Having not competed in Mountain Mayhem 24hr in the past, I signed up for the new 2019 edition, which took place over the weekend of June 22nd-23rd at the new venue of Marston Lodge. The family and I arrived early evening on the Friday after 3.5-hour journey south.
Mountain Mayhem attracts literally hundreds of competitors along with even more family member and supporters. Many come for the pure festival atmosphere with more of a casual attitude to riding, others are there for the racing.
Not only was it a new event for me, but I had a new team too, Team JMC.
The race started with the infamous ‘Le Mans’ style run, I left others to sprint and had a fast jog to my bike, being careful not to ride until crossing the start line. It was relief to get onto the bike, the race was now on.
After a couple of fast laps, I settled down into a good rhythm, churning out 40-45-minute laps. The course comprised a mix of grass, forest tracks and natural single track, with three brutal climbs and some nice descents too, plenty on the course to keep you interested.
The afternoon heat was a bit of a shock to the system after the poor summer we’ve been having, and about 5 hours in I really hit a wall, a mix of the heat and dehydration, as well as a little ‘off’ on one of the descents. A bit of a longer stop at the pits, to take on plenty of Torq fluid and energy, as well as a good talking to by my wife and the JMC guys and I was on my way again, ready to fight on.
Lights went on around 8pm, I had my Magicshine MJ-906 on the bars and lightweight MJ-900 as my helmet light, I love night riding, I feel it focuses the mind. Through the night I kept grinding out the laps, slowly gaining places, and by the time the sun was rising around 4am I was up to 5th place. The MJ-900 went all night on one battery, with a quick change for MJ-906.
Having ridden only autumn and winter 24-hour events previously, when the sun coming up signaled that the race was nearly over, being in June this one had over a quarter of the race to go. The rest of the race was pretty much event free and was I was in ‘the zone’, I came in every lap took on some energy and a refilled bottle of Torq and away I went, ably supported by Team JMC and Team Rudd.
With 2 to 3 hours to go you start thinking about how many more laps can I get in, laps that by then were starting to take their toll. I always look forward to the last two laps, spurred on during the penultimate as ‘it’s only one more after this’, with the last being ‘my lap’ ticking off every section as I pass it for the last time. The usual surge occurred, and I put in two of the best lap times I had for some hours.
You go through a mix of emotions during a 24-hour race, elation, depression, selling the bikes, planning the next race, but nothing compares to turning the corner and heading for the finish line cheered on by hundreds of supporters. This one was special, 5th place in a huge field of 109 solo male riders, 162miles, 22,000 ft of climbing, I’d had better placed finishes in the past, but this was by far my best result to date with a field of this quality. Where did that wheelie come from?
Can’t wait for next year to see if I can make it onto the podium, thanks Mountain Mayhem, you’ve created some truly awesome memories.
A big thanks to all my supporters and sponsors; Team JMC (those marshmallows were immense), my light and shirt sponsor – Magicshine Lighting, Torq Fitness, Jon Fearne at E3 Coaching, MTB Guisborough and above all others Fiona, Jacob and Hannah. Can’t wait for the next one.
A well-earned beer opened with my medal, on my arrival home.