Posted on 8:58pm Thursday 14th Jun 2012
Once again we made our way upto Bristol for the annual Bikefest to put last years winners in their place and 'step up' to the winning platform on the podium.
Well that was the plan anyway. The weather had been doing its usual 'summer' best to ruin things but it did give up for a day of broken sunshine, how lucky we are to get a dry day in June! Robs' gipsy roots came out and he claimed a great spot alongside the gravel track into the site where we all gathered and set up camp. 11 of us, 3 teams worth, less Gary who was turning up on Saturday morning, hopefully not his usual midday arrival, huddled under the assembled easy ups occassionally jumping up to hold them down against the gale force winds! Some beer, cider and red wine (Russ moves in different circles to the rest of us) was consumed and then we settled in for a night under the stars. (I asume there were stars above the clouds)
We awoke on race day all exhibiting different levels of keen, a quick decision was made as to who was doing the first lap together with the inevitable feared run in the Le Mans start. Despite my great idea of either drawing straws or just letting our resident running expert, Mark, take the challenge, the team just lacked the guts and it took me to stand up and be counted and 'voluntear' for the job! (like I had a choice!)
The 12 hour race started at 9am and the 3 brave team leaders, Russ, Simon and myself, 'sprinted' of the line and made our way towards where we thought we had left our bikes. After a frantic first lap the race was on and we all settled into the routine of a 6 mile, great lap of the all weather course at Ashton Gate, Bristol, involving plenty of superb single track and a couple of not too taxing climbs, then about a hour and a half rest before another go. The changeovers between team members were sometimes swift and smooth, sometimes not so with a bit of searching going on due to team members being missing when they were due to take their turn. No names, hey Trimmer!
We all had a great day with no major issues and a top effort made by all.
A superb finish made by Mark after we had put a big effort in to give him as much time as possible for his last lap. A nervous wait ensued in the camp woods (I don't mean gay or owt) but we needn't have worried as he came steaming round to finish his lap with a massive 1 minute and 20 seconds left. Timed to perfection and roared home by a relieved team ensemble!
So had we shown the winning team from last year how to win with style....well no actually....we had once again come second, or true winners, as I like to call it. Dan had a point that a couple of their team members looked way younger than the supposed average age of 40, although they were probably saying the same thing about me!
Once the podium duties had been fulfilled, we're getting quite used to it now, we returned to Gypo row for the traditional after race bbq and beer. Many many burgers, steak and chicken were consumed, all cooked to roughly the same level, crispy, it would have been a French vegitarians nightmare!
More alcohol including two more bottles of red wine supplied again by Mr coneseur, Russ, were had and all was great until a bout of cramp kicked in and I was walking around like an old man, with cramp. (I know) This opportunity was not to be missed by Rob and Dan who were quick to extract the urine from me so I looked around for an opportunity to retaliate. From the corner of my eye I noticed some sad looking burgers on the bbq, so a swift movement launched one in the direction of Rob who managed to head the item back in my direction.
This seemed to take the pain away and the best solution for cramp, I believe, is to drink more.
A great weekend, as always, was had by all at the Bristol Bikefest and well done to all our teams and riders for a superb job well done. We finished 2nd, 20th and 42nd in our respective groups and all put in some amazingly close and consistant lap times. We will be back and we will move up to the top step, maybe, once we can work out how to take out those pesky winners. I told Dan he should have brought the rollers for us to warm up properly.