24th August 2020
GBDURO20 | Josh Ibbett wins GBDURO20!, Masons on the podium.
All images by the great Breakaway Digital.
The 2020 edition of GBDuro was a remarkable race. An exciting new format to be compliant with COVID19 restrictions, a remarkable race for MASON too, with a Mason 1-2, and 5 MASONs in the race, 3 MASONs finishing the race, and a 4th bike ridden by Angus Young in the lead for most of the race until he pushed it past the limit. Here's a summary of each rider's ride.
Huge CONGRATULATIONS to Mason supported rider Josh Ibbett, winner of GBDuro20! A superbly executed race plan, a masterclass in ultra-racing made even more impressive by exhibiting vital decision making and survival skills, digging deep, pushing on his race to the very end. Josh showed exemplary spirit and determination, and we're proud to support him for the 5th year running.
It has been several years since his last major wins; Transcontinental 2015, Italy Divide 2017. Last year Josh had a go at Tour Divide in the US, taking part in a race surrounded by arguably unnescessary levels of controversy and it was as race he was admittedly not proud of. Since then, he has shown resilience and mindfulness, clearly transforming his Tour Divide experiences into inner strength and focus.
A terrible storm came in at the front of the race at aroudt the 1000km mark. At this crucial survival moment Josh truly throught from the eye of the storm, making mindful decisions, handling what was within his control and staying centered. He pushed through the discomfort of cold, torrential rain, riding at night and low energy levels. He found shelter, had a hot meal, recovered.
Josh's finishing time was 7 days, 14 hours and 44 minutes. It was a thrilling race to dot watch. Josh pushed himself to the very end and winning races takes discomfort - from discomfort he grows stronger.
For the first half of the race Mason rider Angus led the GBDuro at a hot pace. Going out hard and sleeping minimally, and with previous years' experience it made for a convincing performance, yet proved improbable. At just over 1000km in, Angus was caught out on the Yorkshire moors in the same storm as Josh, severe enough that his condition declined to hypothermia and he scratched on the 5th day.
Heading up onto the moors at night on the 4th day, Angus had only 4 hours of sleep by this time. Although he felt mentally good and physically strong he was certainly in a depleted state. At the point that the storm closed in Angus was on top of the moor in an exposed location. And because of the COVID-19 compliant rules, he could not take any shelter from the storm (other than his bivvi). Conditions were bad enough that in a normal race he would have sought out shelter and warmth in a pub or accommodation. His plan was to get off the moor using the road descent, seek some natural shelter and wait out the weather in his bivvi.
However, it may have been that very road descent that led to a vital drop in core temperature for Angus. No waterproof shorts on his lower body, no hooded jacket, and he had lost his Buff earlier in the race. These factors combined resulted in him getting very wet and extremely cold when descending on the road. Eventually he did find shelter under a bridge and attempted at making some hot food and whilst brewing his hot meal he stuffed this as a 'hot water bottle'. He then fell asleep before he was able to eat any of it and slept for several hours. He ate when waking, and tried to push on. Managed 10km/h, maximum effort, and a heart rate of 100bpm. Angus slurred his words and couldn't walk straight.
Reading into these devastating symptoms they all signified one thing: hypothermia. Angus had to make the self-compassionate choice: scratch and recover. There are always more races.
The sheer pace and commitment Angus displayed in this ride is phenonmenal, and there can be no doubt that he will stand on top of the podium in future. He'll continue to grow as an athlete and experienced ultra racer, the good things will come his way.
We knew that the 2020 format for GBDuro was Jason's cup of tea. A bike race where he could draw upon his experience mountaineering, trekking and adventure racing to survive and thrive. Things didn't go completely to plan...
He battled through his ride, solving a series of mechanical problems and covering the distance. At around the 1100km mark his saddle rails snapped, shearn clean through both rails. He fixed this by moving the saddle back so the broken section was between the clamps. At a similar time his GPS started to glitch, meaning he retraced his route and reset his GPS several times throughout the race. Despite all of this, he maintained a strong pace and fighting spirit.
Jason was in the top 3 for most of the race and he did reach John O'Groats. Unfortunately, his tracker data could not verify his ride and because of his Garmin issues he could not show a GPX trace to back it up. He has since had his time disqualified from the results, but this does nothing to take away from his incredible ride.
We met with Paul for the first time at the start of GBDURO. Standing alongside his Bokeh, both were immaculately presented and only his nerves gave anything away. We're so very happy that he finished in 2nd place.
"Gail traded places with Paul Addy, back and forth throughout the first 1000km. Paul opened a small gap going into Scotland which he maintained (just), despite a concerted effort from Gail. In the end Gail finished just 53mins behind Paul… after 232 elapsed hours, that gap equates to less than 0.5% - a photo finish in ultracycling." Dotwatcher.cc
"I really didn’t expect to do so well. While I can ride a bike, this was an entirely different experience on two wheels and without knowing the terrain, the outcome was a great unknown."
And as with any success it comes with plenty of lessons learned. We spoke with Paul, to discuss what he would change for his next ultra:"
- Replace the tent with a good, breathable bivy (the one I have is suffocating when closed!)
- Split the sleep and mealtime breaks. I.e. have dinner earlier, ride, then sleep. Same in the morning, pack up, ride and have breakfast. Seems counterproductive but breaks the day and each task can be done swiftly (instead of trying to do several in parallel).
- Prepare meals in advance to soak and eat cold when needed (I did this towards the end of the race when I had more storage space).
- While the Dynamo and devices worked well, the USB cables were unreliable at times - change the cables for good quality ones will reduce the faff and stress of wasting power when needed to charge vital devices.
- Early on I was concerned about health and hygiene and keeping the sleeping kit dry, towards the end I didn't care too much, and frankly, it didn't matter - there's quite a lot of time saving to be had there.
- Bikefit properly for this kind of event. Tweak a few things to make for a more comfortable ride over longer periods [saddle, position etc.]"
Paul is clearly the self- reflective, highly critical and considered racer and we're sure he'll be stronger after his race. Look out for him at the Hope1000 and you can be sure he'll be in contention for ultra-races in the future.
Nice one, Paul!
Miles, founder of The Racing Collective and long time friend of Mason. In the lead up to the race we know that Miles had a lot on his plate. Managing a full time job, planning one of the UKs premier ultra races, and somehow fitting in some training to ride it too. Our time with Miles at the start of the race was understandably brief.
As you can see Miles carried a lot of kit with him. He'd loaded up his Bokeh probably more than any other rider in the race. Rack, saddle pack, frame packs, fork packs - you name it. "my strategy was a 15 or 16 dayer. A long haul."
We enjoyed watching Miles' dot whilst he was racing, underlining the fact that The Racing Collective live and breath this: it takes a strong spirit to organise and ride such a committed event.
"it is always nervewracking putting it on, but at the same time I believe in the mission of changing peoples' minds"
Unfortuntely, yet absolutely honourably, Miles scratched on Day 5 after prolonged illness which meant he couldn't take energy on. He still stuck to the wisdom of Mike Hall and made his decision in the morning rather than at night.
His words to us "I wanted to prove that you can ride a mason and fail!"
Haha! Admittedly he didn't finish the race, but he didn't fail at putting on a spectacular one.
Here are some great insights into the race, recaps from the racers, and extended writings from the organisers:
Deer & Wolves - Josh Ibbett and Ryan Le Garrec discuss Josh' race.
GBDURO20 - Josh Ibbett wins GBDURO20 on bikepacking.com
Ultra Cycling becomes our climate conscience - Miles Resso discussing the impact of pro cycling on the climate.