The last rider of the Ninth Bontrager 24/12 at Newham Park finished just before 1pm on Sunday, making it nearly 25 hours in total for the race, a real test of physical and mental strength. Although the idea is to have fun this is a serious event with several of the top mountain bike riders in the country competing.
The course was about 12km starting with an uphill zig zagging section through some woods and a fast downhill to finish, built more for speed rather than technical difficulty. The first start time was noon on the Saturday for the 12 hour and 24 hour races with another torch bearers race starting at midnight. There were various race categories for teams or individuals. A very hot day producing dry and dusty conditions giving very fast lap times for the best riders.
Before the main race on Saturday there were brilliant little races for different age groups of youngsters. Real enthusiasm from them with some tiny little seven year old girls managing to keep up with the bigger boys.
It would be nice to report that the brewery team performed well but things where just too much, so no excuses. Karen did well in spite of arguing with some brambles when she fell off and came in with bloody legs. It was our first event of this type and we were just not ready for how tough it was. One team member even vowed never to get on a mountain bike ever again, so not counting on him for next year. We will try and get a team for next year and at least we now know just what it takes to finish this sort of event.
Dartmoor Brewery sponsored the prizes for the best individuals and provided a beer tent.
A relaxing drink on Friday evening for everyone before the race and then after each race for the riders. At the end of the 12 and 24 hour races each rider was offered a drink as they crossed the line. Some seemed quite expert and just grabbed the glass and kept riding as if it was the most natural thing.
The Bontager 24/12 was an inspirational few days and something of a showcase for all that is best in sport and mountain biking. A real pleasure to be involved helping to sponsor the event. A friendly competitive few days with families, individuals and children from seven years competing, just having fun on their bikes.