MTB in the extreme – Have you met STRATHPUFFER yet? FUEL10K is gearing up for a 4th year sponsoring this brutal test of Spirit, Endurance and unbridled Scottish savagery.
What is it? 21st/22nd January – a 24-hour endurance mountain bike race. In the Scottish Highlands. In January. 17 hours of darkness. Freezing temperatures and a combination of ice, snow, sleet, grit, mud and wind. That’s the backbone of this legendary event, that in its 12th year is attracting competitors from across the globe to test their metal.
The premise is simple – 929 competitors gather in the highlands just outside Strathpeffer, 20 km North-West of Inverness, on Friday evening. At 10am on Saturday, the race begins around a gnarly 11km track. Contestants have 24 hours to complete as many laps as possible. You can enter solo, in a pair, quad or group of 10.
FUEL10K has been sponsoring the ‘Puffer for 4 years now, supplying free porridge and sustenance to the riders throughout the event. This year sees FUEL10K co-founder Alex Matheson take to the track in a pair with his brother Hamish, along with 9 other FUEL10K pairs racing. Whilst I can promise there’ll be no preferential treatment, I can’t completely write off the possibility of a practical joke or two. Good Luck Alex.
The first few hours of the event sees hopeful faces and a keen competitive spirit – it’s as the darkness sets in and many realise that they’re way back in the order that the true test of resolve arrives. Come sunrise (if it happens at all), there is an almost broken field of entrants pushing on for the last lap which must start by 10am.
Then it’s a lightning quick awards ceremony, and everyone heads home for some seriously well-earned r&r.
If you’re signed up to compete then come and say hi, we’ll be manning the registration tent with samples and freebies to keep you going. If you think this might be a challenge that calls out to you, then head on over to the Strathpuffer site to find out how to enter next year.
Good luck to everyone out there, and you’re nae a mountain-bike rider if you’ve nae Strathpuffered!