The Erlestoke 12 event took place over the weekend, riding from midday to midnight in a relay our team of 4 disparate riders achieved 7th place and had a lot of fun (and pain!) along the way.
Arriving early on Friday evening we set up our tents and the RCC Gazebo in prime position alongside the track and near the change-over area. We then filled up our tanks with a big meal at the nearby Rose & Crown pub, and debated how much beer one could drink before having a significant impact on race performance ...
Saturday morning we did a gentle pre-ride of the course to get our legs moving and to learn some of the singletrack. The race started at mid-day, and going directly from the race briefing to the start line got me into a good position on the second row, just behind those who appeared to be in it to win it.
The first lap went quickly and I was soon handing our team's electronic tag over to James who went out next, followed by John, and then our trainers-and-t-shirt rider Adam.
The heat of the sun was fortunately moderated by strong winds, although we were all getting through a lot of recovery drink and water in between our individual laps.
Our race position quickly settled down into 7th after the first few laps, and lap after lap of continous riding kept us there right through to the end of the race, by which time we'd collectively riden 17 laps of the 6 mile circuit.
The course was tight and twisty, with many tricky turns and corners to negotiate whilst overtaking slower riders whenever and wherever possible. My fastest lap time actually came in the fourth time round, well after my energy levels had dropped from their peak, but also after I'd learnt the singletrack sufficently well to negotiate all the turns quickly, and when there was a little less bike traffic to get past along the way.
Riding our last few laps in the dark before midnight added another dimension, with all of us being glad to have ridden the lap a few times already in the light, and enjoying the challange of getting round the course quickly in the dark.
There is another midday to midnight event called the Bontrager 24:12 that at least one RCC team will be riding on 7th/8th July, if you liked the sound of this event then get your entries for that one in quick! There is also the more local 6-hour Brighton Big Dog event and the Gorrick 12:12 during August.
Our trainers-and-t-shirt rider Adam quakes in his boots at the thought of a 20 mile long Redhill ride on a Saturday morning, but a 6-mile jaunt around a bit of singletrack followed by a good rest at a team event, no problem. So try joining in the fun and giving one of them a go.