Cycling for 24 hours straight is such a feat it would be more than most people could even fathom let alone attempt. Now add into that mix temperatures which regularly hit the mid thirties, dark nights, perilous mountain trails, hundreds upon hundreds of other riders all pushing for the same lines and you get a little insight into the madness that is 24 hour Mountain Biking.
This weekend two of our athletes, Nigel Smith and Donna Waring of Team No Idea will be competing in Italy at the highest level of this crazy sport the WEMBO 24 hour mountain biking World Championships.
Earlier this week Tim and dropped in on them to get a better understanding of this what goes into this unforgiving sport. The greatest revelation was that the first 500m of the race involves absolutely no cycling whatsoever and is in fact a foot race to the bikes (Le Mans style). As odd as this seems on the surface it apparently works as a fantastic way of breaking the riders up.
Once they get to the bikes though it's business as usual and the goal is simple. Complete as many laps as possible in twenty four hours. This means that for one full day life is lived in the saddle, as any stops means time wasted (we loaded them up with minis to eat on the ride don't worry). Even the fall of night doesn't stop play, with the riders donning head and bike lights to keep the race going.
You can keep track of how Donna and Nigel are doing on the WEMBO site.