This post was provided by Cory Wallace. Photos by Candace Mihalcheon
Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and covers the Northern third of the Island of Great Britain. Having some bloodlines from Scotland and having watched the movie Braveheart where William Wallace battles the English for Scottish Independence I had a dream of going there one day. This past week this dream came true as I flew across the Atlantic to the small island nation to defend the WEMBO World 24 Hour title I won in Italy last year.
Mom joined me for the first part of the trip as we did some sightseeing, got some rest, and then watched Braveheart to get fired up for the weekend. My support team flew in Friday, with Leighton and his girlfriend Candace coming from Canada and Hiran, from Radical Lights, coming in from Australia. We worked great together in Italy, ending 7X World Champ Jason English’s streak, and this year we had the added bonus of Candace in the pits and the cheering from my Mom and her friend Louis in the stands.
The race started off hard with European 24 hr champ, Matti Takhola from Finland going off the front. Josh Tostado (USA) and a couple others would counter attack after I brought back Matti and they would open up a small gap. Keeping tabs on them, eventually bridging up on the 3rd lap, we’d ride a few laps together until I upped the tempo a bit as two of the race contenders, Jason English (Australia) , and USA strongman Taylor Lideen were still behind and I wanted to keep the pressure on. Surprisingly Josh backed off and I’d go solo off the front for the next 7-8 hours. Usually it’s nice to have company for the first half of these 24 hour races but I didn’t care and just kept on the offensive as I was in the position I wanted to be and I thought a good offence is a good defence!
Racing for 24 hours people have all kinds of philosophies. Some say the real race doesn’t start till 12 hours in, some say don’t go above your threshold or certain wattages, some say pace yourself, etc etc… In my eyes every 24 hour race is unique and the foundations of the race are laid in the first 12 hours, hours 12-18 is when a lot of riders self detonate, then the last 6 hours is a shoot out with whoever is left standing. There’s no hiding in a 24 Hour race, your weaknesses will be exposed and whoever is able to best cover them up usually wins.
At one point in the night the Americans, Josh and Taylor came back up to me. It was nice to have company as it was getting boring riding alone after 8+ hours. Being all together our pace slowed down a bit, until the long bermed out downhill on course in which they put their droppers down and seemed to push a bit harder. The 2nd half of the downhill was a bit gnarlier with wet rocks and roots, just like the West coast riding we have in Canada each winter. I came around them with my high post and decided to set the pace a bit higher, and incidentally dropped the other boys in this half of the descent . Wanting to ride with these guys a bit longer I stopped for a piss and joined back with them as they came by. This wouldn’t last long as the next lap things would blow apart and pretty soon Taylor was 4 minutes back and Josh, over 13. He would eventually succumb to the cold wet conditions and pull out, our Finnish friend Matti was having a tough race with a broken chain and we soon lapped him, leaving Jason as the other main contender not accounted. He was apparently drifting backwards which was a good sign as often he turns the diesel on in the middle of the night.