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team road.cc/Aldi prove 'it's got nothing to do with the bike' at @revolve24

For the last twenty-two hours we'd stuck to the schedule through the rain, darkness, cold morning temperatures and now the burning sun of the Sunday afternoon to find ourselves in second position in our category. With the right strategy we could win this!!

Yep, this band of cycling brothers who had their first experience of riding as a team for just two laps before the race started at 3pm the day before found themselves with their cycling shoes poised to climb onto that top podium step.  

 

Make yourself comfortable

revolve24 is the brainchild of organiser Huw Bunn which kicked off in 2015. A twenty-four hour cycling relay around the Brands Hatch racing circuit that can be completed as a solo rider, in pairs of two, four, six or eight. After riding as a six man team last year this time around we went with a strength in numbers format of the full eight, a motley crew of riders that did have one thing in common, they were all team road.cc members. Yeah, that was about the only similarity between us.

revolve24 pit 4.jpg

 

The team had been formed a few months back (which we took a look at here and here) and while some of us had met before, at 11am on Saturday morning in pit garage number 26 was the first time we'd all actually been in the same place at the same time.

With introductions complete it was time to make pit 26 a little more comfortable as after all this concrete block walled cell was to be home for the next twenty-eight hours or so. Thanks to riding last year we'd learnt from our mistakes with the likes of Simon, Ian 1 & 2 bringing furniture, heaters and various other creature comforts with them to keep our sanity in check. New boys Charlie and Peter supplied the sustenance by way of a sausage casserole left to simmer on the hot plate and a selection of homemade cakes. Put it this way, if we were to get snowed in we could have survived for a good couple of weeks I reckon.

The event staff from Breast Cancer Care who we were fundraising for also stopped by with some goodies, namely beautiful sausage rolls and boxes of cereal bars plus a BCC jersey each too.

revolve24 BCC.jpg

 

Practice makes perfect

 

With the amount of elevation, descending, twists and turns the Brands Hatch circuit is probably one of the most daunting places I've ridden especially when you take to the track for the first time. The way you can just see the tarmac ribbon out in front of you makes you realise just how much climbing is going to be involved in one lap let alone 24 hours.

The one hour window for some track time practice came around at 1:30pm and the usual blast out of the pits was fully underway. Those of us who'd ridden the track before should've known better because that euphoria of flying through Paddock Bend is dispensed with when you see what is opening up in front of you. The descent and climb up to Druids before dumping you back downhill into Graham Hill Bend, the only technical part of the circuit when on a bicycle.

Revolve24 race report - climb.jpg

Photo courtesy of Joolze Dymond

All of this takes around ninety seconds of endorphin fuelled panic and elation and if you are new to all this it makes you feel like you're sat on a rollercoaster, one that is barely into a third of it's journey though.

 

After that the circuit quietens down a little bit but it's still draggy and the surface very grippy indeed, if you're legs falter just a little bit then you're going to pay for it.  Descending into Stirlings marks the start of the easier section as you continue to drop to the entrance to the pit lane with most of the team coming back in to compose themselves for what lay ahead.

 

Under starters orders

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3pm, Saturday and the event is about to get underway but not in the usual format, revolve24 uses a Le Mans style start where all the riders have to stand on one side of the track and run to the bike on the other side, up hill and in cleats. If nothing else it's entertaining for the spectators.

 

Ian Upham was our man for this and as you can tell by the photo he was taking it very seriously indeed. A quick glance up the start/finish straight highlighted how large revolve24 has become with the entire grid full of lined up cyclists and bikes. Ian had a great start getting in the front group which saw the team's fastest lap with a 5min 55sec (good enough for the 17th fastest lap at the end of the 24hrs) and really put us into contention for the lead in our category of male teams of eight.

 

The team was on a thirty minute track time schedule so the plan was to get in as many laps as possible before coming into the pits for the change over and it was at the end of Ian's stint that the forecast rain came down which soaked the track pretty quickly. At the same time as the 24hr event there was also a men's criterium race taking place which saw a few crashes which led to the ambulance being called out onto the track which judging by the buzz passing up through the pit lane mad a few of the riders a bit uneasy.

revolve24 Stu.jpg

Photo courtesy of Sportive Photo

It didn't affect our man Ian Stevenson though as he continued to plough around the track putting in consistent lap times and we were holding are own around the top of the table.

