I don’t know why, but I expected a broken nose to hurt more than that. Maybe it was the below-zero temperatures or the rush of adrenaline that you tend to experience when you’ve just landed on the ground on your face. Once I’d crawled up off the floor, moved my bike out of the way, I had a sit down.

I love sitting down on the ground at 5 in the morning. It’s great.

I could hear my nose clicking as I moved it side to side. I probably should stop doing that in case it comes off in my hand, I thought.

The weather conditions at the Kielder Chiller 24 hour race were pretty-much the same as they had been the last time I rode a bike there – in fact the last time I rode there the weather was just as wet and cold and I was engulfed in a thick cloud of abrasive mud. My brake pads disintegrated and I ended up in a bush. I said I’d never return but I did return and once again I was engulfed in a cloud of abrasive mud and my pads disintegrated.

Once again I pulled on my brake lever and apart from a loud metallic noise, nothing happened.

I didn’t land in a bush this time. If I had it might not have been so dramatic. This time I rode down a steep section of singletrack, unable to slow down. I rode off the side of the trail as it bent around to the right and was launched into the air as my front wheel suddenly encountered a large enough object.

I was racing in the pairs category with Phil, thankfully. We were winning too.


With only a few hours of the race left and a nice 2 or 3 lap gap to the second-place pair I was able to hand over to my super-dependable team mate and let him get on with finishing the job while I sat in the Team JMC pit, nursing my face. Eventually I went to sit in the car with the engine running and the heated seat on. The car subsequently filled with mud.


A win is a win, regardless of a broken bone and a very sad and now-in-need-of-serious-maintenance Santa Cruz Highball.


A massive thanks to Lisa and Mel who made me cups of tea and fed me painkillers. Also thanks to the ambulance man who decided not to send me to A&E, which was probably hundreds of miles away and full of drunken people with no tops on.