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A six man team headed up to Relentless 24 at the weekend to tackle the ultra endurance 24hr MTB race.  4 riders and probably the stars of the show, Jay and John Doig, who were absolutely outstanding!!  Setting up, cleaning and maintaining the bikes, feeding, timing… the list goes on!! We had it planned well and had the motorhomes, tent, genny, pressure washers, plenty food and drink etc.

Gary Macdonald (Nevis Cycles), Wayne Barr (Velocity 44), Jordan Doig (Wheelbase/Altura/MGD and myself (Davie Lines, Wheelbase/Altura/MGD) were the racers.  All of us apart from Jordan are racing cyclocross at the moment so the plan was to use this as a training/overload session, doing 1 lap each but at race pace.  We also wanted to try and get a buffer in case of any mechanical issues and with only doing 1 lap at around 37 minutes this meant we never had to take a bottle or food with us! Every gram counts eh?!

Gary started us off, full gas (pretty much the only way he knows how to race) and by the time he’d done the first lap in just over 32 minutes we had around a 2 minute lead.  I took over from Gary, then Wayne and finally Jordan.  This was to be the running order for the remainder of the race.

When we started it was wet and windy and clothing choice was difficult as we wanted to keep the warm stuff for night time.  The next rider would be on the rollers for a quick warm up before taking to the course so as not to hit that first climb with legs full of lactic and cold lungs. The noise of MTB tyres on the rollers was the sign that it was soon to be your turn.

Spirits were high, the music was on in the tent and Jay and John were in full on mechanic/swanny mode, fixing bikes, building fires and keeping us fed. You couldn’t wait to get back on the course for your turn.

Once the darkness fell and we put the lights on the lap times went up by a minute or so but we we still averaging 37-38 minutes.  Feeding was starting to become a lot harder as tiredness began to kick in.  We had a lot of different foods to pick from as you never know what you’re going to be in the mood for at 4 am and after so many laps on a bike.

The event started to take its toll around 5 am.  The tireless Jay was unwakeable, the noise of the MTB tyres on the rollers gave you boak as you knew you were on soon, the rest periods seemed to get shorter and shorter and your appetite was non existent.

Looking at the time left, lap times and where we were in relation to the other teams, somehow we managed to work out that we would each complete 9 laps almost perfectly.  3 more each left!

As the sun started to come up, the mood lifted a bit and our lap times got a bit quicker again.  There wasn’t as much of a rush to stoke the fire and there was a great relief knowing we had enough clothes left.

Our final laps and we were all still lapping as we started and covered 36 laps (9 laps each) and almost 400km with 35,000ft of climbing.  We took the overall win and the win in our category, finishing a lap ahead at the end of the 24 hours with no mechanicals!

Hats off to all those that competed,  it’s certainly a different type of race!

Big thanks to Jay and John for the outstanding work and to the guys for being amazing athletes! And of course to all our sponsors throughout the year!

Davie Lines