A Screw Loose in the Brain

posted on July 5th, 2011 by Anthony

Or how Anthony is having an early midlife crisis and is trying to recapture his youth by entering a 24 hour mountain bike race. (Despite having barely ridden for a decade. And only having had a worthy bike for about a month…)

From the age of about 13 to 21 I used to ride a lot. In the days when suspension of any kind was virtually unheard of, right through to the earlier days of monster full suspension downhill rigs.

During this time the first ever Mountain Mayhem event took place. This Red Bull sponsored event saw teams racing round a country park non-stop for 24 hours. For some reason it always appealed to me. I’m not sure why, especially as at the time I was really signed up to the downhill end of the sport with very little stomach for anything that involved riding in an upwards direction.

Getting a team together never happened, and within a few years I met my future wife, got a job, got a mortgage etc etc and biking went out of my life… but that 24 hour race always left an itch.

Fast forward a decade and my now brother-in-laws have discovered the joys of mountain biking. For the past 18 months it’s been great to see them falling in love with the sport, it brought back many great memories.

It also made me visibly green.

Since then I’ve been toying with the idea of getting back into the sport. Being a bit stupid in the head I suggested to my brother-in-laws we should do one of these 24 hour races.

They said yes.

*gulp*

So what is this race

Well it’s called Sleepless in the Saddle and it’s taking place at Catton Park near Derby on 6/7 August. It’s format is based loosely around a Le Mans style race where teams take in turn to relay around the 8 mile circuit as many times as they can in 24 hours. There’s even a mass running start to the parked bikes like the historic motor race.

Some people enter solo, or in pairs. And do it with single speed, fully rigid bikes. There’s even a few mentalists that take part on unicycles.

We might be a bit soft, but we’re not completely mental, and we are totally unexperienced, so were partaking in a team of five (at the time of writing!). Which puts us into competing in the ‘mixed’ category… sadly, due to us all being burly men, this rules out getting on the podium if something goes wrong with the electronic timing and we somehow do well when we obviously and epically sweep aside all comers!

We’re also collecting some cash for charity too. We’ve chosen the very sensible option of the North West Air Ambulance… because you never know what might happen to a slightly unfit mountain biker trying to compete in a 24 hour mountain bike race. We’ve got one of those Just Giving pages so you can bung us a few quid if you like.