Mike Sudder’s local mountain bike event, the Halifax Sailing Club Challenge, is well-attended with 110 people setting off into the steep hills of Calderdale last weekend.

Mike was dead chuffed to knock a load of time off his 2013 finishing time (despite taking a tumble over the handlebars)…

A bumper turnout of almost 150 riders (must have been something to do with the weather) set off from Warley Moor reservoir, above Halifax, at 9am for a particularly challenging ride.

This was my 3rd consecutive year at this event and my previous best was 3 hours 22 minutes set last year. I was determined, although lacking a bit of match day fitness, to set a new personal best. The car horn sounded and we were off up the initial climb (to string out the field). The initial stages were dry and quick and with the sun shining all was going well. As we got higher onto the moors the trail became wet and muddy, which slowed things down a little.

About 12 miles in on a tricky downhill section I watched the rider in front of me stop and go over his handlebars. As I approached, to see how he was, I did exactly the same thing (a huge rock hiding under some very soft ground). Anyhow we laughed, picked ourselves up, checked no one else had seen us, checked our bikes and carried on.

For the majority of the second half of the ride I saw only one other rider – I was out there on my own, nowhere near the front runners, but not at the back either (well I don’t think I was). I kept up a reasonable pace, but it’s difficult to gauge when riding alone. Cramp set in about 3 miles from the end, which slowed the final climb down to a quick walk !, but I successfully completed the course in 3 hours 1 minute, a full 21 minutes quicker than last year (If I’d not stopped at the last feed station for a quick water and a well-deserved piece of flapjack I would have got round in under 3 hours – maybe next year).