22 Jan 2014

Strapuffer 24

After 4 day of climbing and walking what better way to finish off the week than with a 24 hour race in the north of Scotland- The Strathpuffer. With a 6am start from Fort William to get to the race start on Saturday morning it was going to be a very long day. We were racing in the quads and the team was made up of Mark, Andy, Steve and myself, being the one that had suggested the idea to them all and talked/dragged them into it.

The team (Andy, Mark, Mark and Steve) © Steve Bowens 
After getting there we had a fast set up of the pits and getting registered, then it was time for me to get ready for the first 2 lap. Had the joy of doing the Le Mans style start. It was a bit mad trying to find Andy with my bike then fight my way up the first hill. It was then just getting a nice speed and keeping it up for the 2 laps I had to do. Getting back into the pits it was then Mark up. It was a bit mad thinking that I still had more laps to get done and would need to try and keep the pace up. You could say I was wishing that I had got in a bit more training before the race. Mark and Andy got their laps done ok and we seemed to be off to a good start. Then Steve come running in missing a pedal off his bike. This meant that he ran the second half of the course on foot- and astonishingly still got a good time in! One fast pit change of putting flats onto my bike for him and he was back out. This now meant that we had 3 bikes for the 4 of us to use. One of them being Mark's full suspension Pitch which was like riding a pogo stick.

Mark after his Laps

We soon worked out a new running order. It meant that Andy and Steve were riding the same bike but it would be ok. Two more laps each and that was us onto night riding. I had the first night ride and it was ok. Odd that the only thing that I was interested in was a 6 foot light bubble. After the laps it was time to try and get a bit of sleep before getting back on it. Waking back up thinking that you have to ride more was not the happiest thing to have to think about.

Steve warming up for his first night ride
Once over that though it was getting back onto it and riding the 2nd lap. This went slower than the other one, I dont think I eat enough food. So not full of energy for the full 2 laps. They got done though and so it was time to rest again, eat, sort the bike out. I think that for a race there's a lot of sitting about and chilling just waiting for your turn to come up. On came 4.30 and things were still going well. The thought of sleep had gone now for me and it was just a case of staying up till the end.

Keeping warm in the pits
Steve heading out again 
Happy face at 4.30 
Mark enjoying it
By this point we had broken Mark and he definitely showed his downhill colours, not enjoying the ups. We had one more round of turns to go before the end and if we did that fast then there would be time for one more lap to fit in before the end. By the end we had done 31 laps and we finished 23rd out of 85. Gone through 1 set of cranks and one set of brake pads. So in all not that much. Left with sore legs for the last 2 days and feeling tired as hell for the day after. Now looking back on it was a great time and enjoyed every lap and the atmosphere all round.

The big question is would I do it again?

Yes I would for sure.

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