Ben is TORQ's research specialist. He holds a 1st class honours degree in Sports Science and is currently completing the highly regarded IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
For the last two years the TORQ Team has rounded the season off on a high with the Ritchey Oktoberfest. This year was no different with the team heading down to the newly finished trails (see course video here http://bit.ly/uzDF9T) of Bristol’s Ashton Court for some fast and furious racing...
On the day of the race close to 1200 people turned up to battle it out on the 10 mile circuit, with what turned out to be near perfect weather for racing. As normal the team entered into the hotly contested male team category in the 8 hour race, and with Giant Pretzels for the winners there was everything to play for. In the run up to the event it became clear that we would have some strong competition. Rumours circulating online (See article on Bike Magic http://bit.ly/nDCSmk) suggested that a team of professional road riders under the name of Barrow Gurney CC had decided to swap the tarmac for the trails at Ashton Court for the weekend. On closer inspection the team consisted of some very strong riders including the winner of the King Of The Mountain’s Jersey at the Tour of Britain, and a rider who had recently been racing for the HTC Columbia team as a stagiaire. According to the article he arrived at Bristol having supported World Champion Mark Cavendish at a semi classic race the week previous!
The start of the race was chaotic with hundreds of riders running across an open field to a mass pile of bikes, resulting in complete carnage as people scrambled to get going. After the first lap it became clear that we would have a hard day in the saddle, as even after lap one Barrow Gurney CC had pulled out a gap of a couple of minutes on us. Having raced the course a few times previous including the Ritchey Bike Fest back in June, the experience helped gain us some time as the field spread out, giving the team chance to really open up on some of the technical sections of the course. The experience combined with the commitment and determination of the team meant that the pressure was kept on, which helped prevent too much of a gap forming. After 4 hours the hard work of the team paid off with Ben Thomas getting a gap on Barrow Gurney CC, moving us into the lead.
Even with a small lead there was no time to relax. Over the final 4 hours of the race the team kept pushing hard, inching out a gap on second place. This left the team on edge as with 2nd place still pushing hard even a small mechanical could easily move us off the top step of the podium.
The rules of the race meant that only laps completed within the 8 hours were counted. As the race timer approached the 8 hour mark, team rider Sion O’Boyle was left with only 25 minutes to complete a lap, within the cut off. After 7 ½ hours of intense racing, fatigue setting in and 2nd place hot on our heels this was no mean feat. As a true professional Sion pushed hard leaving everything out on the course, finishing the lap with just 27 seconds to spare! An excellent result to round off the season.
Here's Sion O’Boyle views of the race. ‘Its was a hard 8 hours for the end of year chill out! However it was surprisingly quite fun, we had to be switched on and the tough competition had us pushing hard instead of just getting around the course. We always knew we would have our work cut out but by keeping calm and consistent lap times we were able to draw in the leading team. Finishing on the top step of the podium summed up a good season for the team’.
The team are now moving into winter training mode, building there base fitness ready for the 2012 season to kick off again. Look out over the next few months for updates on team kit and new signings for 2012.
Thank's to Jon Brooke at www.rightplacerighttime.co.uk for the photograph's.
As always, a huge thank you to our sponsors:
www.konaworld.com - Frames
www.shimano.com – Drivetrain & Brakes
www.limarhelmets.com - Helmets
www.ritcheylogic.com - Handlebars, Stems, Saddles, Seatposts & Grips
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk - Team PR
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.champ-sys.com - Performance Cycle Clothing
www.mojo.co.uk – Fox Suspension Forks
www.exposurelights.com - Advanced Lighting
www.juicelubes.co.uk - Lubrication
www.lakecycling.com - Shoes
www.jagwireusa.com - Cables & Housing
www.crankbrothers.com – Pedals, Multi tools & pumps
www.rapidracerproducts.com – Neoguards.
www.cleecycles.com – KCNC Chains, Skewers & Bottom Brackets
www.superstarcomponents.com – Hubs, Seat Clamps & Headsets
www.sapim.be - Spokes
www.handcraftedwheels.co.uk - Hand Built Wheels
www.fibrax.com - Brake Hardware
www.joolzedymond.com - Photography
www.cycleops.com – Power Measurement, Turbo Training & Bike Racks
www.notubes.com - Tyre Sealant & Rims.
www.nomad-direct.co.uk - Nomad Cordless Pressure Washing
www.finelytunedride.co.uk - Bike Maintenance & Servicing
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