My third outing at Bikefest was a shorter jaunt that the usual annual 12 hour washing machine slog. Coming off the back of 24hours of Finale just a few weeks ago I decided that 3hours blasting round Ashton Court would be sufficient to see where my fitness was at. It would be a ‘recovery race’ of sorts…
The 3hour started at 6pm with the new format of the 12hr and 6hr merging in to one day rather than the previous two day format. It felt a bit odd start so late in the day but with some pretty moody wet weather earlier in the day I was glad for it. I snuck on course to do a practice lap and found the conditions to be pretty greasy but the all weather surface was holding up well. That said some two wheel drifting over the shiny hardpack kept you on your toes. I also forgot to put my glasses on which didn’t help on the odd muddy patch but some one eyed head tilted sideways descending kept the blindness at bay throughout.
A small gang set off on the 3hour event with the usual le mans style sprint fortunately being forgone (hurrah). I knew that a previous year’s podium finisher would be one to watch and sure enough the chap pulled away slightly on the first lap managing to put bodies in between us. I was on orders from E3 coach Jon to ‘not go in to the red’ so I didn’t compromise recovery for bigger upcoming goals. Unfortunately once the race set off instincts kicked in and I raced pretty hard the whole time as my heart rate shows (for stato’s here’s my training peaks output: http://tpks.ws/WrTd ).
Sure enough the one to watch eased away gradually so I let him go and rode a lap or so with a couple of other riders close behind whilst I settled in. I knew first place was away and trying to catch up would involve digging deep which I really didn’t want to do, a bit of strava stalking showed he’d been doing strava laps all week and had placed well in previous years events so fair play to him for smashing it out once again. I did manage to ease back at some points but the bikefest course is always one where keeping momentum is key whilst taking advantage of a clear track when you have it to help keep the overall lap times respectable if you get held up elsewhere. By the end I managed to create a decent gap to third so was able to roll home well within cut off time which was a relief to have come through unscathed and great to be on the podium if not unexpectedly!
I’ve have some pretty shoddy experiences of on course bad manners by riders at Bikefest in the past but I’m really glad that there was a great atmosphere out there from everyone, no issues all ride which was nice and certainly nobody ploughing in to me at 20mph! Loads of encouragement all round and good banter on course, good stuff.
Being able to sustain a hard effort was quite a surprise which shows the benefits of what a structured recovery can do for the legs. That said I was aching the next day for it!
Well done to the E3 team bagging the win in the mixed pairs and Scott Cornish on winning the 6hour.
All in all a good evening in the woods.
Thanks to everyone who has helped me out this year, couldn’t do it without you!