46 year old Mark Amon has started training for the longest continuous race in the British cycle racing calendar, the 24 Hour National Time Trial Championship.
This annual event is returning south of London for the first time in 12 years and will take place on East and West Sussex roads on the weekend of 25/26 June.
Mark, who is no stranger to long distance events, he has ridden two 12 Hour races and several 100 mile events, is hoping to do over 400 miles in ‘the big one’.
Mark, who rides for Rye & District Wheelers, is unlikely to win the event and become the individual National Champion but has an outside chance of becoming a National Team Champion if he, and two of the other Rye riders perform well enough on the day.
His efforts in the past two years have shown improvements out of all proportion. He recorded 197 miles in the 2009 Kent Cycling Association 12 Hour and took 29th. place. In 2010 he improved by 22 miles to 219 miles and moved up to 20th. place in a quality field that saw representatives of clubs from all over the country competing.
The National 24 Hour Race will contain even more riders from every corner of Britain, striving to win the toughest National Championship in bike racing.
Competitors will spend every second they can on their cycles, eating and drinking in the saddle throughout the race. There will be many helpers and expert support for them as they build up the miles.
Starting at 12 Noon and riding through the afternoon into the evening and on throughout the hours of darkness into a new day the miles slowly amass. The finish will be on a 10 mile circuit where, as they finish, riders’ distances are measured accurately to the metre. The best riders average more than 20 mph. and it is conceivable that the winner will exceed 500 miles.
How far can Mark be expecting to ride? Well, if he keeps up the training it may be possible for him to exceed 430 miles.
Mark Amon of Cheriton Mark Amon looks upon the race as an adventure and an examination of his own capabilities. It takes grit and determination to complete a “24”. Not only will he be competing against up to 100 other competitors he will have to take on the elements, whatever they may be ‘on the day’ wind, rain or heat, all present problems and riding through the darkness. even though the event is held on one of the longest days, is another skill that will need some pre-race practice.
The biggest battle will be with himself. Negative thoughts lead many riders to quit but as the Lewes Wanderers found to their cost in 1999, three finishers are required to win the Team Championship. If just one of their non-finishers had managed to get round with a meagre 228 miles they would have been National Team Champions!
Good luck Mark – Cheriton is behind you.
From the February 2011
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