The 15th edition of the Strathpuffer 24 will be remembered by many as a seriously tough mudder!
Recent editions of this legendary winter MTB endurance event have seen riders battling to stay upright in freezing conditions but this year presented a whole new kind of slip-sliding challenge as Storm Brendan transformed the 13km course into a gruelling mud-fest of mega proportions.
“Conditions were really tough this year” said Keith Forsyth, four-time Male Solo champion and this year’s winner of the Male Pairs category. “It was a mud bath to start with, then a mud bath-stroke-ice rink, and then back to a mud bath again before dawn.”
Any hopes of staying warm and dry soon evaporated after Lap 1, with riders switching their focus to staying upright instead. As the sun went down in the Highlands and temperatures plummeted well below 0°c, the 1,036 competitors dug in with real ‘Puffer-esque commitment, grinding out lap after lap in the freezing muddy conditions.
17 hours of darkness and many outfit changes later, dawn broke in the Highlands with a spectacular sunrise breathing new life into the riders who collectively rode an incredible 67,785km in 24 hours!
As the race finally came to a finish at 10 am this morning, the ‘Puffer welcomed two new champions onto its much-coveted podium – Kyle Beattie (Male Solo) and Zara Mair (Female Solo).
The 23 year old Cairngorm CC rider put in an unbelievably gritty performance, smashing out 25 laps to take his first ever ‘Puffer Men’s Solo title.
Having led from the first lap, Kyle was pushed all the way by fellow Male Solo riders Robbie Mitchell and 2019 champion Marty Ross. Despite almost collapsing on the finish line this hugely impressive young gun was utterly ‘stoked’ to take top spot on the podium.