We spoke to Mason rider Josh Ibbett about his recent experience at the inaugural Accursed Race. As a new event on the ultra distance calendar, we were interested to know how Josh found the race, whether it matched his expectations, and how his prototype Mason Macro was suited to the challenge. Here’s what Josh told us…

The race was excellent. Part of the draw of a first-edition race is the unknown element. Taking place in the Balkans made this even more relevant than usual given that many of the mountains are still relatively remote and untouched. Had it been in the Alps or Pyrenees then Google would have provided plenty of information and images to get a taste of what awaited. However there was really very little to find out about this route. 

I had to make sure I was prepared for all eventualities, keep an open mind about how long sections would take (usually double the anticipated time!) and carry enough supplies to see me through. Overall it delivered way more than I was expecting.

The scale and remoteness of some of the climbs can match parts of the Tour Divide or Silk Road Mountain Race and I think it would be an excellent preparation race for those looking to find experience before taking on one of the big events.

The Macro was amazing, I already knew it was an excellent climber and fast descender from the Atlas Mountain Race, it was more than up to the task, helping me keep up the pace I needed to finish the Accursed Race in third place.

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How did the no-fly startline work and how did you find actually just getting to the start of the race? Looking ahead, do you think it’s a step in the right direction for the Ultra race scene which often requires long-distance flights?

Well the clue was in the name to a certain extent… you could not fly to the start and were encouraged to use public transport where possible. Getting to the start was more time consuming and expensive than flying, but overall it was a good experience and added to the adventure. As I mentioned in my first answer this event can draw parallels to races such as Tour Divide and SRMR so offers an option in Europe for those who are not comfortable flying. It also sets a good precedence and shows that no fly can be done if you want too.

How did the MACRO feel at Accursed?

Having already completed the Atlas Mountain Race on the Macro at the start of the year I knew its would be perfect for the job. I changed the fork for the larger 35mm stanction SID Ultimate ( over the 32mm which I find a bit flexy) and was glad I did so given the rocky nature of some of the descents. But apart from that it was pretty much identical to the Atlas setup.


What would be your sketchiest moment during the race?

I had a huge low approaching CP2 about ¾ of the way into the race. A combination of running out of food, fatigue, an fast approaching thunder storm and a silly slow motion crash meant I was in a bad place mentally at the Cp. But a night in a hotel bed, a huge pizza and a shower sorted me out and I was back to normal the next day.

What would be your best moment during the race?

No one particular moment stands out, rather a series of small moments. It maybe be a particulary beautiful sunset, cresting a pass in first light or even just feeling strong and full of energy for a few hours.

What’s next for you on the race calendar? 

Next up for me is the Transcontinental race. It’s the 10th edition, 10 years since I first rode the event and of course 10 years of Mason Cycles… so its going to be a special one.

The Macro