From where I see it 24hr solos are the epitome of ultra-endurance MTBing. Having to push harder and go deeper than any mere mortal should need to at any point in their life and yet many choose to take part for that very reason. Its testing, its daunting, its huge, its gruelling by nature but its also a decent way to spend one day of the year. You, your bike and the course. 24hr solos appeal to me for all these reasons and they’re what I’m aiming to do reasonably well in.
In the UK there are a number of 24hr solos, most established with the odd new one cropping up every now and then but there are a few 24s that I personally consider to be The Four Monuments of 24hr solos. Mountain Mayhem, Sleepless In The Saddle, Twentyfour12 and 24hrs of Exposure.
The oldest, most established of the four. A huge event held in June (just had it!) set at Eastnor Castle with traditionally a festival type atmosphere. Competitive and can be a mud-fest if its wet.
Sleepless in the Saddle
In its 10th year and held in a similar vain as Mountain Mayhem but with a more relaxed approach. Held in Derbyshire during early August it is also a mud fest if its wet.
Well established, around 5/6yrs I think being held during July in Newnham Park for a number of years. Smaller scale but its rated among riders for having a much more interesting course than the previous two and as such attracts some of the best.
24hrs of Exposure
Held during May this is technically the smallest in scale but that’s due to its age and the fact it’s solo exclusive. With UK and Euro titles being decided at this event it’s the one that the top 24hr guys want to win and as such attracts the strongest field of the 4. The course is weather-proof (well, as much as you can in the UK), long and interesting.
To climb afoot the top step (or any step for that matter!) of any of these races and you’ve well and truly proved your brass but if they were put into some sort of winning hierarchy this is how I’d place them. Sleepless in the saddle and Twentyfour12 are joint 3rd with the strong history of Sleepless but the highly rated course of Twentyfour12 evening things out. Some way ahead in 2nd and nipping at the heals of 1st is Mountain Mayhem due to the enormity and history of the event on a whole. Which means in 1st is 24hrs of Exposure with its excellent course and championship status attracting, as mentioned the strongest field.
These 4 monuments are on my competitive radar for the next few years at least, I don’t know if I’ll do well in any of them (let alone win!) but the idea of taking part and everything that goes along with doing well in 24s is getting me excited just thinking about it.
If I want to do well in any of them then I suppose I better start the learning experience starting with the one held in early August. 🙂
I better go buy some diddy tires and a jet wash just in case…