The start line blur, they's too fast
Marin Dawn to Dusk 12 hr off road night race, 8 pm start on Saturday evening,
with solo and team riders attacking Thetford's finest until just after dawn the
How hard can it be, my goal a top 5 place
Lights charged and fitted to bikes, food laid out, shame I couldn't talk anyone into helping though. Bank holidays are for family stuff they all said, if I was in demand to stand around for 12 hours at night on a typical late August evening, I'd find an excuse too.
You have to beat Dave's efficient crew work too
|Standing on the start line, ready for the Le-mans run, set the whole
mood of the event perfectly. Shalli's mad work mate, kept shouting "come on
Patrick", soon the whole crowd and all the competitors joined in with the
chant. This was closely followed by Pythonesque calls of "I'm Patrick" and "I'm
Patrick and so's my wife" This was going to be fun.
The run was the usual disorganised chaos, and I got off steadily, accepting that following the slower riders in the Singletrack was a good thing.
The first lap passed in 45.14, lights on already half way round, boy that was easy I thought. Equipped with a 2 litre camelbak, pockets stuffed with food and a 4 hr capability light-set I carried on.
Shalli had stopped, part of his race tactic, so we started the lap together. "Say hello to the solo race leader" he said, we rode together discussing whether Pre-race hot favourite Norman Dunroy (emphatic Redbull 24 Hr solo winner) could cope with the dark and all the Singletrack at Thetford. 1/2 a lap later he joined us, showed no signs of overtaking, we had some hope.
We had a laugh too, meeting back-markers with the chant "Race leader" cause the three of us to dice for position to have the chance to shout it, this is fun.
Shalli as dawn breaks
| 47:37 for lap 2, still feeling easy , Dunroy moved ahead before the
line, ahh well that's the last we'll see of him, Shalli stopped again and I
carried on, 2nd place now.
Got passed by a Cat eye stadium rider, just before the beast of the East (just an agitated squirrel according to some Northern types). Those light are amazing, well at £300 they should be, and as his pace was do-able I tucked in and followed for the whole of that lap,.
47:12 a bonus, all I need now is a team of pacemakers all night, No Patrick either, I passed on through without stopping, he would have to stop again, this is getting interesting. Thoughts of Formula 1 style "1 stop fuel economy " beating the Ferrari's of the bike world entered my head, this is fun.
Lap 4 (47:41) and whilst leaving the last section of Singletrack, I passed a bright light, hang on that's Dunroy, I started to chat, but he didn't mention any problems, interesting. Approaching the line he went straight through the monster puddle, I took the quicker line, and I crossed the line first. 3 Hours gone and I was the official leader, This is really fun.
Last lap and smiling, 1/2 to go
the reality of a true solo effort hit home, pit stop time. All that fine riding
and energy wasted as I cut off my cable-tied battery, grabbed more food and
But I also had to think ahead, As Patrick came in and went I was chasing round asking for assistance in re-filling my now empty camelbak, and could someone please drop my battery into the re-charging tent. Only now did I realise that Dave, patricks crew was invaluable for a serious podium placing.
Off on lap 5, I was suddenly alone, an eerie calm, time to notice the Full moon and experiment with lights off on the Fire roads. Time to enjoy the empty Singletrack and use a bit of 20 watt power. This is fun.
56:27 told the true story of the pitstop damage though. 7 min's lost.
Lap 6, no stop again, could I re-catch Patrick (turns out he's grabbed 5 min's that lap) Another lap in which I never saw another soul, suddenly I hit a wall.
The realization its now midnight, this is further than any Thetford enduro race, and boy did those hurt, added to the loneliness. suddenly all I could think off was the pain, back ache and my palms were totally numb. 54:31 with no problems except a piss stop told the story, this is not fun anymore.
Another minute lost to 2nd place, sod it, I abandoned the 4 lap stop plan, I needed drugs if I was seeing this through, hello good friends Ibupropen and Ralgex, at this point I really needed to see an encouraging friendly face at the pits, no-one!
Stormin' Norman - Easy winner
7, pockets of mist added to the problems, riding from strangely warm air into
cold mist in specs means instant blindness. Then the lights go out, but I've
only done 3 laps, ahh the slow realization that its 3 full laps and probably
the same time as the first 4. Good job I had strapped on the emergency reserve
1 Ahr pack then. (60:05 and fading)
The next 3 laps are a blur, the same routine, ride steadily whilst listening to the fighting inside my brain. An almost overpowering voice willing me to quit, I only race for fun it kept shouting, but your 3rd my competitive inner self screamed back. Dunroy lapping me , at the same pace we started at was both awe inspiring and debilitating.
I didn't have a clue if I was still 3rd, but I asked Dave when Patrick would lap me, and sensed from his answer that he wasn't too far ahead.
Nothing for it then, I downed a Redbull, slapped on some more Ralgex (must remember not to eat with that hand) and wolfed down a whole bowl of magic Pasta And Custard.
Jacks pit crew, after race view.
Spot the army of helpers.
12 Hrs and a clean bike, Thetford is great.
20 watt blazing, the slow realization that dawn was round the corner, the
distraction and encouragement of riding with friends to take your mind off the
pain, ; cheers Jon, Andy, Lee and Ren got me through.
As dawn broke, lights were dumped and speeds started to rise, could the race be on. To be honest I didn't have a clue, as it turns out there was under 15 min's in it.
The 11th hour came (so that's were it comes from), I sensed I was closing, there was time for 2 more laps, but there was no way I wanted to do them, I got the message that Shalli didn't want to either.
At the pits I told Dave that if Shalli, lurks at the end of his 13th lap, I will not pass him, and I'll follow him in for 3rd. And that's how it ended, 3rd place by 30 minutes, gaining on Shalli over the final 2 laps, but in reality the pit-stops beat me.
My speedo registered 11 hrs 10 min's of actual riding time, that's a whole lap spent in the pits, lesson to be learned I think.
In The 4 Man Team Race, Team Andy Searcy/Anthony Cowles/Mark Groom/Jake Kangurs, Of Cats under The Name Of Team Singlespeed Finished In 19th Place completing 14 laps.
In the 2 man team race Jon Touhig/Leisure lakes and Mark Vines/CATS completed 12 laps for 26th place
Solo podium(thanks to Lee Collins)
local silverware (back supports not shown)
©Numplumz.com Updated Jack 26/02/2002