Freezing temperatures. 17 hours of darkness. Miles upon miles of gruelling terrain. A brutal mix of ice, wind, rocks, mud and snow, and maybe, just maybe, a glorious Scottish winter sunrise. The legendary Strathpuffer 24 hour mountain bike endurance event took place last weekend and riding in it for the third time was Fuel10K Co-Founder, Alex Matheson. We had a quick natter with the man himself to find out more.
“You’re doing giant laps so on one level, it’s a race with yourself. It’s about doing as many laps as you can in the 24 hours.”
“It’s an interesting race,” says Alex, “because you’re doing giant laps so on one level, it’s a race with yourself. It’s about doing as many laps as you can in the 24 hours.” Alex is remarkably modest about the race because, aside from being a titanic feat of endurance, it’s also not for the faint hearted. “This year was especially icy, although the trail looked deceptively normal resulting in six broken collarbones in the first couple of hours.”
We couldn’t resist asking what the worst part of the race was but Alex remained circumspect. “In the darkness it’s like being in a cocoon, it’s strangely peaceful. But you do keep asking yourself why you’re doing this and why you aren’t in bed!” And the best bit? “Dawn breaking and knowing the end is in sight is magical.”
The reward at the end sound pretty good too. “We started a great tradition. A fellow Puffer rider and friend of mine who’s a beef farmer brings A LOT of meat and we have a celebratory lunch. Sirloin and red wine. Perfect.” Well deserved indeed.