I seem to spend my racing life 90% of the time at Thetford.. not complaining as everytime i race there it brings something new... races are super well organised and it suits my style of riding..
Bike and kit was packed on saturday night... got up and out for 7.30am...
Sometimes wonder what it would be like to be able to wake up when you wanted, roll out of bed and laze around for the day... pretty sure it would be dull as dishwater.
After a good showing at Dusk till Dawn i had imposed alot of pressure on myself to get a good race in here... after all i had just sold a lovely pair of mavic wheels and a set of maguras to fund the day!!
As always happens even though i leave myself plenty of time to get somewhere there is always some greater force at work which is hell bent on making me arrive at a race no earlier than 4 minutes before a start wether its my arch rival the sat nav trying to send me across fields or in this case a road closure..
Pre riding the course in my book = the first lap.
Got there and parked... sign on was real quick as the event had sold out with pre entries and just a case of collecting my number.
Kitted up and bike of with 15 minutes before start.. i had got Paul (West) to bring some new conti tyres for me as my speed kings he gave me originaly are totally shot showing thread through the tread after a rough outing at Coed y Brenin, i had raced dusk till dawn on them and wasn't prepared to tempt fate by changing tyres so close to start.
My warm up unfortunately was a ride to the start.
I shuffled myself as far forward as i could get to start line... about 20 riders back.
A minutes silence for Rememberance day was observed... a kind thought on the part of the organisers..
Managed to snake my way upto top guys.. a group of 6 of us... this is all new for me as i tend to work my way through the pack as race progresses.. have to confess that this was easier.
First lap of 6.5 miles in 26.15!!
Rachel as always was on hand up duty and doing a great job.... first bottle change went smoothly till a mile down the road when i went to bite open the valve and ripped the whole lid off.. certainly wasn't going to stop to put it back on so had to ditch it..
This mean't next lap i had to get another bottle when i would have gone for a gel or food.. i alternate my hand ups so i don't have to slow right down, but not so fast that i take Rach's arm off...
I still managed to stay with the lead group but with the density of back markers on the course you were having to chase back on for every little hold up... very very tiring thing to do when you already going some.
On the fireroad section after the start/finish at start of 5th lap i heard Adrian Scott joking that this was hard... i agreed and suggested a gentlemans agreement not to attack till last 100m:) He thought it was a good idea but did say that things were going to get harder..
How right he was... 3-400m later came the first bombhole and i got spat out the back of the group... hunger had kicked in due to my missed feed and i had to result to survival mode for a while..
left me riding in 4th spot with 5th close behind...
On around lap 6 i managed to break from the 5th place rider and get a comfortable gap..
Lap 8 brought a number of surprises... i had a few gels and energy bar in me so was starting to come back on... first surprise was catching Gareth Montgomerie (Singletrack/Pipedream).. he had stayed with leading group when i went out the back and i didn't expect to see him till finish.. obviously another victim to hunger.
So i had calculated a possible 3/4th place depending on age of riders in front... i could live with that.. just hold my ground and grind it out.. so i thought..
Unfortunately Anthony White (Extreme Endurance/ BETD Goldtec) had different ideas... he caught me napping on lap 8 and came past me like a train.. i've never rode with him mid race but i heard he was a machine and the gear he was pushing was LARGE!! I managed to grab his wheel and the pace went up considerabley from what i had been riding.. we exchanged position a number of times and the singletrack sections were really attacked... back wheel skipping all over.
Thanks Anthony for getting us back in time to go out for another lap!!!
I managed to ride away from Anthony on the final lap.. later finding out that shortly after this he snapped his chain... not surprising given the amount of torque going through those pedals!!!
Then one final surprise in store was catching Adrian Scott with a mile to go... another victim of the early high pace...
2nd place secured... very happy with how i raced and definately learned alot riding up front at the start..
Luke Smith taking the win 6 minutes in front of me.
Back home to a well deserved take away pizza... well i earned it.
A more professional report of the event ...