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).
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