Bit of an interesting weekend of highs and lows. The Scott MTB Marathon weekends are always great training with the night race on the Saturday followed by the full marathon distance the next day. The back to back hard rides are great training for 24 hour and other endurance events where racing on tired legs is the norm.

The night race included a lot of familiar faces on the start line many of whom I can now call my friends. There were definitely some fast boys about so there was no doubt the pace would be good. I was going well up the first climb not far off the leading three riders and once on the moors was cracking on. Having a lot of miles in the legs recently meant I was pleased the heart rate was responding when giving it a thrashing.

It started to go wrong when I lost my front wheel in a bit of a rocky/boggy bit and came off sideways, no biggy but my handlebars were twisted so I quickly straightened them out. I picked myself up and got going again but the bike didn’t feel right. After a few minutes I looked down and realised that my bars must have been so far round that when I straightened them I did so backwards! What an idiot. Re-straighten part 2. By this time a few other riders had come past frustratingly. Off we go and, another rough ditch, splat, down I go. I then realised that my stem bolts obviously weren’t tight enough so my wheel was twisting on some of the rough moorlands stuff. Multi tool out but I realised that the top cap stem mount that I was using meant I couldn’t get to the headset bolt to tighten that up as well. So for the last hour of the race I was usually to be found face down in the moor with twisted handlebars… bit disappointing as when I was going I was going well. Made it back home just outside the top 10 after some manic behind me ploughed right into the path of an oncoming car to get out quicker at a junction to secure the place. What a div!

Having taken the caravan down I got a reasonable nights sleep but woke up feeling a bit funny. My stomach wasn’t quite right. I had some breakfast and lined up. When we hit the first climb something was very wrong. It was like someone had pulled the parachute cord as I was working really hard but going nowhere. There was nothing in my legs and I started to feel very sick. I gradually faded backwards to be eventually caught by Jon my coach who heroically rode with me as I got worse and worse. At one point there was severe risk of things exploding out of all ends, not nice. Jon sensibly advised we take the shorter route and get me back to the facilities. It was really nice just taking in the views but I was properly crawling along at this point, devoid of any energy. I think all that rolling around in the mud the night before might have meant a mouth full of moorland animal gunk, my guts were not happy.

We made it back and I thanked Jon for being a properly nice chap and looking after me. Apologies to Builth Wells show ground toilet cleaning staff, it was not pretty. Just about made the drive home before 24 hours of horror. Lost about 3kg in weight temporarily at least!

In much better news I picked up one of two new race bikes for the year. A spanking new Scott Scale RC which will be a real race weapon once I’ve tweeked some bits on it. Big thanks to Scott Sports UK for their support.

Main photo courtesy of Jon Fearne from