Catch up on the inside stories of APN21.
“Winning All Points North is what I had set out to do, but now that it’s happened it seems hollow in a strange way. I feel an event like this is an exhibition or an expression of who I am. It’s just a reflection of my headspace, training, and discipline heading into the event. This is where I find the real value. If I had finished second I would have learnt the same lessons, had the same experience and gone through the same preparation leading up to it. So the only thing that would have changed was the end result.
“I feel as if I’m just getting started and getting caught up in ‘winning’ something that will hinder my growth. As soon as you think you’ve arrived or made it, you put a limit on what you’re capable of. Yet there’s always more to learn and more room for growth. That being said, beyond the result, the experience was deeply rewarding. It also gives me great satisfaction to know all the sacrifices that I’d made heading into the event were worth it.
“In a similar fashion, winning an event like All Points North gives me so much confidence for future events. The amount of progress, I had made between completing HOTNW to All Points North was massive and I’m now excited to see where I can go from here. Broadly speaking, it just backs up the fact that the only limitations are the ones you place on yourself and I hope I’m setting an example for others to go out and push their own limits. You will never know what you can achieve until you try it for yourself!”
“So good to be back out doing interviews for @thecyclingpodcast Service Course. I followed the progress of a bunch of barmy cyclists racing @allpointsnorth.cc, a 1000km unsupported race around the north of England.”
“England’s North has a reputation for being one of the most rugged, steep and exposed places to take a bike on tarmac. Riders have 10 checkpoints to reach in the order they feel is most efficient, or scenic! This is a race that favours the most well prepared riders who have struck their perfect balance of minimising both distance and elevation on their route which will tick off the East and West Coasts of Northern England traversing the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and the lumps in between.”
Dan from Random Adventure did a great job of providing the commentary of APN21 on DotWatcher.
“1,000Km, free route, two dots colliding making an ever decreasing triangle, their paths only meeting at the very end, Bradley, the young cocksure Lancashire Lad, Pawel, the experienced rider, last winner of the event in 2019. It was nail biting stuff, the winner was by 30 seconds, such a small margain after an epic ride from both guys. Absolute amazing ride rider 77 Bradley Woofruff, and an amazing ride by Pawel, closest finish ever. I need a drink now.”
“You have to be motivated to do something like this. And if you can achieve things like this then other things in life can seem quite easy.
“There’s times when you’re really wondering why you’re doing it… why are you pushing yourself through this, why are you telling your body to keep going. At the end of it, it’s because you really want to. And you can apply that to different things in your life. If you really want to do something then you can. You know it’s going to be hard but just crack on and persevere.”
Filmmaker Markus Stitz followed Kinesis rider Rupert Robinson’s attempt at the 2020 All Points North event, documenting Rupert’s huge ride from start to finish.
“I’d always thought one day that I’d love to do the Transcontinental Race, but watching that video made me appreciate the harsh reality of ultra-endurance racing. But when I saw in November 2019 that applications were open for the 2020 edition, I applied because: (1) it would enable me to sample a mini TCR in my ‘backyard’, living as I do in the north of England; and (2) the addition of a rookie category gave me a bit of extra time to do it.
“So, I filled in the forms and crossed my fingers for the magic email from Ang and Tori. That came and I was delighted to have been offered a place in the 2020 event; a rookie place too! Two months away from the start, the pandemic struck, which meant it ultimately had to be postponed until September 2021. New checkpoints were served up by Ang too. Into the race, I would later come to marvel at (read: curse) the evil genius of their interplay.”
“The welcome back at Sheffield HQ was definitely not something I expected, (sort of assumed there would just be the caretaker locking up) I was clapped over the line by a veritable crowd! Rookie finisher number nine, it did send me a bit emosh. In hindsight I shouldn’t have expected anything else from this fantastic crew who organised the event. The end of ride food, a beer (& a fitting “daft hapeth” tea mug to take home) all perfect. 600 miles later (or 400 more than I’ve ever done previously), never have I felt so tired & smelly, but so alive in my life. I learned lots of lessons & ideally will put them to good use in another ultra (I’d love to do this one again too, leaving with the grown ups at bedtime)….I’m hooked, & if you’re still reading this, thinking “should I???” You should!!! “
“Brutal climbs were another highlight. I thought these were going to finish me off at certain points, but found that after each tough climb I gained a bit of an energy and morale boost that kept me going.”
“It was, 90% of the time, an incredible experience. The 10% of tough times where I felt I wasn’t going to make it (and challenging post ride recovery day) are already forgotten.”
“One of the most enjoyable and challenging rides I’ve done. The impact of community, camaraderie and generosity on the spirit of this ride was huge, such a lovely bunch of people out on the roads, crisscrossing through the night, and keeping a watchful eye at the HQ. Night riding became fun again. Hallucinations a plenty, ‘sleeping’ rough, a four-year-old’s dream diet, next time I’m taking a mat.”
“Time is now just a loose, sinewy, worn out concept to be draped over the landscape as you see fit.”
JOE LE SAGE
“Time speeds up and the miles pass almost unnoticed. The world comes to life unaware of our struggles. We’re all just atoms randomly bouncing around this world that exists purely by chance. Doubt becomes certainty; There’s nothing else I want to be doing…
“All Points North is everything I wanted it to be and so much more. I really enjoyed it! The people and the atmosphere of the event were amazing – friendly, warm, inclusive. A real feeling of comradeship and camaradarie and the joy of a shared, intense experience.”
“The night sky was incredible and the nocturnal frogs, owls, moths and screeches kept me entertained until I could ride no further. I bivvied for about 3 hours under the Milky Way.”
“I had been so focussed on getting to Beverley that getting back on the bike and setting off for Sheffield suddenly seemed a very hard task. I was wobbly. I had very little food (some Jelly Babies) and a small amount of water. Well, you can worry or you can get going and see what happens.”
“This kind of cycling is pure escapism and provides an opportunity to exist in a world where only the race matters. Not everyone has the luxury of abandoning reality like this and I had to remind myself of that a few times along the way.
“The mental toughness people always refer to is the ability to see past the immediate agony/misery and appreciate just what it is that you’re doing.”
LAURA MASSEY-PUGH & STEVEN MASSEY
“After this, going around the World should be easy…. right?!”
“I woke and marvelled at the body’s capacity to recover. My aching muscles and sore bum had subsided, and my body was game to do it all again. “
By DAVID BOCKING
“It’s dark, you’re in the middle of a military firing range on the Northumberland moors, you’ve been cycling for 24 hours and there are so many sheep on the starlit road in front of you that you can’t see where you’re going. What do you do?”
“Taking on a 1,000 km cycle ride across the hills and valleys of northern England requires planning, preparation, athleticism, courage, determination, the ability to keep eating every few hours, and, of course, problem solving.”