The last buzz-cut of the year

It’s been an up and down year for UK 24 hour racing. Well, for 24 hour races I’ve been a part of anyway. Going waaay back to January, the Strathpuffer was as ace as ever – unseasonably warm conditions (we’re talking relatively warm here) and I did okish. I dropped out of the race for a few hours with an injured back but then pulled my shit together and rode a few more laps to take the singlespeed win, something like 4th overall, on a brand new Scandal that Brant personally delivered a few days before. Won a voucher and bought some bib longs with it.

Enjoyed watching Phil win.

The UK 12 Hour Champs wasn’t a bad race – it rained a bit but the Newcastleton course was excellent, I had the opportunity to catch up with friendly faces galore but I was full of snot and as a result my performance was pretty crap. Enjoyed watching Dave win the 12 hour European title in dramatic fashion.

The 24 Hour World champs in Italy was probably my best-prepared, well-paced and efficiently-executed performance of any 24 hour race I’d taken part in so far. Despite being completely outclassed by the winner, I’d ridden to second place in a race that comprised some of the best endurance cyclists in the world and even if I never achieve anything as good as that again, somehow that’s fine by me.

Watching Phil and Dave also finish in the top ten in the same race gave us all something to celebrate after months of preparation. We WILL race the Worlds again.

Mountain Mayhem was caught in the middle of the 2012 summer that never began – the mud was the worst in living memory. What should quite rightly be the pinnacle of UK 24 Hour racing was reduced to a comedy slither or grind around a destroyed course for the few that carried on; often the only respite from the spirit-sapping ‘non-race’ was to drop out completely. I had fun – my race saved by Brant offering me a lifeline of a hilarious and surprisingly effective stunt ride aboard a prototype fat bike….

Sleepless in the Saddle suffered the same fate as Mayhem. As soon as it rained most people with any previous experience of that course dropped out. Dave and I (racing in the pairs) dropped out, went home and went for a road ride.

The summer and the 24 hour racing ‘season’ ends this weekend with Relentless 24 in Fort William, Scotland. The race I won last year that gave me the entry to the World’s in Italy and one of the friendliest events with one of the best courses in the country.

The weather forecast, for once, looks like it’s going to be ok, or at least ok-ish. The Fort William “Witches Trail” course is rock-solid anyway and remained completely rideable last year despite it raining constantly throughout the race. I feel ok – perhaps not quite as lean and conditioned as I was when I raced the Worlds back in May but I’ll get round ok and I’m certainly well-motivated.

Dave’s also racing solo and Budge is in the pairs with Andy so as well as our support crew – Debbie and Angela – we’ll have a good laugh, race hard and we’ll erase some memories of the grimy old summer of 2012…..


photo: Privateer