What: A gnarly 12.5 km course through 17 hours of darkness, Baltic temperatures and horrendous weather. With the atmosphere of a festival and the camaraderie of a beer-hall. Strathpuffer is a riot.
Where: Strathpeffer, Scottish Highlands. Scotland.
Entries open: 4th July
What they say:
When it comes to mountain bike challenges, they don’t come much tougher or more rewarding than the Strathpuffer – the legendary 24 hour mountain bike endurance event held every year in the Highlands of Scotland in the middle of winter.
What I say:
‘Puffer is more than just the original winter 24-hour mountain bike race. Marshalls, crews and riders alike, everybody chips in to make this a race to remember. I have solo-soloed three times, and the atmosphere and energy of everybody around you keeps you going through the night. They change the final section every year to keep you guessing but never fail to put a smile on your face.
This race has it all: a great course, brutal conditions, an amazing atmosphere and professional staff. It is my favourite race of the calendar. Get ready for a race with more ‘Type 2 fun’ of any other!
Tips for Strathpuffer:
- This is a real battle against the elements. They have got rid of the stream-crossing, but heavy rain and snow keeps a fair bit of standing water – keep your feet warm and dry!
- The first 3km is up a fire trail. Make sure you can take on sustained climbs as much as you can the short sharp banks – this race has them both!
- Conditions vary over the course from hardpack firetrail to boggy mud. Go for a relatively fast rolling tyre but with plenty of tread.
- Ice tyres aren’t necessarily optimal – nobody has ever won with them on.
- Your bike may freeze solid – even when riding. Shift and brake even if you may not have to to prevent everything seizing. Use a chain oil that can take these temperatures.
- Get there early to get a good spot on the route.