Shortly after completing the Mallorca 312 back in April I decided that a new challenge was in order. It needed to be something fairly local, manageable in terms of training and above all else it had to be a step up from the 312. Later that evening i found myself staring down at a completed submission form for a local 12 hour time trial. What had i got myself into.
The training began, which to be honest didn't particularly differ from my normal riding, apart from maybe a few additional solo rides to try and emulate the solitary nature of the lone event that loomed on the horizon.
Fast forward to the end of July and the morning of the 12 hour. My alarm call wakes me up at 4am, which gave me plenty of time to force down a bowl of porridge and to make the final arrangements before my start which was scheduled for 6:17am in Melbourne, near York. As we pulled into the car park of the HQ the air was cold but the spirits amongst the riders was high. This didn't feel like any other race I had been involved in. The nature of the race meant that most riders were relaxed as they knew they had a long slog ahead of them and not something where they had to be quick out of the traps. Despite the thousands of pounds worth of bikes on show and the fancy kit, there was nothing glamorous here. I would soon find out that all the kit in the world would not make the 12 hours pass any quicker or for the pain to be more manageable.
The next thing I knew I found myself on the start line. 3, 2, 1, GO! “Good luck!” I heard the marshall shout as I darted off into the distance. I must have seemed very keen as I started almost as quick as I would have done if I were starting a 10 or 25 mile event.
The course itself ran around a 40 mile circuit and the pulled onto a shorter 15 mile circuit as you approached your 12th hour. The aim was to complete 5 laps of the larger circuit and then concentrate on getting around the shorter circuit as many times as I could.
The first 2 laps went well and I was far beyond my target pace by this point. I felt strong, comfortable and most of all the time passed relatively quickly. This soon changed. After the 2nd hour it began to hurt. The headwind picked up and the clock began to count slower and slower, each second seeming like an age. All I kept thinking was if i make it to 6 hours I have broken the back of the ride and it's all down hill from there, unfortunately this was a metaphor and it wasn’t actually all down hill. It approach the 5th hour and I was ready to pack it in. I have struggled through the previous hour and couldn't imagine what another 6 would be like. The only 2 reasons I decided to carry on were 1) my Dad, who was acting as my support vehicle, had put so much effort into packing my lunch and working out the route that it would be unfair to get him out of bed at 4am for nothing, and 2) my girlfriend and mum had kindly made a banner with the words “DIG IN DAVE” painted on with emulsion which they planned to wave at the side of the road. They hadn't turned up yet and i knew how much work they had put into it the previous day. So that was it, onwards and upwards.
Well I broke the back of it and after 6 hours it felt more achievable. The hours began to tick by and my concept of a short period of time turned from minutes to hours. “Only 4 hours left”, I heard myself thinking.
To fast forward again to the finish. I crossed the line having ridden just over 230 miles. I wasn't sure what to expect before hand, and to be totally honest, if I knew how hard it would be I would have never done it. It’s a true challenge and I respect anyone who gives it a go. You (I guess that includes me) must be mad.
So the 12 hour TT was a result of some post Mallorca 312 madness, now that I have finished the 12 hour what else is in store...