Strathpuffer 2010

All race reports and results featuring Ythan Members

Strathpuffer 2010

Postby Bill » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:19 pm

So I get the honour of placing the first race report of ther new decade on the shine new forum, so here goes.

Strathpuffer, for those who are not familiar is a 24 hour mountain bike race, you can do it as we did in quads, pairs or if you are really crazy, as a solo. I had done it once before, three years ago and I didn't have any real enthusiasm to return, tarmac being more my comfort zone, but I was asked to join a team from work who were a man down and agreed if they couldn't find anyone else, the very next day they said they couldn't and I was in, I sense a lack of effort in trying to be honest :cry:

The race is as much about logistics as it is cycling, get the support right and you are half way there, last time I operated out of a two man tent, this year I had the luxury of the van and in built catering, well single hob gas cooker and a non stick pan but a vast improvement. I also took just about every piece of bike clothing I owned, I reckoned on doing 7 laps tops, so I packed 7 sets of kit, much to the amusement of the rest of the team, but by 2am they were coming round to my way of thinking, it's easy to be uncomfortable :)

The race starts with a Le mans style run half a mile from the bikes, I was "volunteered" to go first, evidently everyone else had been first at some point in their lifes (dating back to primary school) so it was my turn, "whatever", I thought, at least I would get the first look at the 7.2 mile lap...Big mistake. The run went well, arrived well up the pecking order with the hope of a quick feature on the Adventure show in my Ythan colours...And I took a good few minutes out of the Venture Show presenter Dougie Vipont (sp). Once on the bike it was a 2.5 mile ride up a land rover track which the recent thaw had turned to soft mud, the heart rate soon lifted. At the top of the track the route heads off road for a couple of miles with a few technical section. The organisers had made a valiant attempt to clear the snow which was thick around the course but there was still a 1 mile sections which had not ben touched, there was no way it could be ridden, there was little choice but to push the bike through it...A total nightmare and I was really regreting my entry with the tought of 24 hours push a MTB around the course. The cynic in me assumed that because this race is a private venture they would never cancel as it would have cost them a lot of money, but at that point I felt they should have, however I was fortunately to be proved wrong.

Where the track was cleared the riding was good but we hit another long uncleared section later on the course which again had to be pushed through.

At this stage the mud wasn't an issue but the ice was, one particular area at the bottom of a steep descent in the trees right on a 90 degree bend there was a large patch of ice, many fell victim and it was one to remember on the future laps, it remained throughout the race.

The final descent on the first lap was a real test of balance, the lead rider had made a single tyre wide track through the snow and everyone else tried to stay in it, deviate left or right and you were off, I demonstrated many ways of leaving my bike unconventionally though the 24 hour period, had it been Colin A he would now be sporting quadruple fractures, Colin, never ever ever enter this race...Don't even watch it on the Adventure Show, you will sprain your wrist on the remote turning up the volume.

First lap was disappointing, it took over the hour and even with the run at the start it was well out of the daylight range but at least I now had a 3 hour rest before I was out again. The 3 hours goes quickly.

2nd lap was much better, the wheels of all the others had started to clear the snow and although the mud was starting to be a problem and the ice wasn't for leaving I did manage to ride the whole way, only fell off twice and recorded a 47 min lap.

The next three laps were in the dark, thats a whole new ball game and despite good lights the speed naturally drops, as did the temperature with ice starting to form on the technical rocky section, cue more dramatic demonstrations of unintended dismounting and trying to answer the recurring "why am I doing this" question.

At 2:30am I finished my last night time lap and through clever scheduling I was at least able to get some sleep whilst the others kept the lap counts coming. You can't beat the feeling of being nice and warm and dry in you sleeping bag at 6:50 when someone in the team shouts "it's your turn next", Morale rocketed...Not. But for the good of the team I was up and ready in plenty of time for my swap over. The start of this lap was hard, going from sleep to race pace is not easy and the 2 mile climb didn't help but I had to push on, we had time for my lap and one more but if we could get the final one done before10am, the oficial end then we would be allowed to get on for a bonus lap which had to be done before 11am to count.

I got round and back by 8:30, this gave us a great chance of getting to the bonus and more importantly, having done that I thought my race was over, bacon rolls and a doze was in order, 6 laps in. Whilst our man was out trying to beat the 10am cut off I had a chat with the other two to see who was taking on the bonus lap, they had done 5 laps to my 6 so it seemed only fair...Life isn't fair though and as our man came in with 15 mins to spare I got my kit back on for lap 7.

In total we managed 23 laps in just over 24 hours of riding...We went through 32 sets of brake pads, and 50 tea bags :) The strathpuffer eats brake pads, 3 laps and you have to change them. Out of the 79 Quads that started we came a creditable 16th.

If anyone fancies it again next year then give me a shout, I am happy to advise but the answer is No ;)
Bill
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby Colin A » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:10 pm

Cracking stuff and a fitting way to start the year. It's inspired me to enter. Oh no hold on I've broken my pencil. :shock:
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby Russ » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:34 pm

How were the midges?
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby Bill » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:41 pm

Yes Russ, you have hit on the only advantage of racing in the middle of winter :) Ythan team next year???
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby Russ » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:32 pm

Good effort doing it again. As soon as I got home after the last one I took the photo below to remind me to never do it again, I've kept the remains of my brake pads and discs from the first couple of laps from 2007 and have them on a nail next to my mountain bike shoes as another reminder. Hell on a stick.

Image
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby John Hunter » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:12 am

Good effort Lad, looks good on the Adventure show. Did you beat Vipond in the end?

Hoep to see you smiling thru the pain on a future episode!!
"no longer the wrong bike, no longer almost the right bike, now the right bike!!"
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby Andy D » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:33 pm

John, I think an asthmatic ferret nailed to a roller skate could beat Vipond!?! (sorry if you didn't Bill - the shame!!)

I will categorically state here and now, you can forget ever getting me to ride that event.

A mid summer road/closed circuit enduro in a team - maybe ; freezing cold, snow and ice, MTB's, mud and camping - no danger.

Well done Bill, good to see you are still taking on these challenges, now get back on your turbo and get serious will you.
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby John Hunter » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:06 pm

Andy, sounds like a feature race for the Grampian grand prix!!
"no longer the wrong bike, no longer almost the right bike, now the right bike!!"
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby Colin A » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:44 pm

Big Dougie fell on the first lap and was taken to Raigmoir(sp) with concussion. He was back at the race later on but not racing again.
May I remind you of that scene
with your arms aloft in Aberdeen
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Re: Strathpuffer 2010

Postby Col » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:03 pm

Thrilling read and well done Bill. Still think you're nuts for doing it but great performance nonetheless.
Shame about the motorhome incident afterwards :(
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