THE St Andrews University Cycling Club has dominated one of the hardest events on the university sporting calendar – the Relentless 24-hour mountain bike race held on the second weekend of October.
The club entered 4 categories and came away with 4 trophies from the Men’s Trio, Women’s Trio, Mixed Trio and Women’s Solo groups. The event was held on a demanding course around the base of Ben Nevis near Fort William. Teams rode through the night with high power lighting systems.
The lap contained sections from the World Cup cross country course as well as vicious climbs and freshly built technical descents. Excellent weather made for dry trails and fast average lap times with the Men’s team averaging 11.5 miles an hour over the 24-hour period.
In the Men’s Trio event the Spokes St Andrews Prehistoric Terrorbird team of Luke Bradley, Huw Oliver and Enrique Lahmann charged to 2nd place with a total of 30 laps of the nine-mile course.
After getting off to a fast start thanks to Oliver, the team stayed in 2nd for the whole of the race. Despite some difficulties, including light failures and punctures on the technical course during the night, the team beat their closest rival by three laps despite being virtually neck and neck at the halfway point. The team set a blisteringly fast lap of of 41 minutes, set by both Oliver and Lahmann.
The Club also witness victories in both the Women’s Trio and Mixed Trio races. The Women’s Trio of Jo Forrest, Verena Walsh and Ailsa Whitelaw rode 16 laps of the demanding loop, riding consistently through the night. Disaster struck towards the end of the race as Forrest’s gearing was ripped from the bike, leaving Walsh to complete two consecutive laps after 22 hours of riding. Crossing the line just before the end of the 24-hour period, Team V-A-J finished first in their group.
The second first place came for the joint St Andrews/Dundee team The Crass, The Class and The Lass, consisting of Graham Triggs, Sam Holdsworth and Zoe Beesley.
The team not only won the Mixed category but placed 5th overall in the Trios with 24 laps. The team rode an almost flawless ride with no mechanical failures or tactical errors so they held their position throughout the race.
The most impressive ride for the Club was in the Women’s Solo category. Annie Lloyd-Evans rode 15 laps, a total of 135 miles, without stopping for sleep, riding so hard that she lost her eyesight after finishing.
Riding almost non-stop during the night, Lloyd-Evans was leading at 3am but ultimately finished second in her group. This impressive ride came despite her only taking up cycling six months ago.
In the overall solo category Lloyd-Evans placed 14th out of 43 competitors, beating two thirds of the men’s field.
This total domination completes an excellent year for the Cycling Club, who have had similar excellent results in ten-hour events and downhill races.
The team is now gearing up for the Strathpuffer 24-hour event in January.
The teams would like to thank Spokes Cycles, Niterider Lighting Systems and Woof Thermal Management Technology for their generous support.