To set the scene this is the third 24hr race I’ve participated in but for a number of reasons it’s the first one that I have ridden for all of the 24hrs.
Last year I entered the world endurance mountain bike championships also at Fort William, a month earlier with a hillier course and pre-Mountain Fuel discovery. The result was one of unfinished business, stopping in the early hours for some sleep and not getting back into it.
I knew I could do better and needed to try another 24hr race this year to lay the demons to rest. Having entered lots of other No Fuss events over the years I knew entering Relentless 24 would be the right choice, back in Fort William over the Halloween weekend, and hosting the UK 24hr championships what could possibly go wrong!!
The drive up on the Friday night though fairly uneventful was to be very wet and windy, reassured that this was a “finishing off shower” I slept easy.
The great thing about 24hr races is the midday start, giving me plenty of time to enjoy some morning fuel early on mixed in with porridge then as per Rupert’s (co-owner of Mountain Fuel) recommendations I sipped extreme fuel on the build up to the start. Having used Mountain Fuel on the majority of my longer endurance rides this year I had the confidence that the nutrition aspect was sorted, I just needed to keep pedaling.
Tactics for the event were quite simple, I just needed to keep riding, breaking the event down in to quarters helped, with laps taking me just over an hour to complete I planned short stops every lap then a slightly longer one every 5 to get more food on board.
It’s at this point I need to mention my amazing support crew as with most solo endurance events they would be nigh on impossible without a good support team. Emma, Jenny and Caroline did an amazing job of sorting food, making teas in the small hours, mixing at least 15 bottles of mountain fuel, plus 3 recovery shakes (2 during and 1 after) and keeping my motivation up throughout.
With only a few minor alterations to the plan for some bike issues that’s how it went, lap after lap for a total of 19 laps. So after riding in excess of 200km and 6500m ascent I not only rode the whole event I ended up 29th soloist overall and 10th in my age class.
Will I do it again? I said never on the Sunday evening but by Monday morning I started thinking “maybe I’ll have a go in the vets class in a couple of years……….”