The North Race - 9th May 2024

The North Race - 9th May 2024
When this challenge was announced it instantly caught my imagination. I was after a bit of a challenge as a shakedown ride before I go to Spain at the end of May to race from Madrid to Barcelona. A training ride with purpose was exactly what I needed. 
Part of the pleasure of such a challenge is deciding on a route, so after a few hours on RWGPS I had that set. Next, going through the motions preparing like it was a race/event will help get me focused ready for Spain. Training the body is one thing, but the mind needs to be prepared too. As does race day admin, like knowing where to get resupply, where the obstacles on the route are and what kit will be required. Again, all things that I have not practised since events in 2023, that need to be in the front of my mind for my first race in 2024.
Routing...from a distance north, measured by latitude perspective, Lossiemouth on the North Aberdeenshire coast is as far as you can go on that easterly option. I thought I could get that far but didnt want to be limited if the day went well. Routing up to Inverness meant that I had a few more miles (six and a half to be precise) to cover just to match the current leader's distance north. After that it was just a case of what time remained and how much further could I go. I took the flatter starting option, heading up to Newcastle. The hills started around Durham. On a spectacular day weatherwise, I very much enjoyed the route through Northumberland and the Borders to Edinburgh. The 40ish miles from there to Perth were on "new to me" roads, flatter and back to faster going. I know the A9 well having previously lived in Aviemore. Cycling it through the night was the best option for this challenge. I don't think it would be wise in the daytime. 

I covered 378.6 miles in the 24hrs. One and a half hours total stopped time was a bit too much to be honest but MacDonald's in Perth was calling before I went into the night. The rest was other resupply/peeing/putting on night time layers, and getting through urban areas. 
Riding stopped at Latitude 57.698N, near Alness, Ross & Cromarty. 
Shore road, Lossiemouth is at Latitude 57.724N so there is scope for someone to try and beat my distance on that eastern routing option...there is two more miles north in it...but if you go there, and have 30 minutes to spare you could have gone further heading north of Inverness. 

This isn't just about beating the last record...and kudos for Restrap for bigging up the first attempt which fell short of the benchmark. It's a great challenge to ride in one direction as far as possible, and a time limit of 24 hours means you need to deal with changes in light, temperature, mood and fatigue. The North Race formalises the start and the basic rules, so no matter how far you think you might be able to go, plan a route that goes further and have a go... It doesn't matter if you don't get as far as you think but you won't outperform your expectations unless you get yourself on the start line. 
Good luck.