I'm not too sure how this works or whether anyone will actually read it but this will hopefully become a blog about me, a wannabe endurance rider!
A few years back I decided that it was time to get my finger out and get fit, too many years of smoking, drinking and not too great diet had turned me into a bit of a lazy sod who was out of breath after running up a flight of stairs.
As I'd done a bit of cycling when I was younger and always enjoyed it, I decided that this would be the best thing to do so a bike was purchased and I went form there. After a few false starts I eventually got back into the swing of it and started doing some rides around Swinley Forest as it seemed to be the only place nearby that I could ride off-road. I continued to ride alone round there for a year or so before I decided that I needed to get out and meet some more riders. I did this by joining my local club, West Drayton MBC, and starting to do a few rides with them.
As a bit of a spur of the moment thing, I decided to try my hand at racing with the club, I was under no illusions, I was well aware that I wouldn't be winning anything but I figured 'why not, I've nothing to lose'
Cue my first race...The West Drayton MBC Night of The Knobbly Tread 2011.
It was a great experience, my first ever night ride and my first ever race. I came away with 14th place in the Fun category and a huge grin on my face.
From here I tried my hand at a couple of the local West Drayton MBC and Gorrick races with little success. The short, full-on XC races just didn't seem to suit me at all.
In my infinite wisdom, I was speaking to someone about the longer endurance races and they were telling me about the Torq 12:12, a 12 hour endurance race. This got me thinking, 'How difficult can it possibly be to ride a bike for 12 hours?'
I duly entered the race as a solo and went from there. Despite my best intentions, I didn't get round to doing and specific training, the closest I came was riding the Bucks Off Road Sportive.
On the race day, I started to think that I may have bitten off more than I could chew as the horn went and everyone went racing off. By the end of the parade section going into the first singletrack section, I was dead last!
Things improved slightly from there with me finishing in 37th place after about 10h 30m.
Despite the lack of training, the pain in the legs and lungs and everything else that went on during the race, I came away feeling almost enlightened. There was something about the hours spent riding along on my own and riding against myself that was incredibly enjoyable.
For days afterwards all I could think of was where I'd went wrong before and during the race and how I could improve if I were to race again. Needless to say, I was well and truly bitten by the bug.
Jumping forward to now, I've swapped my long travel hardtail from last year to a short travel full suspension beast for this year's effort and tried to get plenty of miles in during the winter months ready for the year.
The 2013 Torq 12:12 is entered along with the Exposure 12h and along with many thoughts of 24h solo races and SDW/SDW doubles in future, it looks like the bug that bit me 8 months ago is still chewing away!