Highland Trail 550 | 2019 ‘Epic Wet Edition’ – What Did It Take To Get Round?

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This year’s Highland Trail 550 was, by any stretch of the definition, epic. Heavy rain in the first couple of days turned rivers and streams into raging torrents and chest height flows. Kit was soaked. Not just the stuff riders were wearing, but all their spares too. Experienced riders – including the race organiser himself – quit, or ‘scratched’, from the race at such a rate that at one point we were wondering if anyone would finish. In the end, plenty did – though some big name experienced contenders didn’t.

Our beer and coffee man, Stu Taylor, was there trying to beat his time from last year (when heatstroke was a real risk). Unfortunately he was one of those that was forced to bail, and chatting to him afterwards we thought it might be interesting to look at some of the reasons why folks did or didn’t make it. What combination of kit, motivation and experience was needed to get round, or not? What compels someone to ride for four days before quitting? Stu got in touch with a bunch of friends made along the way, and here are his and their takes on what went wrong (or not).

Stu Taylor HT550
We’re glad Stu stayed in a hotel with proper big towels.

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Hannah Dobson

Hannah came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. Having worked in policy and project management roles at the Scottish Parliament and in local government, Hannah had organisational skills that SIngletrack needed. She also likes bikes, and likes to write.

Hannah likes all bikes, but especially unusual ones. If it’s a bit odd, or a bit niche, or made of metal, she’s probably going to get excited. If it gets her down some steep stuff, all the better. She’ll give most things a go once, she tries not to say no to anything on a bike, unless she really thinks it’s going to hurt. She’s pretty good with steri-strips.

More than bikes, Hannah likes what bikes do. She thinks that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments.

Hannah tries to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

Comments (3)

    My word folks, a tough one.

    They’re all bonkers.

    In a good way. 🙂

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