Going solo for half of the SPAM Erlestoke Twelve

The plan was to use the Erlestoke Twelve as a bit of pre-race training before the Bikefest the weekend after. By doing the 6 hour solo event, I’d get a feel for what food, drink and rest I’d need for the longer 12 hour event.

Don't forget to wiind in the red bit on the Avid Elixir CR brakes.The bike race started at 12, so plenty in time in the morning to get things ready. I noticed the rear brake pads needed changing. Should be easy enough I think. So I crack open the new pair and read the instructions in some detail. However after following these to the letter, I find I can’t get enough space between the new pads to get the wheel back in. A certain amount of panic sets in, plans whirl through my head for rapid trips to bike shops to get things sorted. Eventually I find the valve that releases the oil pressure and finally I get things working again. However now I’m running late.

I’m also starting to regret the 41 miles I did the day before on a crazily conceived off road commute. Thankfully there is a lovely relaxed feel to the event when I arrive, and I also find the 6 hour event starts 15 minutes behind the 12 hour categories. So I can get my head back in the right place ready for the event to start.


I stick to the plan of treating this as a training rather than a racing event, and take it pretty easy on the first lap. It is a great course, with any bits of climbing quickly rewarded with twisting tree lined singletrack, with bomb holes and little technical bits thrown in.

I find I make most of my time up on the flat grass section, hold my own (just) on the singletrack and lose time on the hills. It’s beginning to hurt by the final lap, and I call it a day with enough time to get one more lap in, but in my head I feel I’ve done enough and the time below seems to confirm it too. I finally finish 17th out of 53, and that final lap wouldn’t have improved things.

  • Lap 1 – 40:05
  • Lap 2 – 42:08
  • Lap 3 – 39:46

  • Lap 4 – 44:38

  • Lap 5 – 43:13
  • Lap 6 – 43:56
  • Lap 7 – 50:24


24/05/2011 07:33:42 Training Commute: Bannerdown

4 days off, so most important thing was to get out on the bike. I did have plans to do the new South Bath route to work, but technical problems with the GPS and running out of time mean’t I went for the easy option via Bannerdown. Thought the trails might be wet and muddy after couple of days showers but still dusty. Waterproof trousers were a bit over the top. Didn’t push too hard.

  • Time 1:10:43
  • Distance 14.28 mi
  • Average Speed 12.1 mph
  • Average Heart Rate 148 bpm
  • Average Cadence 73 rpm
  • Temperature 9.8 °C

24/05/2011 17:06:13 Training Commute: Bannerdown

Had to get home with enough time to shower before the 6:30 massage session to try and sort out the shoulder. So was going for it. Thought I might just get under the hour, but not today. The downhill off the back of Lansdown is now getting very quick. Still can’t clear the climbs up Bannerdown, very good training for the steep stuff we did with Doug.

  • Time 1:01:26
  • Distance 13.51 mi
  • Average Speed 13.2 mph
  • Average Heart Rate 159 bpm
  • Average Cadence 83 rpm
  • Temperature 15.8 °C

27/05/2011 07:26:33 Cycling Commute: Sally In The Wood

I’d been thinking about extending my morning commute to include Box Hill and Sally In The Wood for sometime, this was my first attempt at stringing something together. Ended up getting lost in a couple of places, which extended the distance, and it was slower going than expected, so I had to head for the office more directly than planned. In hindsight I’m not sure why I did such a crazy long commute the day before a race, but hey ho it was fun.

  • Time 2:34:22
  • Distance 27.82 mi
  • Average Speed 10.8 mph
  • Average Heart Rate 146 bpm
  • Average Cadence 68 rpm
  • Temperature 10.1 °C

27/05/2011 13:30:23 Cycling Commute: Bannerdown

I needed to leave early to look after the kids, and after the crazy ride in I took it easy on the way home.

  • Time 1:07:46
  • Distance 13.63 mi
  • Average Speed 12.1 mph
  • Average Heart Rate 145 bpm
  • Average Cadence 78 rpm
  • Temperature 13.9 °C

28/05/2011 12:12:12 Racing SPAM: Erlestoke Twelve

See write up above.

  • Time 5:05:11
  • Distance 45.83 mi
  • Average Speed 9.0 mph
  • Average Heart Rate 151 bpm
  • Average Cadence 71 rpm
  • Temperature 14.2 °C
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