Moun­tain bik­ers flock back to 12th an­nual 10 Un­der the Ben chal­lenge

The Oban Times - - Sport -

LAST week­end was the 12th time No Fuss Events de­liv­ered the 10 Un­der the Ben moun­tain bike race, and with hun­dreds tak­ing part over the week­end the event is as pop­u­lar to­day as it was in year one.

Frazer Cou­p­land, part­ner at No Fuss Events, said: ‘It is one of the big days in our cal­en­dar. Over the 12 years around 10,000 rid­ers have taken part in 10 Un­der the Ben, fur­ther­ing the ar­eas rep­u­ta­tion as one of the best moun­tain bike des­ti­na­tions in Scot­land.’

The race for­mat hasn’t changed since day one with com­peti­tors aim­ing to com­plete as many laps of the ap­prox­i­mate 10-mile route in 10 hours as pos­si­ble. Par­tic­i­pants can ride as solo, pairs, trios or quads.

This year 148 solo rid­ers, 101 pairs, 52 trios and 24 quads took part.

Spook Munro from No Fuss Events said: ‘The big­gest change we have wit­nessed over the years is the num­ber of rid­ers choos­ing to ride in the solo or pair cat­e­gory, mov­ing away from the big­ger teams. This makes the course busier. That said, there is a good trail net­work that can cope with­out too much of a prob­lem.’

Grieg Brown, who knows this race well and is a mul­ti­ple event win­ner, took the solo male cat­e­gory with an im­pres­sive 11 laps.

Fiona Innes, RAF CC, took the solo ladies ti­tle with eight laps and it was the Out­door Cap­i­tal of the UK’s home grown team The Glen­croft Rab­ble which set the over­all big­gest lap tally for the day, bang­ing in 12 sub- one hour laps.

The re­cent spell of dry weather gave the or­gan­is­ers the chance to vary the route choices a lit­tle from pre­vi­ous years.

On­go­ing trail im­prove­ment and build­ing work at Ne­vis Range was ap­pre­ci­ated by all the rid­ers, with many com­ment­ing: ‘Best year ever’, ‘ Great course’, with some par­tic­i­pants even re­port­ing they en­joyed the new climbs.

The good weather held for the best part of the day and the breeze kept the in­fa­mous midge pop­u­la­tion at bay.

It was in the fi­nal hour that the rid­ers were tested with a bib­li­cal down­pour. But that didn’t dampen any spir­its and all the rid­ers were happy to re­ceive the laps times and re­tire to com­pare times, ex­change sto­ries and re­lax in the Pine­martin restau­rant.

10 Un­der the Ben def­i­nitely brings out the best in peo­ple and it is the race with a big rep­u­ta­tion when it comes to ca­ma­raderie.

One racer said: ‘I couldn’t be­lieve how many of my fel­low rac­ers stopped to of­fer me as­sis­tance when I punc­tured on lap three. It’s been an amaz­ing day and it’s the best moun­tain bike en­durance race in the UK.’

The next big moun­tain bike race is the Tour de Ben Ne­vis, which takes moun­tain bik­ing back to the moun­tains.

This was once de­scribed as ‘The think­ing man’s (or woman’s) moun­tain bike race where all round fit­ness, strength, power, skill, de­ter­mi­na­tion is all bound to­gether with a lit­tle bit of strat­egy and tac­tics’.

Pho­to­graphs by No Fuss Events and sportograf.com

This year’s 10 Un­der the Ben field get set for the off.

Right: Grieg Brown, cen­tre, cel­e­brates his suc­cess in the solo male cat­e­gory in this year’s 10 Un­der the Ben.

Two of the hun­dreds of com­peti­tors who took part in this year’s 10 Un­der the Ben event.

Ac­tion from the 12th 10 Un­der the Ben race.

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