Mike Sudder’s Sam Houghton MTB Challenge Report

Now in its 10th year of raising money for Cancer Research I thought it was about time I entered this long running charity MTB challenge.

Arriving about 10.30am in Staveley, just outside Windermere, in the Lake District, in the pouring rain, for an 11.55am start. We found the registration and then Wilfs café. Following a sausage butty and a strong coffee (proper race preparation!) I headed for the start line. My plan was to stay with my starting group and try to get round in under 3 hours, hopefully riding most of the course. I had been pre-warned that a couple of sections were a little steep. Having set off with my group on a newly serviced bike my front derailleur ceased within the couple of miles. With a bit of not so gentle persuasion, I managed to free it up to get onto the small ring, which meant a little bit of spinning on the early stage. Once we reached the first climb the spinning soon stopped. The course was a mixture of moorland single track and narrow trails. The downhill was slow and tricky and the uphill was slow and lung busting. The largest climb of the day was Toms Howe which was an uphill walk and push for everyone, except for the guy running up with his bike over his shoulder (top effort). As I headed up the final climb I was overtaken by fellow Team JMC rider, Jon Entwistle. We’d not previously met, so had a 10 second introduction before Jon shot off over the brow of the hill. Maybe we’ll get a little longer to chat next time. The course was fantastically organised, with many of the gates manned. Every marshal spoke and wished you well and the feed stations ensured we were well fuelled and watered throughout.

I completed the course in 2hrs 45 and raised a few quid for a very deserving cause. I’ll be back again next year, hopefully in the sunshine.