Tuesday, 30 August 2011

TORQ In Your Sleep 12 Hour Relay

August bank holiday is TORQ In Your Sleep weekend, the 12 hour race which takes place at Minley Manor in Hampshire is an event I’ve raced each year since its introduction 3 years ago. The race which is run by Gorrick has a fantastic course with plenty of fast flowing singletrack; and the relaxed atmosphere attracts big participant numbers each year.

I write this the day after the race still feeling the full effects of post 12 hour race sleep deprivation, my body just can’t cope on 5 hours sleep - the event runs from midday to midnight. TORQ Performance had 2 teams entered with a mixed 4 team consisting of Ben P, Matt, James G, and guest rider Sally. The male 4 team included Sion and Ant, myself, and guest rider Billy Joe Whenman.

The race began with a little comedy off the start line as the lead quad bike which was meant to pace us around the start loop couldn’t engage a gear and was therefore left behind as riders rode past after the start gun had gone off. Well done Mr Howard!

At these team relay events there is always huge interest and anticipation in the arena to see who leads after the first lap. Therefore for the people racing at the front the first lap is always hard fought. After half of the lap a lead group had developed including Steve James, Dave Collins, and myself. I put in a few attacks around the lap but couldn’t shake them and we rode into the arena all together (with me leading)!

The course was very rewarding but changeable weather conditions which hit the venue initially after only 1 hour 30 did its best to make things a little harder. The fireroad climbs became tougher and the singletrack became trickier as rain poured from the sky. Despite the sketchy conditions everyone from the team was actually enjoying the additional challenge and we used this to our advantage, the TORQ male 4 team were increasing their gap over the second place team AW Cycles on average 1 minute per lap. Each lap riders were returning to the pit covered in mud and soaking wet but grinning and eager to tell the others about how they’d save a massive drift, or pinned a bit of singletrack.

Rob from Finely Tuned Ride was doing a fantastic job of cleaning and maintaining the bikes after each lap www.finelytunedride.co.uk. We had a little scare though around 9pm when our guest rider’s chainset fell off and the male 4 team lost 10 minutes, luckily we already has a decent gap over our rivals and maintained the lead.

The mixed 4 team were having a tough battle with their rivals who were sending out their stronger riders more often, with 3 laps to go TORQ lost the lead but kept going strong to finish a close second. The male 4 team won with 19 laps completed, 1 more than the competition. Another successfully weekend for TORQ Performance, well done to all the team, including the team support.

I guess riding up mountains in the French Alps and doing huge training weeks helps build some extra fitness, the legs certainly felt good at the 12 hours event. I wonder how they’ll feel this weekend at the Kielder 100 mile marathon?

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