Interview: Maddie Horton on winning the European and UK 12 Hour Solo Championship


At the weekend just gone Maddie Horton rode into the record books, winning the 12-hour open women’s category at the third 24 Hours of Exposure, and with it the European and UK 12 Hour Solo Championship.

While resting up from here fantastic ride, we had a chat with Maddie to find out just how she got on.

Maddie, you’ve just won the 24 Hours of Exposure 12-hour event. Congratulations. How does it feel?

Pretty awesome really. It’s nice to set yourself a long-term goal and be able to sit back a week after the event feeling smug about having achieved it.

This was your first attempt at a 12-hour solo race. How was it stepping up from shorter races to 12-hours?

The toughest part was the logistics. After six months of specific training, the morning of the event was quite stressful; trying to make sure I had everything I might need ready for me in the pits – and not really knowing what I might need! Once you’re on the bike though, you’re just riding your bike, and I love riding my bike. I tried to think of it as a treat – wow; I get to ride my bike for 12-hours today.

What were the biggest challenges you faced throughout the race?

Cramming down a mountain of energy products. I knew I’d be in trouble with my pit crew if I finished a lap without having scoffed what they had given me. I had to fight the urge not to barf a couple of times, but there was always something else to take my mind of it, like the next fun descent, or the string of riders ahead to try to catch.

What was your tactic for the race, with regards to pacing and fuelling?

I had a very clear plan. Go out hard for the first two laps, then settle down to a steady pace for the rest. I used my heart rate monitor to help me with this (for the first time ever in a race), and I stuck exactly to my heart rate targets. My fuel strategy was also rigid – I had a bottle of energy drink, a gel and a Torq bar every lap. No choice, no dithering, and never unclipping more than one foot in the pits.

Did you make any changes to your bike setup?

Nope, my bike was perfect straight out of the box. I was on my Specialized Fate Expert 29 – the perfect tool for the job, and had a Specialized Fate Comp 29 in the pits as a spare, but my bike didn’t skip a beat, so the spare stayed where it was.

You haveclearly got the endurance to do well at this distance. Is a 24-hour solo the next goal? Or more 12-hour races?

I’ll definitely be doing more 12-hour races. Jay and I also plan to do pairs 24 at Bontrager Twentyfour12 this year. I’ve always said ‘no way’ to a 24-hour solo. But then I’d always said ‘no way’ to a 12 solo too.

- Maddie rode 10 laps in 11hrs 30mins 8secs, finishing one lap clear of second placed Iwona Szmyd and two laps ahead of Jane Chadwick in third. See all the results here.

Thanks to Joolze Dymond for the photos, see more of her photographs at www.joolzedymond.com

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