Strathpuffer 2016

By Alpkit

We met Rich and Tom last year when took on the infamous Strathpuffer 24hr mountain bike race. Well they returned for another year as Tom sets his sights on improving. These two never seem to stop cycling.

Billed as one of the toughest 24 hour races, the Strathpuffer takes place in the North of Scotland in January. Tom first did this race last year aged 9. He rode 10 laps then, and was back to improve on his performance.

We had borrowed a Sonder Transmitter for Tom, and a Vir Fortis for myself. These bikes were absolutely awesome in the snow we had the week before. Unfortunately the forecast was for warm temperatures and that would mean mud. Are 3 and 4 inch tyres any good in mud? We would find out.

The course is varied, but there is a lot of fire road surface so we put plenty of air in the tyres to minimise rolling resistance. This meant on the descents I had to work hard to keep Tom in my sights with him having the advantage of front suspension. Tom loved the Sonder Transmitter, and I was impressed to see that on his last lap he rode it all without putting a foot down. The Vir Fortis was fun to ride. It must have weighed a lot coated in mud, but it always felt nimble.

Tom having completed a couple of 24 hour races had a plan. We would ride till midnight have a bit of sleep, then ride on to the finish, and that was what we did. 3 hours sleep, and other than that we rode our bikes. 13 laps was the total number of laps, 3 more than last year. He was tired at the end, but was already planning what he will do differently at Strathpuffer 2017.

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