There’s 17 hours of darkness of which about 15 will be proper absolutely need lights riding. I’ve got 8 hours of light. I don’t want to have to spend tons on batteries so solo is out. There’s no point travelling that far to only ride 6 hours, a team of 4 seems pointless.
I had nearly finished writing a post about how it would take 24 hours of driving to get there and back, never mind time spent riding… but then I went looking at flying there, and now I’m half tempted. I’ve never been to Scotland, and a 24 hour race somewhere else would be quite interesting.
But… 17 hours of darkness is just silly, and would require more than my current one battery. And at SSMM I managed only one night lap before my ankle was knackered from so many can’t-see-where-the-hell-I’m-going UPDs. And it must be blummin’ cold that time of year. And… and…
Somebody please, talk me out of it before I go any further…
A) It’s really far away - even you guys have to fly
B) It’s at a ridiculous time of year - 17 hours of darkness?! What is that?!
The logical conclusion is that you should do it. Wish I could come over and do it with you. I actually think it would be best with 4 people. More of a team feeling might be really good. Just make sure no one craps out!
In the summer I was atleast an hour above Inverness and happened to chat with a local mountain biker, he came 2nd at this years SSMM in our class. If he can make it that far south it would only be fair for you to return the honour.
i would if it wasnt for the distance
its about a >10hr drive from here!
shame really though, perhaps worth thinking about for next year. make a week or two out of it or something. there is loads of riding and climbing to be done up there so i could be persuaded to take a week or two off work
That slow, creeping, chill feeling which spreads from the pounding heart, via the knees and thighs (to consider their current condition and training potential) before rasing back by way of straining lungs… before making it all the way up to the brain.
Bother. The brain is always the weakest link.
As their website says “The £24 entry must represent the best pain/price ratio ever!” Not to mention the item in the rules about all riders carrying a survival blanket and emergency food.
Sounds like such a tempting thing. If it weren’t for the 12+ hour train journey, my one green flashing LED light and the exam period starting the day after… if only…
Something which makes SSMM (Redbull 24) sound downright civilised!
Joe, if none of the usual people are up for it I’m quite tempted to have a go at something like that. There are a couple of potential problems in that I’ve never ridden a unicycle in the dark or even raced a unicycle before, so I can’t promise that I’d be very good, but I do claim to be reasonably fit (when I haven’t got a sodding cold!) and usually ride everywhere as fast as I can go.
It’s the thought of being mown down by bikes that scares me… perhaps I should try a daylight race first to get used to the crowds. Mass-start road races on the bike used to scare the pants off me - I was more of a time-trialist.
But anyway, if you’re stuck for a partner I could probably be persuaded to give it a go. But if you find somebody with some experience (I’m surprised Roger hasn’t replied) I won’t be offended
I’ll be driving past you at some point before Christmas so I could drop off Keith’s & my lights on the way down from London, collect Sarah’s while I’m in Devon & drop those off too. Should I ask Paul Royle for his too?
Des (& Phil)
you could get a sleeper train on Friday night, and come back Sunday night to be back at work first thing Monday.
You need to be careful about the polarity if you’re fitting the plug yourself, it’s apparently wired the opposite way to normal. If you do it wrong the charger will not work. Two batteries + a 10w bulb = 10 hours of light.
I’d also say it sounds to be hilly enough to justify riding munis rather than 29ers or cokers, so you’re less likely to injure yourself while night riding.
It looks like it might be a little hilly, although I’d guess they’d not use much higher than 1000 feet otherwise you’d be riding in the clouds for most of the race.
I have a new sleeping bag that’s rated as comfy down to -8C and usable down to -20 or so. This would be a good chance to use it. They’re apparently going to have hot water and a heated event tent available all through the 24 hours plus lots of bonfires to stay warm around.
Scotland is fantastic to ride in, big hills, mists, blizzards, rain, what more could you want?
As for training for a race like this, it’s only a couple of months away, so you’d need to be pretty fit already, and probably have at least some experience of night riding. Other than that, I’d train by riding lots. There’s nothing else to it. I’d say you’d probably want some experience of mountain conditions and a good waterproof jacket, they’re not saying bring survival bags for no reason.
You’re probably right Joe - I was only volunteering as a last resort if you couldn’t find anybody else. Looks interesting though, much like home but probably colder
I haven’t done any proper competitive cycling since I drifted out of bike time trialling years ago (the nearest I’ve come to racing is Audax rides but they don’t really count) and I’m getting the urge to do some racing on the unicycle. I’ll have to have a go at some night riding on my own (I’m a bit chicken to risk breaking my bike lights that I need to get home from work:o ) and see how I get on, and perhaps think about entering a couple of races with more daylight…
The salisbury plains challenge is I think relatively near to you Rob. I think it was the first long race I entered. I did the 50K. It was very very muddy in parts as the course defrosted during the ride. I rode the 26 and that was the right choice as the 29er / coker would have been bogged down. Only the 50k route has off road riding, so you should do that one. It was a good ride, everyone was pretty friendly, and you’re unlikely to come last as there are some very slow bike riders who do it and the conditions make having a very low maintenance cycle very useful.
This looks like a good idea… I’ve been ponderin’ about another battery for a while anyway, so when on the bike I can have one light on my head and one on the bike without having to attach myself to the bike.
How do they come regarding cables? Looking at the original battery the wires just vanish into the shrink-wrapped plastic. Does the new battery come with bare-ended wires sticking out, nothing at all, or can you get them to attach a proper plug on the end?
I’m tempted in a masochistic kind of way. I’ve hardly been out since redbull, but really enjoyed the back to back night laps I did. That 7 - 8 hrs darkness was too much for my cheapo lights, so I’d need new ones. Pencil me in as a possible maybe tentative, if phil / a.n.other doesn’tgo for it…(I’m not that quick mind)