Updated: Nov 21, 2019
An early start start for everyone, from the riders to the support crew and the National 12 hour Time Trial . Paul first off at 06: then Pete at 07:13 the Neil at 07:43
There were very, very windy conditions, the first leg a tail wind, with the riders constantly aware of how hard this was going to be once turned onto the head wind section. They were not wrong. So strong that at times they were almost at a standstill.
The first set of circuits were tough, head wind, tail wind. The support crew set up Base Camp at the turn area. There were lots of people there to cheer on the riders. The early turns were slightly grim faces, not needing bottles, but we made them see sense and take some. Understandably they were not very communicative, then Paul gets a puncture in his back tire. Quick phone call and Georgia set off to switch wheels. We stayed to hand up for Pete and Neil.
Once we had worked out the course circuits were being switched, we moved camp to the new turn area. Gordon being brilliant with miles and timings, was able to advise us when they were likely to pass. He was fairly accurate, as always. All 3 riders had different times when they hit the wall. Paul was first so we forced peanuts into him, and rubbed legs, back and neck. Kept reminding him to drink, and pushed him off. Then Neil had a moment, he needed a pee (always good), sore neck, shoulders, the "why am I doing this" look. Again lots of encouragement and we sent him off.
Pete changed helmet, which helped his neck, then he had his moment as well. He needed to get rid of his under shirt. Quickest way? Yes we used a sharp kitchen knife to cut the t shirt off him. More food, muscle rub, (got to love a bit of deep heat), pee, and off again.
Once they were all past the 7 hour mark spirits improved, more smiles and relief that they were on the downhill bit in terms of timings of timings.
The wind was still bad, head wind, tail wind and the 2 nd circuit had a poor surface for a few miles, concrete and ruts. This was not helping neck and shoulders.
Then finally on to the finishing circuit. Navigating the re-dressed surface of loose gravel, and onto the 12 mile laps. We headed back to HQ to set up Base Camp again. We preped a spare road bike just in case the TT bike was getting just to much. Nut no, they all stuck with it. The smiles were now well and truly gone, it was all gaunt faces and grimace's, but hope that the end was in sight.
Paul finished first, on the far side of the course, but wanted to ride back slowly, even though Georgia had driven out to offer to bring him back. The smiley face had returned when he arrived back, aided by lots of cheers from us.
Then we waited for Pete, we knew he would be close to finishing near HQ, so he didn't have far to ride to get back. Huge smiles and lots of relief from his wife and daughter Becky, when he rolled in.
Finally it was just Paul left out there, no he didn't want water, just a gel,) must be suffering). Before long he was done as well. Phew.
There was a longish wait for the results to go up, together with the realisation that they had missed 20 miles off Pauls distance! Quick discussion with the time keepers, as he was not the only one. Thankfully the correct distances were established.
After which we realised that they had broken the club record with 744.011 miles, which had stood since 1960 at 735.24 miles. An amazing achievement, especially considering the weather and the fact that Paul rode on a fixed gear bike!!!
Huge thanks to Roy and Gordon, Judy, Michelle and Becky, Sarah and Georgia for support, feeding, driving, bike holding, kit sorting, photography and general cheering. A long, but awesome day. Maybe next year we might have 2 teams riding. There is the challenge.
The final distances are (subject to conformation):
Words by Judy Reid
Photography by Michelle Richards