Here’s a few words from Alan on his amazing win!

What a Kielder Chiller and 24 Hour British Mountain Bike Champs that was! 2nd overall and age group national champ๐Ÿ…

I only managed this with the support of my pit crew, my brother Eugene and Budge of Team JMC, with a little help from Sally and Jason Miles (legend) ๐Ÿ™ and backed by Oli and the team at BW Cycling Experience and Mountain Fuel Nutrition.

I’d done my first 24-hour event at the Kielder Chiller this time last year and loved it. This time, I wanted every pedal stroke to count, to do more than last year’s 19 laps, and better than 2nd place overall. I also wanted to do my big brother and Team JMC captain, Budge proud for all the time and effort.

After 8 hours, the first big weather front hit, which hadn’t been forecasted. It viciously shook the trees around me, accompanied by thunder that clapped right above my head with flashes of lightening. The torrential rain and heavy wind ripped right through me, especially at the tops of the exposed climbs. Luckily, I made it back to the pits to peel of the soaked mud heavy gear and drag on dry kit onto a cold wet body, while the team turned their backs. My pit told me the news that the race organisers had made the brave decision to neutralise the event in two hours at 9pm, before the next storm front. People’s safety was the organisers no 1 priority, and I tip my helmet to them for their decision ๐Ÿ‘ My scheming pit crew neglected to tell me it would restart at 3am, once the storm front had passed, so I banged out some fast laps. This, I think was their cunning plan.

At 3am, it was back on the start line for a mass start, which surprisingly my legs reacted well to. Eugene and I had a plan to do 7 laps in the last 8 hours. This wouldn’t be easy, but I was up for it. After 4 laps, during a quick refuel and wheel change to deal with the increasing mud, Budge instructed me that I had to do 3 laps in 3:25 minutes, so needed 3 x 1 hour 5 minute laps to be certain of my position (again, I’m think this was a motivational fib). As I spun round the corner into the pits in 1 hour 5 mins for the first lap, I could hear Budge shout for joy, which really lifted me to do the same for the next 2 laps. I was loving it! No idea where this power came from.

I finished exhausted but elated. I’d left it all out there, which still fills me with pride. As hard as I pedalled, I just couldn’t catch the super talented Kyle Beattie, who beat me again last year. What a legend to finish behind. I’m super, duper, stoked for him and his team ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿฅ‚ Well done to everyone who managed to get over the line!

I’d done 17 laps in 18 hours this time, compared to 19 in 24 hours last year. I’d covered 219km and climbed 7,383 metres -not too shabby in those conditions.

That’s four 24-hour races in 12 months, with the last just 5 weeks ago. It’s a wonderful world full of adventurous, bright eyes people experiencing life on the absolute limit and to the full. I proper love it and the friends I’ve made outside my comfort zone, just the best place to be, where every feeling and emotion is heightened to the last. Even better when your big bro is there to support you. Thanks, Euge!

Finally, on a sad note, mountain bike events are falling away since Covid-19, especially ultra-endurance, like 24-hour in the UK. Costs for event organisers are rising with the cost of living. Cyclists just don’t have the spare cash to do as many events as they used to. I can easily see a near future, especially with the rise of other types of bike races, like gravel, where mountain biking never recovers, and events like Kielder become unviable for the already over stretched and over spent event organisers, like Barry Kemp and his amazing Cold Brew Events team. This makes me so sad, so if you want to get into longer mountain bike events but are unsure how to then hit up me please. I’d be glad to help anyone experience to joy and elation from completing something so epic.