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Jul. 29, 2011
Bontrager Twentyfour12: A Unique Bike Race in Plymouth, England
Prior to this event I had never worked at a mountain bike event, however, I can safely say I hope to get to work at plenty more! The Bontrager Twentyfour12 is a unique event; it’s an endurance mountain bike race around a course of approximately 10 miles, entirely off road.

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As the name suggests there are multiple races taking place at the same time on the same course; a 24hour race, a 12-hour one starting at midday and another 12-hour one at midnight – the Torchbearer12. It was a long drive for Craig and myself down to the race HQ in Plymouth, and with a lot of inconsistent weather throughout the drive it was making us both nervous knowing that we were having to camp for two nights.

Upon arrival it was raining heavily, however, still humid and warm. From the first sights of the venue, it was like I was at a music festival with the campsite/village split. After a while the rain stopped and the sun came out, this was our chance to set up the Clif Bar booth and our tent. The whole event had a different vibe to it than other events I’ve work or raced at before. There was a really relaxed and friendly feel to the whole race and is something I’m not used to, being a triathlete.

Twentyfour12 2

Throughout the first afternoon there was a gradual flow of people arriving at the venue, this lead into the evening – registration at this event is open later than most other events! As usual, there was a vast amount of positive feedback regarding the products from first-time users, regular users, some elites and the spectators!

It was very good to have Cycle Shack based next to us selling Clif Bar products, as we experienced a lot of interest from athletes wanting to purchase products. Bontrager had set up a very cool bar/chill-out area which had a TV (for the Tour de France which deemed very popular!) and a photo booth within. As the evening continued it got busier within the race village, and a band were welcomed on stage to play – this was very entertaining! After the band started winding down and finishing, most of the people did the same - including us.

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Saturday was race day, so for us this started at around 7am, setting up products and talking to spectators! Athletes’ start time was 12pm, it as a hot day with plenty of sunshine, this would play a major factor for the race results and athletes competing! There was a real mix of athletes around and an even larger mix of emotions – nervous, excited, anxious, cheerful and apprehensive.

After sampling for the morning, the race got under way with plenty of support and encouragement from the spectators. As the day went on there was a continuous flow of athletes everywhere - the majority of the participants were competing as part of a team.

Twentyfour12 1

After the athletes had done their leg of the race, they were straight over to our booth where they would try to top-up their energy levels and try and recover before their next leg which is vital for a 24/12 hour event, especially on an extremely tough and technical course! There seemed to be a system for the athletes once they had finished their leg – go get some Clif Bar products, go get a massage, go back to their campsite and try to recover and then get some more Clif Bar products on their way back to the race pen.

There was a constant buzz around the race village with the music playing, families and friends of the athletes cheering the athletes on and excitement of the course running straight through village.

As the hours went on so did the causalities – to both people and bikes, the St John’s Ambulance were certainly kept busy and the same could be said for the bike mechanics. As night drew in, the athletes that were racing were spending less time in the race village and more time in their campsite trying to sleep and recover which was wise.

But as the village started dying down, it began to get lively again due to the Torchbearer 12 starting at midnight and the finish for the 12-hour racers. After hanging around to watch the start and cheer the athletes on it was bed-time for us. We left the bowls and plates fully stocked so that athletes could come and get their Clif Bar needs met even if we weren’t there.

Another early wake-up of 6am, then the immediate call for chopping up bars as quickly as possible. At this point in race, not only athletes, but the spectators, volunteers and workers were all shattered – I’m guessing it was tiredness and not the fact that it was cloudy and miserable. There didn’t seem to be that buzz that there was on the Friday and Saturday and it was now a matter of survival!

The remaining hours went rather quickly and towards the midday stop time people started getting more excited at the thought of finishing. It was done – the clock stopped and race had finished (although it didn’t finish till about 1pm as there were people completing their final lap). It always amazes me at events how people take their time setting up, however, when it comes to breaking down and finishing it’s like everyone has taken a couple of the Double Espresso Clif Shot gels!

After the awards presentation at 1:30pm, we had managed to get most of the things packed away which gave us a chance to watch the presentation and get some photos! By 2pm we were on the way home – tired, exhausted and in need of a bed, but there was 4hours standing in our way of this! As mentioned earlier, this was my first endurance Mountain bike event – I can safely say that I hope there are many more to come!
Posted by:
David Smith

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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