Thursday, November 6, 2014

Can I ride at Strathpuffer?

"Daddy, why can't kids do 24 hour races?"

I was first asked that three years ago. My answer was something along the lines of "Organisers say you have to be over 18, I'm guessing because they can only get insurance for adults".

Tom had heard that a team of riders who were all under 15 have won a 24 hour race up in Scotland called the Strathpuffer. He says "I'd like to ride that next year" to which I reply "You can't, you're too young."

I rode Strathpuffer back in 2008. Wind, snow, ice, wet, and lots of dark. It is billed as the one of the 10 toughest mountain bike races in the world. It was certainly the toughest I'd ridden. After 12 hours I retired.

I did my best to explain the drawbacks of a race that takes place in the north of Scotland in winter hoping that Minipips would not bring up the subject again, or at least not for another few years.

June 2014 "I really want to ride at Strathpuffer, could you ask them if I can?"

I sent an email which didn't get a reply. A month or so later, he's been googling, and asks me if I will ring the number on their facebook page. He wasn't taking no for an answer.

I rang. There was a chance. We would have to phone back though.

A month later I phoned again. Another encouraging conversation. Please send an email with detail of what cycling he's done before.

I knock up my sons first CV and fire it off. I was now beginning to hope as much as Minipips that he'd get the go ahead to apply for a place.

A couple of weeks before the entries open I phone again. I have mispelled the email address. I quickly resend the email.

A final phonecall. Minipips can ride if we get a place, and I must ride with him at all times. Minipips is excited, I'm excited, but there is still the small matter of getting one of the 70 solo entries which sell out in a couple of minutes.

The entries open at 10:00. At 10:03 I receive a confirmation email. Minipips has a solo entry for Strathpuffer.

He's hoping it will snow.