Here’s a race report with photos and video from Stu Thomson about last weekend’s slightly damp 10 Under the Ben race…
For the past 5 years, No Fuss Events flagship event, 10 Under the Ben has build a reputation as not only one of the finest Endurance races in the UK, but also as a weekend when year on year sunshine beats down the epic slopes of Aanoch Mor. Tales of dehydration and sunstroke have graced website forums for weeks following the event with even the hardiest endurance athlete’s struggling to cope with the heat.
Not in 2010.
On Saturday morning, nearly 1000 participants gathered at the Nevis Range resort just outside Fort William to partake in the sixth 10 Under the Ben event. It’s one of those rare, but beautiful occasions when elite level xc whippets mix their fitness and skills on the same course as the average joe who’s dragged his slightly rusty looking steed from the damp garden shed, with both ends of the spectrum both leaving feeling exhaustedly content.
For 2010 the No Fuss crew had unveiled a few major changes to the notorious witches trail loop. With 4 new natural technical sections added along with the all-new Le Mans style start giving the regular competitors a little more to think about for this year.
This year the start in its self was a spectacle, with competitors faced with a 100m sprint to their bikes before beginning their opening lap. Carnage ensued: Bike positioning, shoe choices and much psyche out talk of Usain Bolt sprinting ability all became irrelevant when lost in a sea of 400 bikes.
The sun shone for just about long enough for all the starters to get out of the arena and on to the course. The choice to go lightweight on clothing rebounded when little more that 15 minutes in and a huge downpour dumped down on the participants, not only soaking everyone, but turning those fresh new sections into a tough rooty technical test.
Once again, with 168 competitors, the solo class was the biggest field. With the damp conditions early on not helping to preserve the legs over the distance. Greig Brown was the man who took the victory home, being the only man to manage 11 laps. Ben Thompson and Scott Cornish wrapped up the podium, with 4th place Graeme Vietch also being the first vet home. In the female solo’s Leslie Ingram got into the lead early in the day and held the gap over second place Hannah Barnes for the duration.
If you’ve never been to 10 Under the Ben, its certainly worth the trip, the atmosphere is fantastic. A packed out venue, happy people on bikes backed up with great sounds and genuinely funny MC . Even the continuing showers and cold temperatures seemed irrelevant in the midst of the festival.
The pairs is always a vigorously fought battle and generally providing the fastest time and most laps of the day. Saturday was no exception, with the two teams of Xracer/SportsPerformance and Keswick Bikes/Merida both managing a lung bursting 12 laps. It was the Xracer/SportsPerformance team who came out on top though, managing to cross the line with a time of 10hr 26min to their rivals 10hr 33min. It was the I-cycles crew who took the Vet’s crown and fourth overall with Team Wots the Point bringing home the mixed pairs title and Cragie Girls taking the female pairs win with 10 laps completed.
One of the most memorable moments of the day came in the trios when Pete (Wee man) Scullion was left with a sprint finish in order to complete his last lap within the time limit, creating much excitement, heckling and hilarity from the crowd. Needless to say Pete skidded to a stop with a few seconds to spare, with his He-man like performance securing 10 laps and 15th place for his team ‘Masters of the Universe.’ It was Achilees Heel who took the win though with 11 laps from Leslie bike who took the Vet win and 2nd overall. Kiwi Scotch on the Rocks destroyed the female Trio’s to take the win by 2 laps.
In the Quads it was No Fuss Regular Bob Jack and his team ‘Squadra Porcini’ from Callander who adopted the tactic of 2 laps each to take the Mixed and overall Quad win, with Spokes RT in 2nd and Old Tyred and Cranky taking 3rd and the Vets title. Beathie Damsels were the one and only Quad female, completing 5 laps in 10hr 44min.
It was a refreshing new look for 10 Under the Ben this year. New sections of trail, new start and new weather. What an awesome day out though, Thanks to Benromach Whisky and No Fuss Events for making it all possible. It truly is one of the best days out and bring on next year!
For full results and more information on No Fuss Events visit www.NoFussEvents.co.uk