With Phil Simcock racing in the pairs category (alongside M Steels Cycles’ Rich Rothwell), Jason Miles in the solo category and Jacqui Simcock racing in the “teams of four” category, Team JMC were once again well-represented at the Strathpuffer 24 hour mountain bike race. Perhaps the toughest 24 hour race in the world, most of the race takes place in the dark and unsurprisingly for an event that takes place in the Highlands of Scotland in January, weather conditions can often be the defining factor.
Phil and Rich repeated their 2014 pairs win after battling hard throughout a close race and Jason once again won the singlespeed solo category (for competitors who have decided to ride a bike with only one gear), also finishing 3rd overall.
Jacqui describes her first Strathpuffer experience….
I promised I would never ever do this race, The Strathpuffer, yet the years of hearing the myths and legends I thought it was about time I gave it ago. The pull was also that this maybe the last, so it’d be this year or never. As I lined up at the start I cannot honestly say I was as super nervous as when lining up for my first ever endurance races nearly ten years ago. It was not so much the course itself as I can always make my way around, even if it’s not pretty, it was the 17 hours of darkness and the cold both of which I hugely dislike.
As we were a trio instead of a quad and we were never going to be doing any challenging, so on the day itself we were myself, Joe and Hedwin. As the only team member with ice tyres, I took and completed the first lap. Now I knew what was coming I could relax a bit and appreciate how awesome ice tyres are!
We alternated laps until the late evening when I had an unplanned kip in a chair, during which the lads put in another lap each and then went for a kip. I also had a fitful lie down in the van and then got up to start again. Despite my dawdling to get dressed back into cold wet cycling clothes I headed out and really enjoyed, what is for the most, a great route. The long stretch of sludgy mud at the end was the only real negative part of the course, which had great climbing, and lots of rocky technical sections interspersed with firmed snowy sections to fly along on. I came back and tried to rouse my teammates but broken lights, and bikes, meant they were not able to head out, leaving me the chance to go out again.
The horror of how cold it was when you stopped prompted either immediate dressing to sumo wrestler size layer proportions, or keep going to stay warm.
Once the light crawled its way back the lads were in a position to get another couple of laps in before the 10am cut-off time. We finished off our race having been on the course most of the time. As newbies we were all pretty pleased with our 16 place out of 21 mixed quads.
Conclusion? What a race! Great riding, and everyone being in it together beating the long darkness to meet the dawn, I can see brings folk back time and time again…so now I know.