For my first ever 24hr solo race I decided to go for Mountain Mayhem as it is was not only the longest established event but also 2017 would be its last ever year.
I arrived at Gatcombe Park on Friday with my pit crew Simi and Mark and joined up with the rest of Team JMC. After setting up camp we went out for a practice lap with the team.
For those that don’t know about 24hr racing, you have 24hrs to get as many laps in as you can around a course just over 7 miles in length with around 1000ft of climbing per lap. The course itself consisted of bumpy fields, forest tracks, singletrack, rocks, roots, technical descents and some killer climbs!
The race started at 12pm on Saturday and by that time it was getting very hot with not a cloud in sky. It starts with a run to your bike, so off I went but when I got to where I thought my bike was I couldn’t find it due to there being hundreds of bikes lent up against the fences. Finally I found it, much to my embarrassment and the amusement of the spectators.
Pacing and hydration was the most important thing from the start so I stuck to a good routine, taking in gels and lots of fluids. As laps went by I was feeling good and felt strong with the help of Simi and Mark feeding me with exactly what I needed.
As the sun went down so did the temperature which then meant upping the pace a bit. Through the night was the best time for me, I got into a good pace with a teammate Keith Kitchen, who also racing solo, and also had the pleasure of doing a few laps with teammates Richie and Tom. We helped each other out with some good tactics, plenty of encouragement and the odd bit of name calling – helped see us through to sunrise in good spirits.
Just after 10am I worked out another 2 laps would be possible, so it was heads down and go for it. Riding through the main arena the atmosphere and the feeling of crossing the finish line was a brilliant experience. Also crossing it and high-fiving my mate Keith was a bonus!
My result was 22nd place with 19 laps, which was 143 miles and around 18000ft of climbing!
Massive thanks to my family and friends for their support, Team JMC for just being the best (I look forward to meeting up again soon), my pit crew Simi and Mark for being top mates! Also big thanks to my sponsor M.FORTE Racing of Clayton-le-Moors for getting my bike ready and for building me a set of wheels that took such a hammering and are still going just as strong today!
Now with one 24hr solo race in the bag I want to do another, so the plan is to do two 24hr solo races in 2018 and improve on this result. Thanks for reading and stay tuned ?….Ticker