Josh Wins #GBDURO20
Where to begin...
A New Format
Angus, Storms & The Perfect Opening
Having finished second to Lachlan Morton at the inaugural GBDURO back in 2019, Angus came into the race as a very strong contender indeed - possibly even the favourite. His form was certainly looking positive, following setting the record on (our very own) Jim Barrow's #SD300 route at the start of July.
At the start of the race, Angus Young announced his presence in the race with formidable pace. Reaching Bristol 24 hours into the race (with less than an hour stationary!), he opened up an impressive initial lead over Josh.
However, after a night spent out in a pretty hairy storm, Angus became hypothermic and, on the fifth morning of the race, scratched. In his own words, he knew he could probably carry on, but it would've meant taking serious risks if his body did not recover by the time he reached some of the mountainous passes further north in the race.
In true Angus style, after scratching he stuck around with race photographer Dan to cheer on other riders as they came past.
We're certain it's just a matter of time before the young talent takes the honours at a premier ultra race.
GBDURO was always a huge target for me, it's probably the closest thing as to what I would describe as my home race. I just had to ride my own race and stick to plan. That being to ride hard and stop infrequently, thats how it worked for the first few hundred Km. I reached Bristol about 24 hours into the race having been stationary for less than an hour.
Nearing the end of day four, the high winds were making crossing the Dales quite tough. It started to rain just before a 20km steady road descent. I was getting cold very quickly and couldn't get my HR above 100. The sun went down and the weather persisted - I was shivering uncontrollably and needed to find shelter to get warm and dry.
The level of cold that I was, was indescribable. Priorities quickly changed from racing to survival, so I took off all my wet kit, put on my dry fleece, and got in my sleeping bag. I got a full 7 hours sleep, but after an hour of riding again in the morning I found myself in another shivery heap being sick at the side of the road.
It was clear that my body was just not able to recover from the deep set cold, having been wrecked from the days of riding beforehand. I knew that I was lucky where I was, insofar as I could bail to a hotel/bnb/hospital if things went further wrong. However, in the mountains ahead, I might not have the same "luck". I scratched and fortunately took shelter in a couple of local dotwatchers house for the night.
I was overwhelmed by the moral support that I was given along the way dozens of people came out to cheer me on and all remained socially distant and responsible - thank you!
Onwards and upwards, there will always be more races!!
Jason being Jason
So delighted to have battled on and taken second place in the off road self-sufficient 2000k GBDURO race from Land's End to John O Groats. Huge thank you to all the well wishes I’ve received and to the sponsors.
Processing what was just the most mind-blowing adventure at GBDURO. There is something special being removed from the world, even for only a very short time... relying solely on your own ability to survive, without access to simple creature comforts like food and water. Sleeping in a hedge for a few hours as you race through the most beautiful mountains of Wales, England, and Scotland, is so gratifying and grounding.
Spending time in your own mind can be that double-edged sword of dangerous and necessary. Being stripped bare in life is such a humbling feeling, because it’s only then I really get to see the wood from the trees.
I lost my baby brother Billy 23 years ago today, and I spent the most remarkable day laughing/crying with him as we both flew free and solo on the handlebars all day... He was one of the main reasons why I’m on a bike.. ❤️ And you never get over your baby brother, you just learn to live with it.
Josh: Back to winning ways
Sometimes, we give Josh a bit (a lot) of stick at HUNT HQ for not having won anything since his triumph at the Transcontinental Race in 2015. For 99% of riders, winning is far from the point of these races. They're as much about self-discovery and adventure, as they are about being at the pointy end at the finish.
But, for that remaining 1%, the superhuman and seemingly tireless ultra-endurance racer, they race to win. We couldn't be happier for Josh for finally putting it all together perfectly in an absolutely class ride at the 2020 GBDURO.
He demonstrated his experience by allowing Angus to open up an early lead, but just rode at his own pace. This works both ways, too. He could've easily sat back & relaxed in the final third of the race once his victory looked certain. Josh kept the chain tight and made sure the margin for error was as small as possible as he closed in on the finish line.
Josh reached John O'Groats at 1.53am on Sunday 9th August, becoming the second winner of the race, and reminding the world why on his day he's among the very best in the world.
We caught up with him after the finish (whilst allowing enough time for what we can only assume was a massacre of a meal), and you can find out what he had to say below...
How did you feel coming into the race?
Coming into the race I was just looking forward to get out there and have some time to relax. Life has been busy since lockdown so I needed to get back out there
Angus put in a pretty impressive start. It was clear you planned to ride at your own pace and let him get up the road. Do you put this down to experience, or is this more just what you're like as a rider?
I knew Angus would start hard, but experience told me I needed to ride my own race for the first few days. The plan was to do so for the first 3-4 days and then reassess and cut back in sleep if needed. As it was this plan was forced into action by the need to survive the storm in the Yorkshire dales... catching and passing Angus was a bonus at this point
Talk to us about the self-sufficient element. Obviously you managed your nutrition well - do you think this format suited you particularly well, or did it not make too much of a difference to your actual race management?
The self sufficiency really wasn’t an issue for me. In some respects it made it easier as I never had to search for food and I knew exactly what I had and when I needed to eat. The only downside was that it made the bike quite heavy for the first few days, but the more I ate the lighter the bike got!
Would you like to see more self-sufficient races like this? Do you think they will take off?
I think we may see more self sufficient races... I’ve been wondering about cooking more on races anyway as it does offer an element of convenience with a marginal weight penalty. This experience has confirmed my thoughts on the subject... I think a stove may now become part of my kit list. If I didn’t have a stove for the dales situation in this race, there is no way I would have finished
What was the biggest struggle/adversity (if not fuelling)?
The biggest struggle was the storm in the dales. If I went inside to get warm my race was over, so it was a choice of surviving it and battling through or pulling out, and I just wasn’t ready to pull out
Good to see you back at the pointy end of a race. With some doubts over whether Further will proceed, what's next for you?
I’m super pleased to have finished and won. It was a bit of a personal battle for me... I haven’t won for a while and I needed to prove to myself that I could again. Hopefully I can ride this wave of confidence to more success whenever COVID allows