North Notts team win European 24-hour mountain bike race

by | 4 July 2018 | Gainsborough, Retford, Sherwood, Sports Club, Worksop

Riders of local mountain bike team, Jakrabbit Racing, took part in the WEMBO European 24-hour Mountain Bike Race in Slovakia, winning podium placings of first and second place, on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd June. They hoped that their hours of training and preparation would stand them in good stead, when competing alongside some of the best endurance racers in Europe.

Jakrabbit Racing had two teams in the mix — the all-female pairs, mother and daughter team, Lorna Rider and Danielle Wood and team colleagues, Alan Duncan and Steve Wood, who were competing as a pair for the first time. Steve and Alan just missed out on first, to achieve second place on the podium in the Men’s 24-hour pairs, while Lorna and Danielle (Danielle also being the wife of Steve Wood) smashed it, to romp home with an extremely comfortable win in the Women’s 24-hour pairs, with laps to spare.

With mainly just national podium placings achieved previously, this astounding achievement has been the culmination of months of hard work and dedicated training and has served to put both Jakrabbit Racing and North Notts well and truly on the international endurance bike racing map.

The race, as the title suggests, is set over 24-hours. The pairs take turns in a relay type race, with one rider out in the field at any one given time. The winning team is the one who completes the most laps in the 24-hour period. As the term suggests, this race is 24 hours straight, and the only rest period a rider has, is when their partner is out on the course. It may sound easy, but it’s both physically and mentally challenging for the riders, to continue to push their bodies over that time frame, with no sleep or real rest over the course of the day.

The race was underway at 10.00am on Saturday 2nd June and finished at 10.00am the following morning. The course featured two big climbs, cumulating in 280m of climbing per lap, with each lap just under six miles in length. The weather on the day was humid, but storms had set in before the race started. The weather became so bad, that the race was suspended for two hours, due to lightening and torrential rain, with the following storm water washing away a small local bridge. It was followed by searing 30-degree heat, and in true dramatic style, the only type of weather missing was snow!

Danielle and Lorna came away with the title of European 24-hour Pairs Champions, having seen off the competition during the torrential conditions early on in the race. They set the pace early on, giving themselves a commanding lead and for the rest of the race, they maintained a comfortable lead for the remaining hours. In total, 24 laps were completed, covering 223 kilometres and 6,720m of climbing.

The men’s was a more close-run race, with Steve and Alan leading the way for the first part and then only overtaken by the Lithuanian World Champions later on. During the latter stages, they kept up the gruelling pace, with teams behind determined to try to take second place from them. Despite the fact that at some stages, there was just minutes between the second, third and fourth positioned teams, they rode hard to take second place. In total, 42 laps were completed covering 392 kilometres and 11,760m of climbing.

Jakrabbit Racing has been established for over four years and was founded by local publisher, Julian Broadhead, with the team also riding Jakrabbit Bikes. In addition to the riders’ efforts, a successful team needs support and back up. The fantastic support team must be acknowledged. The pit crew on this occasion were Alan’s parents, Rebecca Pratt (Alan’s partner), Team Coach and Mechanic Chris Rider (also Danielle’s dad and Lorna’s wife), who coaxed, supported and fed the riders, whilst maintaining the bikes during the 24 hours.

The team are predominantly self-funded, meaning kit, bikes and travelling costs are all paid for from their own pocket. The love of the sport and their hobby is what drives the riders to keep pushing themselves to the limits they go through. Sponsors are also instrumental in their assistance. Thanks go to Bike Pedlars of Retford, for supplying the team with helmets and tyres and Veloskin who supply the soothing creams for sore parts. Thank you to Midland Bike Fit, who ensured that the bikes were set up correctly for the fit of each rider and Velo Champion, for the gloves, glasses and socks. Torq have also supported the team for a number of years now and their nutrition products have helped immensely during training and races. And of course, thanks to Jakrabbit Bikes for the bike frames and components and all the rest of the support over the last four years.

Later in the year, the 24-hour World Endurance race, is set in Fort William, Scotland, where a number of the riders will be competing solo in October. If you’re into biking and taking part in the race, then please come and see them!

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