2018 Chiller 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race – Kielder
Shibden CC again headed to one of the winter 24 hour mountain bikes races, this year choosing the ‘Chiller’ event on the Scottish border at Kielder. As expected the weather played a big part over the course of the race……
Due to start at 12noon, meant a busy morning getting the ‘Base Camp’ setup. We knew that the weather was going to deteriorate once the race started so we made sure that the Gazebo, Power Generator, Cooking and Sleeping facilities were ready before things got tough! We’d secured an area in the carpark adjacent to the race HQ, so we were in a good spot!
The race started on time, team riders setting off quickly, solo riders making sure that they were riding at s sustainable pace.
The first Shibden CC rider to appear after their first lap was solo rider John Hebron followed by Anthony Spalding (riding for a Shibden CC / Nier) combined quad team.
The Quad teams decided that swapping riders each lap was the best strategy, However SCC rider Jack Ackroyd and Olver Harker (Riding as a pair in the Firth Cycles Team) elected to do 3 laps each before changing!
The course was 7.8 Miles long and had 1100 feet of climbing. There was a good mix of single track and fire road. Most of the track was great fun and a challenge to ride, the one place that we all hated was a decent on a heavily rutted fire road, this filled with water and drenched everyone with freezing water, a real test of temperament. Faster riders were doing a lap in under 50 minutes, but any time under 1 hour was an achievement.
As the afternoon wore on all teams / riders settled into the race with very little drama. Andrea Ackroyd had to deal with a puncture on an early lap, but ran with her bike and wasted very little time.
As evening approached the weather started to change, initially there was drizzle which then turned into heavy rain. John Hebron was the first rider to have difficulties. John had started fast and had completed 4 laps in well under 4 hours, but had started to get cramp.
As it came dark, the rain turned to sleet, by this time the teams were digging deep to keep going. Ian Cooper, riding solo was steadily making progress, Jack and Oliver in the pairs were still doing 3 lap stints. Both quad teams were going well. John Hebron had stopped riding, hoping that his crap would improve later.
By 9pm the weather continued to deteriorate, it was now snowing, up on the top of the course it was starting to get tricky. Jack Ackroyd came back after his 6th lap freezing cold and wet through. Oliver went out and did a couple more laps but they both decided to wait for the weather to improve.
By midnight the snow had turned into a blizzard, the wind had picked up and conditions were bordering on unsafe!!! Ian Cooper kept taking short breaks, getting dry, warm and eating, but each time returning to do yet another lap.
The two quad teams, rotating riders kept going, but by 3am the Shibden Team of Andrea Ackroyd, Ian Spencer, Matt Dryden and Heath Ackroyd stopped riding, waiting for better weather.
The Shibden CC / Nier team, kept going…. Club members Anthony Spalding and Garry Spencer along with Donna Waring and Nigel Smith didn’t let the horrendous weather blunt their spirit.
As dan approached the weather improved, it stopped snowing! Oliver and Jack started riding again, as did the Shibden CC Quads team. Although the riders were obviously tired, the better weather lifted spirits and everyone got on with finishing the race.
So how did we all do?
Ian Cooper - 8 laps - Vet 60 Solo – Winner!
Anthony Spalding, Gary Spencer, Nigel Smith, Donna Waring (Shibden CC / Nier) – Mixed Quads – 27 laps - Winners
Andrea Ackroyd, Ian Spencer, Matt Dryden, Heath Ackroyd – Mixed Quads – 19 laps – 3rd
Jack Ackroyd, Oliver Harker – Male Pairs 12 laps – 4th
John Hebron - Solo – 5 laps 45th
Although the conditions were extreme there was a pretty positive attitude throughout the race. Everyone did their best and we got some great results.
Well done everyone!