Each time you return to Plymouth’s Newnham Park you are guaranteed a fun weekend; this venue has hosted endurance events, marathon events, regional cross country races, national XC races, and even World Cups for a reason! The park is packed with a huge mix of fantastic trails which, when linked together, form a tough and thrilling race circuit. This past weekend those trails hosted the 2011 edition of TwentyFour12.
The TORQ Performance team had 3 entries in the 12 hour event with a 4 man team, a 4 person mixed team, and Lydia racing solo. The team had a guest rider, former Olympian Dan McConnell (http://dmac05.com/site/) from TORQ Australia who is currently in the UK for next week’s Olympic Test Event in Essex before heading over to the next World Cup event and World Champs in Europe. Dan would start the race for the 4 man team hopefully leading out the field.
The course had 2 tough loops with more climbing than normal. The first loop used many trails up on the moors which I’d not ridden before, the course then returned to the campsite before heading back out onto the more familiar Newnham Park trails, and then finally plummeted down the legendary Cottage Return singletrack back into the arena.
From the start Dan took the lead only to be halted by the pace moto who had to slow the flying Australian down having completed the start loop faster than expected and faster than many of the other riders could clear the arena! Once there was a clear track ahead Dan was released onto the normal circuit and he pulled out an early lead. The remaining order of riders in our team was Ant, myself, and then Sion. The 4 person mixed team also took an early lead in their category after a couple of laps, and Lydia moved up into a podium position.
After a weeks rest following Nat Champs my first lap was pretty painful, the body and mind forgets quite quickly how to cope with lactic acid. The course was greasy turning many ‘easy to ride’ sections into areas where full concentration was required. Each lap however the course dried and by the third rotation of riders the course was at its best with riders setting their fastest laps.
By 8pm the teams Exposure Lights were illuminating the darkening forest trails; these lights with their cable free design, and awesome power output are the best on the market and make riding at night easy going as proved by our lap times which only slowed by a minute or 2 from the day laps when we were much fresher and less fatigued. As night fell so did the dew which made the trails slippery and unpredictable.
With lap times around 40 minutes I’d only have to complete 4 laps and was thankful having begun to struggle with fatigue after some strong early laps. In total the team completed 18 laps, 1 more than the nearest competition AW Cycles. The mixed 4 team won their category with 16 laps, and Lydia finished 3rd solo rider with 10 laps.
Another fantastic race weekend was completed with a pre prize presentation recovery ride up onto Dartmoor National Park, then a night at relatives in Wiltshire, and a recovery ride around the Wiltshire Downs.
Photos and hopefully video to follow.
Big thanks to Rob Rowe from http://www.finelytunedride.co.uk/ for all the work he does to our bikes behind the scenes at all the races. He worked his socks off this weekend and deserves a reward so if anyone in the Wiltshire area needs a bike mechanic he's the man to call!