Jez rode it solo and managed an impressive 8 laps as well as setting some very fast times. Had he been in a team he’d have been right up there on our Muddymoles fastest lap table giving Barrie, Tony and Jem an even harder time.
Here’s his unique, solo rider perspective on things.
What were the highlights of your race?
The start line anticipation and campsite buzz. The heater in the gazebo. The marshals that cheered everyone right through the night. The sunrise lap that made the night worthwhile. The relief of the end. I did much better than my only previous solo effort so overall I’ve got to be happy with that.
The solo tent worked well this year and I think is a better format than the solo pit lane from before. I didn’t think I would bother using it as we had such a good base camp set up but it was ideal to leave some water in there so I could refill a bottle easily and not need to take a camelback around.
What were the dark (boom-tish) points of your race?
End of lap 7 feeling wasted. The legs were willing but the back was screaming no more. My race was coming to an end and there nothing I could do to stop it. Like watching a car crash in horrible slow motion with me at the wheel.
What surprised you about the event?
How our easy going riding group transformed themselves into heads down racers, chomping at the bit. Also, the combined farting power of our team. Our emissions are a major danger for global warming and need legislation.
What annoyed you the most?
Pushing up the bomb holes. Riding in a sand storm. Also trying to pace myself when everyone else from the group was going out trying for a flying lap. I really wanted to floor it and see what time I could post but had to play the long game instead which was very frustrating early on when you feel full of energy. I still went too quickly early on.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of doing a similar event?
Do it. Even if you’re not a race orientated group, it’s a different kind of challenge that adds a bit of spice to the riding year. And you don’t have to be super fit or super fast to get a race buzz. If you want to try solo then pace + food are probably key. Having someone fetch hot drinks and stuff is also a big help when you are suffering.
What’s the ideal bike for the event?
A short travel full suss. There were some seriously quick solo people on rigid singlespeeds but I’m not convinced they were the same species.
What tyres for Thetford?!!
My back would say anything offering a bit of squidge.
What did you forget to bring?
Nothing but I forgot to change out of damp clothes during a break and started shivering crazily when I left the tent again.
Will you do it again?
With a bit more training then just maybe a double figure lap total would be possible. So that’s a Yes. Maybe.