Strathpuffer mud pushes entrants to their limits

Katherine Tindall was raising for Skye twins Ollie and Jonny Kari-Koskinen, who suffer from a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

For charity and for the challenge, a number of west Highland and islanders pushed their endurance levels to the limit at last weekend’s Strathpuffer 24-hour mountain bike event.

The 15th edition of the annual race near Contin will be remembered as one of the toughest yet after Storm Brendan transformed the 13-kilometre course into a gruelling mud-fest.

The challenge for the 1,036 riders taking part – competing as solo entrants, pairs or in teams of four – was to complete as many laps of the off-road course as they could in a 24-hour period, starting at 10 am on Saturday.

Riding in aid of Skye twins Ollie and Johnny Kari-Koskinen were Alexander and Katherine Tindall from Skye and their friends Murdo Matheson and Keith and Anita Pearce from Strathcarron.

Murdo managed an impressive 17 laps overall to claim 19th place in the individual category, Alexander was 26th solo rider after managing to make 15 laps inside 24 hours and Katherine made it round for five circuits.

Competing as a pair, the Wedded Wagons (Anita and Keith Pearce) successfully negotiated the treacherous circuit 11 times.

Inverness firefighter and Kinlochshiel shinty player Conor Cormack made nine laps as he took on the challenge to help raise funds for the Anthony Nolan cancer charity, for which he donated stem cells in 2018.

Some of Conor’s teammates were also taking part to fundraise for the Kinlochshiel club.

‘The three-and-a-half MacRaes’ quartet of Colin MacDiarmid, Duncan MacRae, Keith MacRae, and Graeme MacRae got round 22 times in all –coming in 37th out of 135 teams. Their colleagues from the ‘Dornie plus one’
team (Paul MacRae, Donald Nixon, John MacRae, and Chris Nixon) managed 19 circuits for a creditable 62nd-place finish.

Malcolm Mathieson compete for ‘The Skye is failing’ team.

There were also two quad teams of cyclists from Skye. ‘The Skye’s the limit’ (Simon Hammond, Ray Latham, Richard Moss, Bruce Elliot) completed 12 laps, while ‘The Skye is falling’ (Sarah Attwood, Nicola Edmundson,
Malcolm Mathieson and Mark Crowe) made it round 10 times.

Kyle Beattie, of the Cairngorm CC, made it round 25 times to claim the men’s individual title, while Edinburgh’s Zara Mair was the top female having completed 18 laps.

The top male pair (Keith Forsyth and Mike Hancock) made it round 27 times, and the top female (Anne Murray and Erin Wood) and mixed pairs teams (Jason Miles and Sofia Christensen) each won with a 21-lap haul.

Orange Fox Bikes made around 30 times to win the quad title, with The Powerpuffers completing 22 laps to win the women’s prize.

The Clydesdale Colts made it round 28 times to win the mixed quad event, while Invergordon pipped Dingwall to win the schools’ category.