On Saturday Mark, Peter, Simon and I (aided by our 'Pit Boss' Juliet) took part in the Bristol Bike Fest – a 12 hour enduro. The day was hot, the course fast and our minds full of the expectation and pressure of Simon's podium dream.
At 9am as Pete set off on our first lap it started a two hour loop of ride, lie down, drink, eat, toilet that repeated it's self throughout the day.
At 20:35 the pattern changed. We'd all done six laps. We were all tired. Mark's bike was broken. The realities of 11 hours of pounding the track caught up with us, 24 laps was to be our total. But then a hero came along.
Simon charged off, knowing he had to improve his fastest lap time by over 90 seconds to get back in time for his lap to count to our total. “Fly Big Bird, Fly!” we screamed. Onwards he battled, air escaping from his tyres as he slammed his bike into the dusty corners. Meanwhile back at the finish the crowd gathered, all wondering whether he would make it back.
With 90 seconds left we thought he'd failed
With 60 seconds to go he charged into sight, stamping on the pedals.
With 20 seconds left he rounded the corner into sight of the finish.
With the crowd roaring him on, Simon crossed the line two seconds after the end of the race.
Despite being stuck on 24 laps we all still felt elated by the beans that we'd all put in and how close Simon had come to sneaking the 25th lap with his storming run.
We'll be back in 2011.