Ok. Random recollections of the Strathpuffer.
1) The scenery: beautiful, no other word.
2) Having a blether with some locals and some racers in the Achtily hotel bar. Guiness is for champions.
3) Some wonderful, weird, whimsical and wandering chat. Lovely people, some I haven't seen in too long. So rejuvenating.
4) A very cold night. Calvin Klein's are *not* thermally efficient.
5) A very robust hangover.
6) Getting out of my kip sack at 9.15am with the race commencing at 10am. I still have to put my bike together and put riding clothes on etc etc.
7) Rocking the Contin singletrack, between the Caledonian pine, rocks and mud. Oh, and ice.
8) The team working supremely. A group who have often ridden together but never as one team gelling into a super-efficient monster of a singlespeed animal (albeit slightly slowed by the effects of a night on the finest mix of hops, mash and water).
9) Such an early dusk.
10) The cold. That's it, just the cold.
11) Hand-overs with perennially cheerful team mates, then basking in the warmth of the team camper van.
12) The long, long night.
13) How quietly hypothermia creeps up on you.
14) 3 hours of perfect sleep wrapped in wool and Marmot's finest.
15) Nicks' tree wrestling antics.
16) John's unfortunate pull with a nagging knee injury. He displayed the strength you need to turn away and do the 'live for the next day' thing despite an overwhelming talent for knocking out supreme efforts in the 24 hour races.
17) Phil managing (with all grace and humour intact) to put up with the team of 4, drinking and laughing their way around the clock, whilst knocking out some supreme lap times and looking so sweet with his Assos body. His first 24 solo and could it have been any harder? Respect.
18) Chris and Dave doing what they have always done: cared for everyone on the team with endless support, cups of coffee and smiles: all whilst tapping out consistent 45 minute laps no matter the time of day and conditions.
19) Nicks' final lap which sent me out with 2 mins to go. I couldn't have been more stoked than at that moment.
20) Pushing a 40minute last lap out despite the gloop and raging through the trees and rocks one last time. The final singletrack saw me 'fondling the edge' in a way I have not managed since the xc race in Aviemore earlier this year. BUZZ.
See the photos on 32sixteen.com and Strathpuffer's site for some ideas as to the visuals.