Torq 12:12 – Exclamation Marks all Round!

1 09 2009

The Gorrick 12:12 ‘Torq In Your Sleep’ is a 12-hour enduro, from midday Sunday 30th August to midnight. In its 2nd year, it’s an 8-mile loop of Minley Manor, off the M3 near Farnborough. Reportedly similar to Thetford terrain, it was a relatively flat, dry, loamy and seriously dusty course.

Helen and I (Jo) entered the Female Pair category, Michael the Solo Vets. Hels and I adopted a laid-back, see-how-it-goes approach. We rode a mix of single and double laps, with a plan to review after sunset at 8pm and decide if we felt like continuing. Hels was amazing. She drove to the venue from an 8am-1pm shift, zipped out of the car and straight onto the course to take over from my first lap. By 12.30am, she had churned out 7 laps, 3 of them consecutive when I was in prolonged recovery, many of them in an impressive 50mins; and as far as I could see, she never stopped smiling. And she’s gone to work today for 10am on Bank Holiday Monday, straight from the campsite! What a girl!

I felt better than expected (having spend the summer off work with some kind of fatigue syndrome, at my worst having to rest after doing as little as the washing up…). Lap 2 saw me very miserable with a bad headache and stomach cramps. These both eased on lap 3, after some paracetamol. At the end of each lap, I couldn’t see how I was going to manage another, but after a lie-down I resolved to ‘go out and ride’, going slow but steady.

I was very pleased with my eventual 5 laps (40 miles) as it’s easily the furthest I’ve ridden since March, although it’s likely I’ll pay the price later this week…

Now what? But I’m getting ahead of myself – backtrack to mid-race

8pm arrived. Decision-time. Where was this going, were we going to continue? I hadn’t ridden at night for months, so persuaded myself I could see how it compared to riding the course in daylight. And so we kept pedalling, both spurring each other on: “Oh God, Hels has just done 3 laps in a row, I’ve got to do at least one more another one”, “Jo’s talking about doing 2 night laps, I better had too” were our thoughts.

There were only 3 teams in our female pair category. From the start we were never going to catch the Torq women (who clocked up a total of 16 laps to our 12), but we did have a moment about five hours in, of being in 2nd place, ahead of the West Drayton BMC pair. Giddy heights! However they quickly resumed their lead, at anything from 11 to 30 minutes on us. At least we tried Hels returned from her final lap at 12.30am; we stood at the finish, both relieved it was all over, having acquitted ourselves well.

Hang on, I’m sure the announcer just said we had finished in 2nd place! Could this be true? Sure enough, the West Drayton girl rolled into the finish just minutes afterwards. At literally the last minute, Hels pulled it out of the bag: we totalled 12 laps and a second podium this summer for both of us! As if that wasn’t reward enough, Hels then went on to win a Saddle Skedaddle weekend in the spot prizes!

Meanwhile the real star of the show, Michael, actually deserves a much bigger round of applause (and maybe he’ll be along to tell his gruelling story later). He achieved his aim of riding for the whole 12 hours, powered by grim determination, energy drink and bacon butties. He notched up a stonking 13 laps in the Solo Vets category and came a brilliant 11th out of 24.

Anyone who’s done a Gorrick race knows how stiff the competition is – for the men, at least! – so this is an excellent result.

However he’s now suffering after a sleepless night with a dramatic stomach upset, fever and chills… Poor lad.

Team Muddywhat? And finally. Throughout the race, I noted that the commentator referred to us as ‘Team Muddy’. It was only at the prize-giving that she felt compelled to – and apologised for – refer to our full team name. Gasp – she said the word ‘arse’ over the mic to the assembled crowd! 

A great race for all to consider next year.   Jo

Results & photos will be posted here:




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