With the British Isles set receive more than its fair share of rainfall over the next couple of days, will the 2011 edition of Sleepless in the Saddle be a case of splish splosh squelch, or will it dry out in time? One things for sure, whatever the conditions, SITS will continue to be a 24-hour race popular with riders.
Catton Park once again hosts the last 24-hour race of the UK mountain bike season, and the traditionally laid-back event with a down to earth atmosphere always attracts a better ratio of riders to wannabe pro racers. It should be a great weekend.
Bikemagic forum creates mixed team
Bikemagic will be there. Organised completely through the Bikemagic forum, a team of readers, Sandybean, Dalesman, Adam Tree Basher, Stan and OldNick, will combine at Sleepless in the Saddle and do battle in the mixed team category.
The team came together, when during a through a Bikemagic forum organised social ride, they decided that want to do something fun in August. Stan takes up the story: All of us in the team have ridden together either socially at Trail Centres or Bikemagic forum organised rides and events. We were all looking for something fun to do in August so SITS was the perfect opportunity to get involved in some biking but also have some fun with barbecues and beer!”
It didn’t take long to get the ball rolling, and a team quickly formed, says Stan: “A quick mention on the BikeMagic Ride forum and we had five interested members – Sandybean, Dalesman, Adam Tree Basher, Stan and OldNick – just the ticket for the mixed team.”
Team dynamics are important in any 24-hour team, you have to be able to get on with everyone even when you’re extremely tired and slightly zoned out at 3am. Fortunately the team have ridden in one event or another together.
“Various BMr’s use races and events as a reason to meet and ride together,” Stan tells us. “The most recent event involving SITS team members was the Purple Mountain & Planet X sponsered On One Hundred at Dalby, where OldNick, Sandybean and myself met and rode the 100k main event. As usual on the forum we swapped advice and strategy (with some non attending members also) and we all successfully completed our first 100k race!”
For Dalesman a trip to the French Alps brought his training for the event to a peak. “Started serious training two weeks ago with a few hills in the Alps whilst waiting for the Tour to come through,” he says, “put in a few miles on the road at the weekend and another 45 miles today.”
As for preparation for Sleepless this weekend, Stan reminds us that they’re doing it for fun, “We’ve all entered in the spirit of fun and the most important thing is that we all have an enjoyable weekend.” But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to do their best though. “However, we are a competitive bunch and there is already speak of multiple laps, a respectable lap total being placed on the Team leaderboard and of course the inaugural fastest lap.
“The basic strategy is to give the fitter riders more laps at the beginning the event and resting at night, leaving equal amounts of sleep overnight for everybody. Hopefully this will enable the fitter team members to really blast some laps in the morning. Some of us have been racing throughout the year so are on planned training and food strategies for the event also.
“We are all of varying ages and abilities so I’m sure once the novelty wears off and the darkness falls, reality will kick in and survival will prevail through the night!”
For Dalesman preparation has started today: “Thursday will be a light spin on the road bike with Ilkley CC again a few Pints and Pasta will be obligatory. Friday real stoke up day Oats cereals for breakfast, light lunch of sushi and couscous dinner will be a BBQ at Catton Park with salad and pasta side dishes.”
With just a few days to go, we asked Stan what he’s most looking forward to about the weekend. “Mostly we’re looking forward to meeting up with the team members and enjoying the social element as much as the biking. One of the great things about a website like Bikemagic is that it can bring people together from all over the country. We’ve organised a (relatively?) alcohol free BBQ for Friday night, and an “end of season blowout” on Sunday night to end the event – that one could be a bit messy as alcohol is definitely NOT excluded!”
Support is invaluable to survive a 24-hour race, as anyone who has ever tried to do one without any support, and here more Bikemagic regulars have stepped up to help out.
“Our voluntary “pit bitches” consist of Jen J from here on the forum,” says Stan, with Mrs Dalesman and Ms Dalesman Jnr. All have voluntarily given up their time to stay up late Saturday night cooking pasta, and supplying cake and stove-top espresso to our riders. What’s more, Mrs Dalesman has organised us a storm of a menu through the weekend starting with the BBQ Friday, bacon sarnies and porridge for the mornings and a giant Beef Stew to finish off for Sunday afternoon lunch! A big thank you in advance to our pit bitches.”
The course updated for 2011
After last year’s scorcher of an event, the Catton Park course is going to be tweaked to maximise the fun from the tight and twisting woodland singletrack, with a new course designer and the freshly resurfaced trails on hand ready to keep SITS regulars interested while still being fun for riders of all abilities.