Here are Pav Bryans feeling on this years KCA 12 Hour TT.
What is it about racing a bike for twelve hours that is so appealing that year after year people turn up to complete in this format of time trialling? For me it was simple, defence of my Kent Cycling Association 12 hour title, why anyone else does it I don’t know! But as if being stuck on a bike for that long wasn’t bad enough, we had to do it with the wind, made typical by this year’s weather, and the rain, again something that this summer has had plenty of, and around some of the most uninspired landscape we in the South-East have to offer. Perhaps I’m being cruel about the scenery but lap the marsh as many times as we did that day and you might come to despise it too…
A field of just over 40 started and the day had far more finishers than I had imagined given the conditions, testament to the special breed of rider that makes up the lower end of the ultra-distance formats. Rye & District Wheelers were graced by a strong presence. Sadly Nick Wilson unable to start because of injury and only Jim Hollands unfortunate enough to not finish, 200 next year though Jim? Well done to Jamie Clark (170.834), Samantha Pyrah (197.355) and Dave Greenwood (219.768) who all set great distances in what I believe is their first twelve. Personal bests by both Rebecca Wilson (208.426) and William Murtagh (203.887) make up the Rye competitors, other than myself.
I didn’t have the race I did last year. Having set a decent pace for the first half I was unlucky to succumb to the weather and fall at the Lydd outskirts round-a-bout, knocking any form of power from my body and leaving me with a bike with various problems including only two gears and a very slow puncture (found out about that after!). Despite my skin suit being torn, having some fairly bad road rash on my right side and riding a bike with only easy or hard gearing I carried on to the finishing circuit where I finally gave in and swapped to my back-up bike. This was after it shifted into an impossible gear to pedal around the combination of minor hills and brutal wind covering the route. I did finish but with 262.681 which is down on last year and only good enough for second place.
A few people asked why I left it so long to swap to another bike and perhaps I should have having a better fit on my own bike and not wanting to risk ruining another kept me on the one I had ridden for most of the season. My Boardman AiR 9.8 road bike with some aero adaptations, put together & fitted by Jack and Rowan, respectively, from Handsome Bicycles in Hastings, has shown that it is very little about the bike and much more about the rider, fit and comfort.
But whether you turned out to win, better your best, or just because you can, you deserve credit, an astonishing show of mental and physical resilience. A massive thanks to everyone who turned out to support, the many faces of encouragement kept myself, and I’m sure many others, going despite the troubles of the day. Thanks to the Esther Carpenter the organiser, the timekeepers, marshals, the other competitors, and anyone else who I might have forgotton. A personal thanks from me to my dad, my brother, Paul Simpson and Leigh Foxton who offered me both nutritional and mechanical support all day, to Damen Foord for lending me his bike, and a special thanks to Dean Chittendon for picking me up off the ground after I fell!
Well done everyone, can’t wait for next year…