Q & A with Rich and Tom (Mini-Pips)

By Jay Oram

Heading out on a ride, a great chance for some father and son bonding. Well what happens when your 10 year old turns around to you and says - hey pops, let's go and do the Strathpuffer. Despite thinking he'd had enough of this infamous 24 hour race, Rich agreed and set in motion a series of cycling plans that are sure to test the both of them. We shall be following along for the (long) ride ahead.

Jay catches up with them following their recent daring deed.

Hey Tom and Rich.

Q: I have read the blog and seen the pictures from Strathpuffer and other biking shenanigans, but where did it all start for both of you?

A: Tom- I did my first big ride with my Dad and Sister when I was 5. We rode 36 miles along the Tissington Trail. I asked my Dad that evening if we go could go out again the day after.

Q: We love all adventures and getting out on our bikes especially, do you have anything coming up soon?

A: Rich- The 186 mile Cairngorm Loop in May is a definite. Before that at Easter we've a couple of options. Either the Pennine Bridleway double, or another trip up to Scotland to do the Highland Trail 550 which I did last year. We'll be doing lots of long rides this year in preparation for the 2745 mile Tour Divide in 2016.

Q: Those sound awesome! But back to the more recent Strathpuffer, Tom, during the event, what was it like riding in the cold - just how cold did it get?

A: Tom- Some bits were very icy. I fell off a couple of times. How cold? I think it got down to -8.

Q: While you were doing the course, did you often have to help your dad out?

A: Tom- I was in charge of lighting when we both had tyre issues in the middle of the night. Otherwise he managed OK.

Q: Were there any challenges riding in the dark or have you practiced that a lot?

A: Tom- We have done a bit of night riding before. In December I rode from midnight through until dawn to see what it was like riding without sleep.
Our Exposure lights were great for finding a good line in the dark at the race.

Q: What was the best snack you had during your ride Tom?

A: Tom- Hotdog and baked beans and Warm Coca Cola.

Q: What's your usual post ride snack?

A: Hot chocolate and chocolate cake.

Q: Rich, how did you know Tom was going to enjoy the race and did you know how well he was going to do?

A: I have enough experience with 24hr racing to know it wouldn't all be enjoyable, and I'd told him that. I knew he'd be fine riding through the daylight, but there isn't much of that at Strathpuffer.
I just made sure he was warm, and that he was eating and drinking. The rest was down to his determination.

Q: You used the Possum to hold a few spares during the race - How did you get on with it?

A: Two compartments to keep things organised and quickly to hand was appreciated at 1am when I was trying to fix Tom's puncture.
Otherwise fit and forget. In fact it's not come off my bike since. It's great not having to use a rucksack anymore.

Q: Last question - each individually - if you could ride with anyone, anywhere, who and where would it be?

A: Tom- I want to race my Dad at the MegAvalanche when I'm old enough.

A: Rich- After he's beaten me at the MegAvalanche, as we'd be in the Alps, I'd like to ride round the Tour Mont Blanc with Tom. I'm still a match for him going up the hills.

We look forward to hearing about all the adventures you guys have planned, thanks for chatting to me!


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