The diabolical weather of the week prior meant increasingly desperate scrutiny of various forecasts as Saturday drew closer. Fortunately the prognosis was good, 16 degrees and sunshine. Indeed it appears the Bikefest organiser’s having sold his soul to the devil in exchange for good weather is proving to be a good deal – thanks Paul.
Team Singular was out en masse, Aidan solo SS, Gareth solo open and Steve, Dave, John and myself as singlespeed team. The much loved Ashton Court course has had something of a makeover, more with a view to regular use as a trail network (which is great) than as a race course (for which the changes are not such a boon). Many of the more natural sections of trail which previously offered multiple line choices are now sinuous singletrack with few passing opportunities. Still it is a fabulously fun course to ride and congestion was only really a concern for the first few laps. The all weather surface also meant the previous week’s deluge had little detriment to the course. In any case the sun which appeared on cue and a powerful wind (which may have put the final nail in the Singular gazebo’s coffin) meant what little moisture remained quickly disappeared and we were soon presented with the hard and fast Bikefest course we know and love.
Gareth had a great start and powered around the first few laps to put himself in the lead. Sadly, he didn’t realise this was the case and when Niner rider Huw Thomas passed he thought he was being lapped in the eighth lap. Such was the demoralisation from this misapprehension he came in for a pit stop which extended into abandonment. Which was a shame as when he pulled the plug he was in fourth place just ten minutes down on first. Still, we didn’t know that at the time and once the motivation goes it is generally gone. His strong riding nevertheless bodes well for the season ahead.
Aidan suffered no such delusions and ground out 21 hugely consistent and impressive laps. After an unfortunate incident in the le Mans start where his bike was not to be found where he’d left it he simply got his head down and ground out the laps. Mention must also go to Mark Goldie who put in a hugely impressive performance on his Singular Pegasus to finish on the same number of laps.
Dave led things off for the team, putting in a great run and first lap. John was out next and rode steadily and strongly all day. Steve was third and put in his usual string of scorching laps. I was pleased with how I rode and apart from a slow puncture on my fourth lap had some very consistent laps at a pace which did not let the side down too much. In the early stages we were locked in battle with the Bristol based LVIS boys. That slowly stretched out to a 20 min lead by the end of the 12 hours to see us finish in second.
Overall another fabulous event, huge thanks must go to Paul, Mikey, Matt and all the rest of the crew who put it on. We will be back!