This weekend saw No Fuss Events hold Relentless 24, their final event of 2010. Relentless is one of the original 24 hour races in the UK and one of the toughest events on any to do list of Endurance Mountain bikers.
There can be countless positives to draw from the 2010 No Fuss season. With record entry levels, some of the best courses in the UK and the introduction of several new and original event formats, No Fuss have certainly set the benchmark for event organisers in the UK. Yet as much as No Fuss participants keep coming back for more Endurance themed pain/pleasure (delete as applicable), every No Fuss regular will tell you the common theme for 2010 was the rain........... Not for Relentless though.
The blistering sunshine seemed to catch everyone by surprise, As the tents and caravans packed out the car park on Saturday morning, murmuring's such as "this isn't right, I don't have anything with me that isn't waterproof!" and "did you bring any shorts with you?" were heard all around Fort William's Nevis Range.
With a midday start time (according to the No Fuss clock - which is generally 12.30 to the rest of the World) the atmosphere in the morning was a mellow one. It's one of the great things about No Fuss Events; the way that the social pre-event banter flows around the venue. It underlines the ‘Mountain Biking for everyone' vibe of the events. It's not really about the winning...
With the sun shining down and the stunning autumnal colours putting on their finest display (seriously check out the event video!) around the slopes of Aaonoch Mor, the mood around the venue was fantastic. The race got underway amid the usual chaos and hilarity brought on by the ‘Le Mans' style running start. The Nevis Range course was perfect for endurance racing; fast rolling with a great variation of gradient and singletrack. The afternoon seemed to fly by and darkness arrived before you even had time to say ‘Simon Cowell's on the TV.'
It is a long night at Relentless 24, which undoubtedly adds to the physical and mental challenge of the event. With sunset before 7pm on Saturday and sunrise just after 7am Sunday, darkness laps make up more than half the event and as any 24 hour rider will tell you, once you cross through the midnight barrier then next few hours are the toughest both on mind and body. Although the main campsite noise dampens down through the night as participants knuckle down to some tough night laps, there are still a scattering of parties (accompanied by an eclectic music selection!) and bonfires around the hill that keep both the participants and spectators awake out on course. And once the 7am sunrise comes, it is incredible to watch the change in the participants as the finish draws nearer. Happy faces and positivity seems to emerge, as the thought of completing this grueling event becomes a reality.
On to the racing, and in the Quad it was a complete domination by the ‘Nevis Cycles (Woo-Ha??)' team who took the lead from the outset and claimed the victory ahead of ‘The Glencroft Rabble' completing an astonishing - and record holding - 36 laps. Similarly in the Trio contest team Pcceuccpwc (whatever that means!) took the lead on lap one and held it for the entire race, completing 32 laps - 2 more than their closest rivals ‘Spokes St Andrews Prehistorical Terror Bird.'
The Pairs contest was a close-run thing between the double acts of ‘Buzz and Woody' (Jock Wilson and Neil Scott) and ‘Maverick and Goose' (Paul Innes and John McLagan). Both completed 29 laps of the Nevis Range course, with the former taking the honours in the end by just over 30 minutes. In 3rd place, and taking the mixed prize, was the Cookson Cycles pairing of Chris Lever and Amy Baron-Hall.
The award for toughest competitors of the weekend, however, goes to Alex Slaven and Marie Meldrum, who took the male and female solo victories. Alex completed with an unbelievable 28 laps and Marie finished with 17 laps of the Witches trail loop.
So with many tired faces - not least those of the No Fuss Events team - the 2010 season came to a close. It's been a beauty. With the staple regulars of the 10 series and Relentless, along with the new additions of the Tour de Ben Nevis and Highland Warrior Tri, it's been a fantastic year of socializing with friends, riding bikes and having tired legs. Thanks to everyone who helped to make it such an amazing year!
No Fuss have just announced their dates and events for next year on their website: www.nofussevents.co.uk There are some exciting new events and venues in there. If you haven't checked out a No Fuss Event please do in 2011. They are great events for all different types of rider. It's all about good fun with very little, or even no fuss at all.............. (ahem).
More details on No Fuss' Events and the 2011 MacAvalanche can be found here>>>