With my race calendar looking decidedly thin on the ground and a few previous weeks of getting hammered at shorter distance events I decided it was time to get back to what I enjoy/can do best… racing off road laps for multiple hours, preferably in the dark, definitely with one gear.
There was absolutely nothing local i.e within 100 miles so I had to go further afield.. a lot further.. Wiltshire.. 200 miles from Manchester.
Set2Rise was an attractive proposition as it got rave course reviews last year, it had a singlespeed category and I knew a few people going including a new soon to be team mate James Leavsley.
The race was 6pm to 6am so I had all of Saturday to get myself there and then a fair few hours to get the deck chair out and enjoy sunshine while filling my face with all the food I had brought. The race had a great atmosphere, although it was a smaller event there was music being hammered out at a decent volume and the solo pits seemed to be more singlespeed riders than geared.
When the race started it went fast and I was near the front and initially leading the singlespeed race. I then lost my lead mid-lap by a faster climber and then a faster descender.. I must do everything just average.
The course was as everyone had said.. excellent.. very fast.. good grip on the long climbs and amazing singletrack, tight descending through the trees.. a real pleasure to be out on it for 12 hours rather than hating every second of the usual muddy fields we are treated to.
When the sun came up for the final lap I think everyone had a big grin on their face.. I had miscounted my laps.. must have got confused in the night and really wanted to break 100 miles but ended up a lap down on what I thought. Although good enough for 2nd place I was still 15 minutes adrift on 1st place although you can’t grumble when you’ve enjoyed yourself.