All pics ©Tim Fisher (www.t-f-p.com) – see more here
Karmic balance is alive and well, at least in Somerset. After the somewhat hideous weather conditions at the 2007 CLIC24 24-hour charity event on the Mendip Hills, everyone had half an eye on the sky for 2008. Rolls of thunder and a short downpour on Friday evening had a few people worried (especially those who hadn’t put their tents up yet), but come Saturday and it was hot, dry and, yes, dusty.
All of which came as a great relief to all present. It certainly changed the whole atmosphere of the event. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve nothing against the camaraderie born of a shared struggle against adversity, but given the choice we’ll go for the huge grins born of a lightning-fast course (disclaimer: speed may vary with effort) and the chance to recline in the sunshine when not riding.
Given the healthy turnout, it seemed as if most people were reassured by the statistical unlikelihood of two sub-aqua years on the trot. We were particularly struck by the 90 soloists on the entry list (myself and Team BM regular Chris Williams among them) – that’s a lot of people wanting to ride around the clock on their own.
As courses go, though, the CLIC one has to be one of the better solo options, simply because it’s so much fun – bags of high-speed singletrack, some loose rocky bits, and relatively painless height gain on Tarmac or fire road. Grinding out a couple of km of straight, middle-ring gravel may not sound inspiring, but it saves you having to think which is a good thing at 1am.
Despite being low-key by the standards of 24-hour events, CLIC is well-served by essential amenities, including the on-site bar positioned distractingly close to the the changeover area… By the close of play at 12 noon on Sunday, over 24,000 miles had been ridden. More importantly, the total raised for children’s cancer and leukaemia charity CLIC Sargent is expected to hit £55,000.
Event organiser Neil Wilkins said, “This year’s CLIC24 should be remembered for a very long time. There are times when everything comes together: the weather, the course, the best set of mountain bikers you could ask for. It all gelled into the unique atmosphere that is CLIC24 and the fact we will have raised a huge amount of money for CLIC Sargent is the icing on the cake”.
Neil added, “I would like to thank each and every rider and all the people who volunteered their weekends to help with stewarding, catering and administration. When people pull together it’s amazing what can be achieved”.
CLIC Sargent’s Fundraising Manager, Chris Banting said, “£55,000 could help secure another site for a new Home from Home, close to one of the UK’s paediatric oncology units. It would mean that parents do not have to travel miles to take their child for treatment, but stay close by in our home. There are 22 paediatric oncology units around the UK and currently only seven CLIC Sargent Homes from Home. This illustrates the enormous difference CLIC24 makes to the children and families we serve”.
More at www.clic24.org.uk.