Last weekend one of our coaches, Craig, took part in a 24hr mountain bike race. So in the spirit of the event we asked him 24 questions all about how he got on.
1. What was the event?
Relentless 24 by No Fuss Events.
2. What was the format of the race?
Quite simple. Complete as many laps as you can of the 11.5km route within 24 hours. It’s a mass start with the first lap starting on wide forestry-roads until we spread out for the first descent and the rest of the race. The laps then start with a single-track climb. After each lap you use a ‘dibber’ to record your lap times with the timing system.
3. Have you done anything like this before?
I have this event a few times as a Quad team for a bit of fun, and did it solo for the first time in 2015. It can’t be that bad if I came back for more!!
4. Why did you want to do it again?
I like to challenge myself in things that require more mental toughness than ‘regular’ races. I enjoy seeing how far I can go. Also, I wanted something to focus on later in the year and thought this would be good ‘fun’, and managed to get some others involved too.
5. Did you do the race with anyone?
I had good friend Blair Cartmell also doing the solo race, and a few others from Stirling Tri Club taking part too.
6. Did you have a support team with you?
Yes, my dad Graham and brother Gregg (who traveled up from London in fear of missing out on the rad weekend of mtb’ing). Also, with our friend Blair racing, we had his brother Fraser Cartmell and their mum Lynda helping out and supporting too.
7. Did they make a difference?
For sure! They helped keep me fueled and kept motivation going when things got tough. You can never underestimate the impact those around you have on a race of this length!
8. How much specific training did you do?
In the final 6 weeks or so, I was getting more night rides done and started riding at various times of the day to get used to riding in changing light and riding tired. I did one big 10-hour training ride with Blair. We started at 4:30pm and didn’t finish till after 3:30am (10hr of ride time!)
9. Did you have a goal going into the race?
First goal was to beat my result from 2015 – 21 laps, 19th Overall Solo/ 7th Solo Senior. My main goal was to be in the Top 10 Solo Seniors. (And of course I wanted to beat Blair!)
10. How much kit/equipment did you need to take given it's such a long race?
As It turned out, not as much as I had with me!! I only changed my clothes once during the night to freshen up. I had outfits for all sorts of weather – you never know what it’s going to be like in the Scottish Highlands in October… I had a spare bike too for absolute emergencies, thankfully I had none
11. Did you end up getting any mechanical issues?
Nothing – amazingly! No punctures, thanks to tubeless Maxxis IKON tyres. No broken chain, no broken cables. I got a good service and replaced the full drivetrain a couple weeks before thanks to Andy at Stirling Bike Doctor!
12. What were your planned race tactics going into it?
Get some good laps done in the daylight and get to know the course well before darkness fell. Keep the laps steady through the night and try to limit my stops to a few minutes with a couple 20min breaks through the night. Then push on for the final hours of daylight.
Also, I knew I had to keep eating and drinking the whole race – once you ‘bonk’ there’s almost no going back!
13. Did these change much throughout?
My limited stops didn’t go quite to plan – I had to take 2 long stops around 50-60minutes, one was due to knee pain I couldn’t put any real pressure on my left knee for a couple laps, the other was to get a bit of sleep – something I was really hoping I did not need to do but I couldn’t even ride in a straight line, and generally didn’t feel safe!
14. How much sleep did you have?
A little. As much as I didn’t plan on stopping to sleep, I really needed to stop for a nap to get myself alert once again. I only got about 50mins sleep during the race… it doesn’t sound like much, but honestly 50-minutes more than I intended!
15. How did the race unfold for you?
Not quite as smoothly as hoped. I had a few low points through the night where my support crew came in to play to get me motivated again. Once I had my 1-hour stop for a sleep, I felt great again and just in time for the sun rising. My final few laps I was feeling surprisingly good and was chasing the clock to the bitter end!
16. How much, and what, food did you have to eat?
I’m not sure exactly how much I ate but all I wanted to do was to keep eating little and often throughout the race. Some of the foods I had were: chicken & cheese sandwiches, plain pasta, soup, flapjack, jelly babies, Peperami stick, porridge, salted peanuts. I also drank approx. 13-14 litres of fluid.
17. What kept you focused and motivated throughout?
Trying to beat Blair, helped!! We were pushing each other all the way. And I wanted to make sure I kept lap times to 1-hour or less.
18. How many laps did you finish on?
22 laps. I managed to squeeze in my final lap with the 25th hour! You get one hour at the end to completed your final lap – I knew I had just over an hour to get it in so I just pushed on and made it in with about 15minutes to spare
19. So, what made you decide to go out for that extra lap?
I knew I was on 21 laps, and I didn’t want to stop there when I knew I could get one more in! And also Blair had stopped at 21… so it’s only fair I got one more!
20. What were some of the stats of your ride?
24 Hours 47 Minutes / 255.7 Kilometres / 7,580m Ascent / 11,425 Calories / 22 Laps
21. How did you feel at the end after such a long time racing?
Emotionless & relieved! I felt surprisingly good – I think the adrenaline keeps you going for a couple hours after!
22. Is there anything you would have done differently looking back on it all?
To be honest, I don’t think there is much... as much as it didn’t all go exactly as hoped, it’s such a long time that so many things can go wrong or not quite to plan.
23. A week on, how have you recovered since?
Physically – pretty good! Having a week of no training just to relax and get enthusiasm back up.
Mentally – it took a few days! I felt like my brain wasn’t working, I couldn’t focus or concentrate on anything for more than 10minutes in the 2-3days after…
24. Will you do it again?
Probably!! Next year Relentless 24 is the host to the 24hr Solo World Championships… so never know…