Next week I’ll be making the journey north to the Strathpuffer for the 8th time. It’s a race that’s tricky to get to, trickier to get home from and often horrendously tricky to get right on the day. There’s a lot of luck involved. And stoic determination. And crazy winter Highlands weather. And loads of other random shit.
Everyone knows it’s cold, damp, icy, snowy, windy and dark. It’s legendary status in the world of 24 hour racing means that most mountain bikers, regardless of whether they want to or not, seem to end up doing it at least once.
Deep down I love it, while outwardly I’ll claim that every time is my last time. In fact, last time I really did think it was my last time. I’ve had a lot of success over the years in the solo race and in the singlespeed category but last time I raced in the male pairs category with Daz (I’d entered as a pair with Phil years ago but got flattened by a car while training for that one, so didn’t bother).
Me and Daz didn’t take things terribly seriously last time. We mostly hid in the van, blaming lack of fitness and repeatedly trotting out the Old ‘Wrong Bike’ Routine.
This year I’m ticking another category box by racing in the mixed pairs with my riding buddy and Newton Stewart local, the fearless Sofia Christiansen. We’ve not got any real expectations nor are we under any sort of pressure – the mixed pairs category is quite large but there are one or two male pairs we’re aiming for anyway 😉
I think half of Newton Stewart are coming with us, plus we’ll have our other halves, Debbie and Sam there to keep us fed, watered and sane. There’s also going to be a large group of Manchester-based mates there too, I think they’ve got a team together. Perhaps Daz told them all it’s a good idea to do the Strathpuffer at least once….