Relentless 24 countdown AKA the loneliness of the long-distance cyclist

It’s less than a week now until the start of yet another 24 hour solo championship. This time it’s the UK championship, ‘a race within a race’, held at the same time as Relentless 24 up in Fort William.

It’s a race I’ve a lot of affection for and I’ve done well there several times in the past. There’s a good list of toughnuts on the starting list so it’ll be another fast and furious job and we’ll see how things pan out.

While I’m looking forward to the race, I’ll be glad when it’s over, if I’m being perfectly honest.

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Maybe it’s my sparkling wit or my choice of aftershave, but aside from one or two occasions I think I’ve ridden on my own for 10 to 20 hours per week since I got back from Sri Lanka in the spring. Nobody’s fault, but it’s not much fun after a few months. Time for a break, ride bikes for a laugh, go for a run, go to the pub.

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The race is the easy part.

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The real highlight of the past few weeks though was the Coed Y Brenin Enduro event – it really was brilliant, that.

It was a good job it wasn’t a race – lining up at the start line of a bike race or event is getting earlier or I’m wandering down there from the car later, but when I got my act together and wandered down to the start line there must have been 500 or so people already there, ready for the off.

Someone next to me at the start told me that there was a small gate about 1k from the start, which as you can imagine would be a terrible bottleneck with so many other riders in the queue, so my ‘relaxed’ start soon became a flat-out charge up the hill for a kilometre until I reached the aforementioned gate. I think I was about 30 men back at this point rather than a few hundred so didn’t have to queue but probably looked like a bit of a div while I raced uphill, out of the saddle at the start of a non-competitive event.

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All finishers received a mug and a bottle of beer too, which was the icing on a Proper Day Out. It was so good that I rode a second lap after I crossed the finish line. Got to make the most of it after I crawled out of bed at 4am to drive to Wales.

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