 

This is how things carried on for the next few hours with our riders going out into the rain, smashing round the lap and getting soaked but staying upright with only Graham Hill Bend causing a few squeaking bum moments. The rain came to an end about 7pm but with that it brought a new challenge - the darkness.

Revolve24 race report - night lights.jpg

Photo courtesy of Joolze Dymond

Brands Hatch is unbelievably dark once you leave the pit lane and head off around the tree lined rear part of the circuit so good lights are a must but due to the rise in entrants this year you never found yourself alone so things weren't quite a spooky.

The rhythm continued with us holding onto first place through the evening with very little in the way of mishaps. Everybody's lap times were showing consistancy and things were looking good for the night shift where from 11pm the team split into two smaller squads of four to allow the other four to get a decent block of kip, about five and half hours in all. Tiredness was beginning to set in though with Peter Ransom taking a bit of a tumble out on track, nothing major, just a scraped knee and some bumped pride but it was the signs that we were about to hit the hardest part of 24hrs.

Thankfully the weather was on our side with the track drying out and cloud cover keeping the mild temperatures up to the point that most of us were still riding in bibshorts at 11pm. That didn't last long though mind as come midnight the sky had started to clear and the temperature plummeting to a much more chilly nine degrees. Not great if you were sleeping in a tent on your break but even worse if you were sitting around the pits and the heaters were soon all on full blast.

revolve24 pit.jpg

 

As you've probably guessed by the team name, road.cc/Aldi the supermarket chain were sponsoring us and one of the perks was that they'd supplied each rider with a package of kit from their upcoming winter range. The conditions so far had been way too mild to use it but now the thermal jacket, thermal bibtights, thermal gloves and socks all came into their element keeping the riders warm from head, well neck to toe.

revolve24 aldi kit.jpg

 

On my return from a Red Bull affected sleep at 3am we had dropped out of the lead and at this time of the morning with cold, sore muscles taking up the challenge of dragging it back wasn't relished by most of us.

At 5:30am though the sun could start to be seen reflecting on the glass of the main building and within half an hour the sky was blue and the temperature on the climb, those Aldi jackets were going to be needed for just one more shift.

revolve24 1.jpg

 

Spirits were lifted as we felt like we'd broken the back of it with the finish in sight so everyone just got their head down and smashed out lap after lap after lap while keeping an eye on our overall position. Things were feeling a lot more relaxed.

Come noon and we were about to start our final stints of the whole event so we needed a strategy to get us back into first position as our competitors had put in some strong laps, we could tell this because the revolve24 website and app were running live results so you could instantly see what the crack was.

revolve24 pit 3.jpg

 

We had quite a few minutes to make up so it was decided that the first two riders Ian's Upham and Stevenson would go out as normal,  then our resident British Cycling Secret Squirrel member Simon Tuck and give one last push for half an hour. Fourth man Peter Ransom was going to go out and put in two hard laps which may not sound like much but bearing in mind Peter has only been riding for a matter of months and is on a massive weight loss and fitness drive means this was still a huge challenge. He'd been absolutely beasting himself throughout the day and his lap times were very consistent throughout. 

We had Charlie going up last, the lad's a machine that was lapping quicker than all of the rest of us so it was decided to give him the ten minutes extra time that Peter wouldn't be using.

revolve24 Peter.jpg

Photo courtesy of Sportive Photo

After Peter had completed his laps (the last being a PB) the baton was passed to Iain Cowell, an Ironman triathlete who  knew a thing or two about pacing, so much so that he stuck an extra lap on to his already blistering four to bring us within sniffing distance of that win.

With an hour and ten minutes to go it was my turn so once again fuelled by a can of Red Bull I hit the track hoping to find someone to work with for the next four laps, I hadn't succeeded to on any other stint so my luck had to change now right?  

