the same as last year. It was mostly all-weather apart from a horrid stretch along the flat. Despite 21 attempts to find a clean line through this section, I resolved myself that there wasn’t such a thing by the end. I dreaded this section on every lap. I like the Bikefest course, no major climbs where the roadies kill me and some flowing singletrack and downhills where time can be made up which I reckon was a big factor in Sam Pantlings 3rd place being a sick enduro/downhill rider and all that.
Throughout the day I didn’t have any major instances apart from one missed bottle collection where I must have taken a bottle out and put an empty one back in, such is the impact of being completely knackered! I was using a USE Vybe suspension seat post which was amazing at keeping the rough course at bay when trying to conserve energy by pedalling sat down as much as possible. Even still the course started to take its toil and my hands were getting numb towards the end.
It was difficult to tell how well I was going as lap times were slower due to the conditions of the previous year. I felt ok apart from the lull of the bit before the final run in where I slowed to around 38minute laps. With the end in sight though it was time to start emptying the tank, singing to yourself, thrashing every last bit out of the descents as possible to make sure I had nothing left at the end.
I got a bit of (as it turned out) incorrect info on what I thought was my last lap to hear that I was a lap and 5 minutes up when on rolling in the following lap I was handed my first bottle and gel of the day and told that I needed to not only do another lap but to smash it in under 35minutes as 2nd place was only 5minutes behind. The words no endurance rider wants to hear at the end of race!
It was time to dig deep, neck caffeine gel number 4 in a row and get it done. I managed to hold off the cramp and roll over the finish line a whole 3minutes quicker than my previous lap but the tank was truly empty, the way I like to finish a race.
Treated myself to a 1500 calorie breakfast the next day.
Thanks to M Steel Cycles for their continued support and recently sorting me out with a new drive chain which did the trick in keeping me running smooth on the day and USE for the bars and seatpost which worked a treat.