Kyle and Zara crowned Strathpuffer winners 2020
The 15th year of the endurance mountain biking race, the Strathpuffer in the Scottish Highlands, was won by Kyle Beattie (Male Solo) and Zara Mair (Female Solo) at the weekend.
Four-times male solo Puffer winner Keith Forsyth also took the podium as part of the winning male pairs. He described conditions as “really tough”. He added: “It was a mud bath to start with, then a mud bath-stroke-ice rink, and then back to a mud bath again before dawn.”
Recent editions of the legendary winter MTB endurance event have seen riders battling to stay upright in freezing conditions, but this year Storm Brendan transformed the 13km course into a gruelling mud-fest.
Any hopes of staying warm and dry soon evaporated after lap one, with riders switching their focus to staying upright instead.
As the sun went down on the 24-hour race, temperatures plummeted below 0°c. The 1,036 competitors also faced 17 hours of darkness.
In total the riders covered an incredible 67,785km.
Puffer 2020 winners
Kyle, 23, who rides with Cairngorm CC, put in a gritty performance, smashing out 25 laps to take his first ever ‘Puffer Men’s Solo title.
Having led from the first lap, Kyle was pushed all the way by fellow male solo riders Robbie Mitchell and 2019 champion Marty Ross.
Despite almost collapsing on the finish line, Kyle said he was was “stoked” to take top spot. He added: “What a race! It was crazy; it was nuts. The sugar levels may have dropped, but the stoke levels are always high. It was amazing. It’s so different and unique and that’s what I love about this place.”
See this extremely jolly interview with Kyle.
Zara completed eighteen laps to come home first solo female and 10th overall.
Winner of the male pairs was Keith’s team I- Cycles, with Mike Hancock, with 27 laps. Mixed pairs winer was Team Breakpad/JMC on 21 laps, while the female pairs winners were Bennachie Bike Bothy, also with 21 laps.
In the quads event, OrangeFox Bikes – Citrus Vulpes were first all-male with 30 laps. Mixed quads was won by Clydesdale Colts 1 on 28 laps. The all-female Powerpuffers took first place with 22 laps.
In the Eights category, which is a schools race, Invergordon Academy triumphed with 23 laps.
All photos: Gary Williamson Photography