Well it did a bit, as I picked up the odd rider here and there for half a lap or so but couldn't find anyone just right who could climb, descend and ride the flat at a pace we were both comfortable with. I gave it everything though with an average speed of 21.6mph for the four laps plus a maximum of 56.5mph through the dip at the start of the lap but even though I was slightly short on my thirty minute stint I knew another flying lap wasn't on the cards.

revolve24 Charlie.jpg

Photo courtesy of Sportive Photo

This meant that when I came into the pits Charlie Pouget, our last man wasn't quite ready as he flew out of a deck chair trying to put his shoes on while actually running. It wasn't our smoothest changeover but it probably only cost us 30 seconds.

The live timing had stopped after my first lap so we had know idea whether we had done enough so far to take the win, we just had to let Charlie get on and smash in those lap times, which he did. A plethora of mid-six minute laps over the last three quarters of an hour.

 

Was it enough?

Revolve24 race report - chequered flag.jpg

Photo courtesy of Joolze Dymond

No unfortunately, we ended up around two laps down. But do you know what, it didn't matter a jot to the team, it would've been nice to win don't get me wrong but once again we'd turned up with a team of guys just looking forward to having a go and some fun. 

Plus just like last year it turned out we were rather competitive showing that the revolve24 format is a great way of balancing the field.

revolve24 Jamie.jpg

 

The stats....

Team road.cc/Aldi covered 191 laps of the full Brands Hatch circuit which equals 464.7 miles in distance at an an average speed of 19.4mph which I reckon is rather impressive. We rode as a great team and above all else we had a fantastic time.

2nd in our category plus 13th out of 100 teams.

Congratulations Ian Upham, Ian Stevenson, Iain Cowell, Jamie Bradley, Charlie Pouget, Peter Ransom, Simon Tuck and Stu Kerton.

 

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

12 comments

Avatar
Dobbsy [56 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Top Effort guys!

It really is an awesome event, brillantly organised and a great atmosphere.

Thanks again Ian for the celebratory slice of Pizza on my 141st lap and I'll see you out there again next year!

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Duncann [1491 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Chapeau!

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TheLonelyOne [387 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

A jolly jape - the racing seems great fun. Congratulations!

How was the organisation around the event? DId anyone here use the camp site / hire tents? Was hot food available at all hours... etc?

 

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

Seriously nice, well done guys. 2 laps for the win. Next year's the one laugh

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Stu Kerton [105 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

neildmoss wrote:

A jolly jape - the racing seems great fun. Congratulations!

How was the organisation around the event? DId anyone here use the camp site / hire tents? Was hot food available at all hours... etc?

 

 

The organisation is top notch and with the increased numbers for this year revolve24 felt more like a festival than a race. It can feel pretty cold and miserable at times but when it's all over you are like - wow!!! 

Plenty of hot food was available through the night and there are showers, coffee etc.

There are two campsites which are a five minute walk from the pits and while it can seem like a bit of a hike it's nice to get away from the pits for a bit. 

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peted76 [1419 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Well done guys and gals  1 

Awesome effort!! 

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Redvee [438 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Chapeau to those who finished in places 7, 27, 35,  36, 38, 44, 46, & 48 respectively.

http://revolve24.com/race-tracking-and-results

 

 

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PhillBrown [228 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Fantastic job guys - Well done one and all!

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iUpham [177 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
Dobbsy wrote:

Top Effort guys!

It really is an awesome event, brillantly organised and a great atmosphere.

Thanks again Ian for the celebratory slice of Pizza on my 141st lap and I'll see you out there again next year!

 

A massive conratulations to you too buddy! Doing this event solo is hard enough, but to be able to say you climbed as high as Everest as well!! Massive amounts of respect to you! I'm sorry all I had was a slice of Pizza for your everest award!

Hopefully next year I will be tring it Solo as well. 

Good luck with te rest of the year buddy, and make sure to let us know if you do go for the RAAM next year, will be good to cheer on a familar face if you do.

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mylesrants [472 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

super stuff

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Condor Andy [704 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Top effort boys!

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Simontuck [204 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

You going for it next year then Upham? I might have a little surprise up my sleeve for next year too. Watch this space.