Moonride 12 Solo 2017

After planning to enter National Single Speed Championships for a workout and a half on the weekend of the 22nd I found myself without a ride to Wellington. Instead I settled for a 12 Solo at Moonride Rotorua. Since Xterra a few weeks earlier I was hitting the kilometers hard. With a few 100km plus rides in the past couple of weeks and one 200km effort the legs were prepared for the pain they were about to suffer as I lined up for Moonride. Infact the mind was too. The 12 solo race fell on Saturday the 22nd of April 2017. 2 days prior on Thursday the 20th I had a plan to ride the night away on a 7km steep lap that resembled the 2017 WEMBO course.

So lets start the story there. Thursday evening around 7:30 I was joined by Sam Lord and we departed Tauranga for the hour long car ride to Rotorua for the 9 hour night ride. With no naps or extra sleep leading into the training ride I had thrown myself in the deep end. For those reading this that are close to me this will come as no surprise. We stopped in at a supermarket on the way to get some lollies and chocolate milk for recovery early tomorrow morning. By the time the clock ticked over 8:45 we’d hit the forest and were gearing up to ride.

It was a chilly autumn evening but both Sam and I were eager to hit the trails. I’d planned out what to eat and drink prior to leaving Tauranga and had it all sorted into plastic bags. So every hour I would finish the lap. Tear open a bag, grab out the contents stash the plastic bag inside my gear bag and continue on. The idea of riding 9 hours was because at WEMBO 2017 there will be only 9 hours of darkness as it’ll be summer in Italy. The temperature I Rotorua that evening however wouldn’t reflect Finale Ligure’s temperature. All night it averaged 3 degrees Celsius. The min got down to 1 degree. No wonder I couldn’t feel my feet the whole time! Anyway, the first 4 or so hours I was joined by Sam but by the time we got into early Friday morning Sam had had enough and disappeared off to the car to sleep.

I battled on on my own. Thankfully I had my headphones and with over 2000 songs on my Spotify I was able to party all night until the sun came up. I chucked on some Asher Roth for the first couple of hours and then felt it was more of a Kings of Leon evening. After I zoned in with my beat blasting in my ears and Samuel sound asleep the lap times began to decrease. In the first half I averaged 13.4 kph but by the time the sun had come up my average was up to 15kph. Oh and that is a pretty sweet feeling when the sun finally does arise in the morning. I rolled back to the car at 6:30am with high spirits, cold toes and deep down I knew I had just accomplished something pretty cool for an 18 year old. With over 130km and almost 4000m climbing I was thrilled.

After driving home on Friday morning I don’t remember much more. I slept the majority of the day but must have gotten up and cleaned my bike at some stage because my Trek Top Fuel was sparkling on Saturday morning, my Squirt Bio bike bottle was a little more empty. Also I had loaded both the Top Fuel and Procaliber onto the car. (I do sleep walk sometimes hence why I’m not surprised about all this).

When the sun rose on Saturday morning it looked to a be a crystal clear day. And it did indeed stay that way. After travelling back through to Rotorua, registering and setting up my pit tent I was on the start line before I knew it. I was surrounded by familiar faces. Cosmo, Jan, Bevan, Lewis, Bradly and Brendon all around me. It was 5 minutes to race start. So 9:55am. I had decided to wear the GoPro on my chest for the first lap and give a running commentary of the course. 10:00am rolled around as the pack of riders rolled off the start line. In endurance races I like to initially roll off the line and into the first single track as the first rider in my category and then I can count how many riders pass me, and I will know what they look like. I did this successfully and by the time I rolled out of the second trail (of five) they first 12 solos started to roll through. The Top Fuel had  been dialled in thanks to Cycle Obsession Mount Maunganui and made my job a lot easier.

