The UK’s first mountain bike ultra marathon, the Montane Kielder 100, took place this weekend on the English-Scottish border.
As if the 100-mile course wasn’t already enough of a challenge, the endurance race was preceded by five days of torrential rain.
This failed to deter the 230 riders who set off from Kielder Castle at 6.30am on Saturday, although it did mean the predicted wining times were a little awry.
Competitors rode 100 miles around northern Europe’s largest man-made forest, with the fastest man, Neil Campton, completing the course in just over eight-and-a-half hours.
He was followed closely by Simon Ernest, just a few minutes adrift, while Mike Blewitt, who had flown in from Australia to compete, came third after a couple of mechanical misadventures.
In the women’s open category, Mel Alexander beat Jenn Hopkins into second, with Amy Barron-Hall collecting third place.
Amy was also the first female single-speeder home, and as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, she chose to ride a fully rigid bike. It was no wonder she struggled to open her champagne on the winner’s rostrum.
The event was such a success that next year’s edition is already being planned. The date has yet to be fixed.