I attended an event recently where I had the please of listening to a guy called Professor Greg Whyte, an Olympian, ‘physical activity guru’ and world-renowned sports scientist who also dedicates a large amount of his time helping celebrities achieve the impossible for Comic and Sport Relief.
While attending the evening event and chatting over dinner about my mountain biking I received the usual comments of " you paid how much for your last bike? it has not even got an engine!" and this got me thinking about the fortunate guys and girls who do ride bikes that do have engines..........
Riding mountain bikes is my passion, and as described in previous posts it is what motivates me to stay fit, I can ride harder, longer and faster but I do not compete, I guide, coach and ride MTB Marathons for pleasure...... add the "want" & "need" to win and it becomes a completely different ball game.
Another passion is bikes (with engines) specifically sports bikes, I do not ride them because to be fair, crashing at 40mph while riding back down a mountain is my limit but I am astounded by the physical and mental fitness required to ride sports bikes at the very highest level.
Casey Stoner, a retired Moto GP rider and newly appointed Ducati test rider recently described his first outing on the 250 horse powered Ducati GP15 feeling like he was being ripped off the back of the bike every time he opened the throttle. Loris Baz crashed his Moto GP bike at 180 mph in a recent test session and the data released from Alpinestars who manufacture his Leathers recorded a 29.9g initial impact which is well above the 25g level to cause death.
The fitness level required to compete on these machines (even with engines) is remarkable and I have not even mentioned the road racing guys like Ian Hutchinson and Guy Martin who race in the TT and Northwest 200 type road races and the World and British Superbike guys and girls like Alex Lowes and Jenny Tinmouth.
One particular character stood out to me recently and this was a guy called Jurgen van den Goorbergh who competed in the Dakar 2016 Rally and he won his class, now normally a class win is a very honourable a great achievement but its not the big one!
On this occasion I personally class it as the Big One, it was the Malle-Moto Class which is the self supported bike race, pack you own tent and bags, feed yourself, repair and maintain the bike and yourself! then race it over 5000 miles of off road terrain through Argentina and Bolivia, his wining was just under 57 HOURS!................