From National Champion to World Championships – my winning season so far

 Matt Page profile

By Matthew Page

I can hardly believe that over half the year has already gone and with it many of my major races of the season. Back in May I entered my biggest domestic race of the year, the 24hr UK Solo National Championships in Newcastleton, Scotland on what was the hottest day of the year with temperatures into the high 20s.

The competition was really fierce with every big name in UK solo racing entered. Right from the gun it was clear that it would be a very different race to previous solo events I have done. Everyone was edgy and tactics were a major factor as all the main competitors, including myself lapped in a big group. Josh Ibbett was the first to break clear and establish a small lead, everyone else seemed happy to let him go so he managed to extend his lead over the first ten hours. Once the sun went down and the intense heat dissipated, I felt good and turned up the pace a notch; a move that backfired as I hit a wall soon after and struggled for a couple of laps in 3rd position.

As the night went on, I was able to compose myself, get a load of food inside me and get back on track. Lap-by-lap I was clawing back the gaps ahead and bang on 7am I took the lead away from Josh. I was feeling great so kept the pressure on and set consistently quick lap times. Just before midday I finished my final lap to take the win with a sizeable gap of around 40 minutes over 2nd position. National Champion – awesome!

The win at the UK Champs sets me up perfectly for the 24hr World Solo Championships, which are in Canberra, Australia in October. I will be representing the UK and riding in the champs jersey and I should have a very high ranking for the race. I have no idea of how I will do in Australia, especially as I will be racing against the reigning Champion and the 2007 World Champion on home soil. I will be training extremely hard to make sure I am in the best shape possible and give the race my best shot.

The rest of my season has been great and results have been far better than I have expected, especially some of my results in XC racing, which isn't a speciality of mine. I have entered three of the British XC series and finished on the podium in each race in the Expert category, 3rd in rounds one and two and a 2nd in round four at Dalby. With my training now focused on the longer events, my XC racing season is over for 2010. Given my results so far I am hoping to get an Elite licence for 2011 and race in some of the World Cup XC races next year.

Over the next month or so I have a few really important races, all of them are essentially practice and tune-up races for the 24hr Solo World Championships. First up is a 12hr Solo race, the final time I will get to practice with my full pit team and run through a few changes we have made to strategies. Then in August I have entered the Grand Raid Cristalp Marathon, quoted as being the hardest single day event in the World it is a 150km race with 5800m vertical climbing in the Swiss Alps! In early September I then have a few more marathon races, the first being the Kielder 100 followed by the British Marathon Championships, my final race before flying to Oz!

Pro mountain biker, UK Solo National Champion and European Singlespeed Champion Matthew Page trains with a Garmin Edge 705 GPS bike computer. Having racked up many endurance and marathon racing titles to date including Mountain Mayhem 2009, Dusk ‘til Dawn 2008 and Bontager 2008, Page now has his eye trained on the World Solo 24hr Championships in October 2010.