Photo: Anna Haycock

I found Hugh riding at my side. (Using me to set a steady pace for him to work with). Two solo rider rode ahead, one of which I would learn to be Tim Caughley and the other I never spoke to but ended up crashing out on lap two. I continued on the first few laps of the 8.5km course with Mum in the pits feeding me before my coach rolled up at 1pm to take over pit crew duties. I found myself with Nic Adams, Hugh Bootten and Tim Caughley working hard 5 or 10 minutes ahead. I made sure that he didn’t gain too much of an advantage. Gu fuelled my engine as I could dictate gaps to other riders as I pleased impacting on how the race would play out later.

Photo: Anna Haycock

4 and a half hours in I found myself with a gap on both Nic     and Hugh. I decided not to wait and they could catch me if they really wanted. Not sure why they didn’t but I opened a gap on the two of them. Then 5 and a half hours in I came across Tim at the top of Lions Tail around halfway around the lap. I kept my consistent pace and continued plodding away. At this point my wrists would start to ache, but with the killer combo of Bontrager Evoke grips and Ride 100% I-Track gloves they were comfy as could be. Before I knew it the course had cleared out of 6 hour soloists and teams and it was just the twelvies left. This meant it was 4pm.

Photo: Anna Haycock

With a quick stop to reapply some Squirt Barrier Balm and chow down some pasta I continued on my way. I was sitting in the top spot at the half way point and had 3 experienced endurance riders less than half a lap behind. I had raced all 3 before but didn’t know much about them. They knew me well on the other hand. I pushed on. My Ride 100% Speedcraft glasses kept my eyes shielded from the setting sun so I could focus on the job at hand.

It was at this point that most riders begin to drop off. They see the sun disappearing and so does their morale. I just kept on going. Lap times didn’t flinch. Perhaps my Bontrager Dropline dropper seatpost kept my body rested on the decents so I had so much energy now in the second half of the race. I rode as long as I could before putting lights on as that little extra weight on your head can easily play mind games in your head. I rolled through the pits with a strong showing of supporters. I didn’t get to see everyone there but I did spot some of my academy riders and parents along with Tim from Nduro Events and Belinda from Brand Display NZ. Two of my awesome sponsors had come out to cheer me on. Awesome!

Perimeter Coaching top dog Chris Willett was working his magic in the pit tent and ensured a smooth transition into night riding mode. Applying some Squirt long lasting dry lube to my Trek Top Fuel and feeding me the Gu Nutrition goods along with other little secrets I was refreshed, warm and ready to hit some of the fastest lap times of the day… In the dark! My Camelbak Podium bottles kept me hydrated all day into the night and worked a treat with the ease of use Jet Valve.

Photo: Anna Haycock

I rolled out at 6pm. 4 hours to go. No problem at all. I whacked on my arm warmers and 100% brisker gloves as I rode around the next lap. I flicked my Ay Up lights on a little later and then challenged myself to apply Squirt Barrier Balm as I rode. I actually succeed in applying the chamois cream and now have another trick up my sleeve for the World Championships in a months time. Not a lot happened in the next few laps other than my legs started hurting and I lapped 3rd and 4th a couple of times and even managed to lap Nic who was in 2nd.

I was still so comfortable with my brand spanking new Champion Systems Racing kit. I couldn’t fault the performance kit all day long. Gu kept me fuelled into the last few laps. After 9pm I laid down my fastest lap of the day and then continued on to complete and extra lap after the clock finished. I called it my warm down lap. After I rolled over the line at 10:30 I had completed 27 laps. 230km and a fair few meters climbing. Pretty good day in the saddle. After a few wheelies and stoppies to celebrate I rolled up to prize giving, received my medal and $20 pizza voucher. Packed up in the cold and then jumped in the car and went home. Job done!

Final Resuls:

Tristan Haycock                 1st

Nic Adams                           2nd

Hugh Boottem                  3rd

This won’t be the last big ride before leaving on the 23rd of May. But it will however be the last big race. #eyesfowarddigdeepstaypinned #restwhenyouredead