As the members of the TORQ Performance Mountain Bike Team start to get a few races under their belts, they start to exude the quality that has become their trademark for so many years. The Team managed to achieve three 1st places and a 3rd place, dominating the podium spots at this weekend’s Gorrick 100 Enduro.
With the sun shining brightly and miles of dusty singletrack to tackle, the Gorrick 100 Enduro was always going to be a fantastic day out on the bike. Ben Thomas gives this account of his win in the main 7-lap (100 mile) event:
“Its always enjoyable to return to the Gorrick events. Unfortunately I don’t get the chance to race many of these, because they run over the winter when I’m getting my head down for some serious base miles. However with no Houffalize World Cup on the schedule, it meant there was an open weekend. With my desire to race more marathon races this year, the Gorrick 100 fitted perfectly and the full 7 laps distance would be my target.
On the start line there was a mix of elite cross country cyclists and several successful endurance mountain bikers including last year’s 7 lap winner Rory Hitchins. 10 minutes after the start, a lead group of 3 had formed including Ian Leitch, Phil Lenney, and myself. On lap 2, Ian increased the pace and his efforts were too much for Phil to follow who dropped behind. Ian continued at a pace that would be impossible to sustain for the whole 100km marathon so I tried to save energy by following wheels and keeping myself hidden from the wind. There were 3 main climbs all within the first third of the lap, and on the third lap heading into the first of those climbs I gapped Ian. I was sure that he’d catch back on once we reached the next 2 climbs, but over the remainder of that lap the gap only increased. With another 4 laps to complete it would have been nice to have had some company, but the excellent Gorrick trails and shouts of support kept me focused. Over those remaining laps I kept a consistent pace with my lap times staying within 2 minutes of each other and built a lead ahead of second of 20 minutes!”
The legendary Lydia Gould did exactly the same as Ben in the main 7-lap event for the women, winning comfortably. Here’s what she had to say:
“I`d planned to avoid the adrenalin rush and have a steady first 2 laps. As riders shot past me however, the fear of being last got the better of me, and I picked up the pace! Seeing the women’s leader (Fay) ahead of me, I put in a burst to catch her. No luck, I was 12 seconds behind her and losing time with a sore back I decided to back off, or risk blowing up and not finishing. At 3 laps I took on a gel and suddenly Fay appeared having presumably taken a wrong turn, and we rode together for the next 2 laps. We worked together keeping a strong pace until she decided to pull out after 5 laps, perhaps suffering from the early pace. Lap 6 was hard on my own, and my legs went to jelly after the very steep, loose climb in the middle of the lap (the hill that you dread). My face lit up as I crossed the finish line to win, and receive my prize, a wonderful Exposure Lights Joystick – Thank you!”
There was yet another win for TORQ Performance in the 3-lap event for Josh Ibbet. Josh is peaking for the European 24-hour championships this weekend, so didn’t want to dig too deep by riding for too long and too hard. The 3-lap race saw him out on the trails for a good 2.5 hours though, but I think he was just cruising. Unfortunately Josh’s preparations for the race this coming weekend have taken priority and he hasn’t got a report to us, so we’ll leave the detail to your imaginations. We wish him luck this weekend though.
Masters rider and co-cheese James Gleave had a phenomenal ride in the 4-lap race, grabbing himself a well-deserved 3rd spot and a podium position. Here’s his report:
“This Sunday I had it penciled in to do the Gorrick 100 4 lap event. I managed to get up early enough after having a very tasty meal the night before. (I had of course followed all the Torq Mantra and stayed away from the temptations of Chocolate Brownies and Beer.but only just). On turning up at the event, I found out that Matt Hart would also be competing and we both set about coming up with any foreseeable reason for one beating the other.
Matt and I started together about 40th in the field, I felt good and slowly passed people as the laps progressed. I was feeling a little bit silly for not warming up and therefore held back a little to allow my legs to wake up. Matt had blasted on ahead and I caught him going up the 1st (of 2) steep climb on the course. I then maintained a comfortable rhythym and by the end of the first lap was surprised to find myself in fourth place. The next lap saw me cruise along with Anthony White. I knew I could pass him and pull away, but didn’t know if I could sustain that for the next 30 miles, so decided I would ride to finish well and sat in with him. Then I had a mechanical, which set me back a couple of minutes and once I had regained my equilibrium, I settled in to a strong sustained few laps and on the last lap gave it as much as I had in order to see if I could improve on my now 9th place. I worked hard to get the fluids in that I needed, and drank about 4 Litres of TORQ Energy during the race. My lap times were consistent and because of that I managed to recover from my poor start and mechanical incident to come home in 3rd Place, only 2 mins behind the winner. My form is starting to appear and hopefully carry on improving for the Southern Champs and the June based BMBS races and team events.”
As you will have noted from James’ comments above – he and I were in the same race and he did get the better of me on this occasion. I won’t get the excuse book out just yet, because that would be an abuse of my position as narrator of this article, but suffice to say that a series of mechanical problems and the fact that I too (like Josh) am peaking for the European 12-hour Champs this weekend meant that I tactically withdrew from the race after 3 laps. I’m pretty sure this was the right thing to do.
A huge thank you once again 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
Follow the TORQ Performance MTB team’s progress on their facebook page: