Name: Andrew Howett
Home: I was born and brought up in south Lincolnshire. Don't laugh, if Jamaica can have a bobsleigh team, Lincolnshire can have a mountain bike racer. However, I have recently moved up to the Scottish borders, which is a huge improvement topographically, if not metrologically.
Age: 38

Describe yourself in three words: Very bad at counting.

How did you get into mountain-bike racing? I've been riding bikes for years. A friend took me to a local race way back in 1999 and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I have no idea where I finished, somewhere near the back, but I had a great time and so did a few more races over the next couple of years. I spent the best part of a decade coming last in short olympic-distance XC events before I discovered 24 hour races and then another five before I tried one on a singlespeed.

Best bit of racing? I love a nice technical descent as much as anyone, particularly when it is dry, dusty and 30°, I love the heat. Oddly enough, I also enjoy the climbs, seeing how hard I can push myself. But by far the best bit is the people I've met along the way.

Worst bit of racing? When I'm cold, wet and knackered, it's dark, -5°, raining hard and there's fifteen hours still to go. And my lights have just packed up.
But the harder it is, the bigger the sense of achievement at the finish.

Favourite race? Tough question. Probably the best course I've ever ridden was Finale Ligura in Italy for the 2012 24hr World Championship. In this country it has to be the National XC Champs at Innerleithen in 2009, I got my first UCI points in that one too. Fforrest Fields is fantastic in the dry and I love Badaguish as well.
For the race itself though nothing can beat the 2010 24hr World Champs at Mount Stromolo in Australia. Another fantastic course but the sheer size and scale of the event was like nothing I've ever seen. A real pain to get to but well worth the effort.

Most successful race? Well, a world title in 2019 has to be a contender. However, the competition there was a little thin, I don't think singlespeeds are really a thing in Brazil. I am probably more satisfied with my third place at the 2017 World Champs, the competition there was really fierce and I felt like that's the best I have ever ridden, I really gave it everything that day. 

Favourite place to ride?
Off-road. I love going up north and just exploring, the area between Spean Bridge and Glencoe is fantastic. In the winter I do stick to the man-made trails, and Innerliethen/Golfie are definitely the best (and within riding distance of my house, which is great)
Road. I know a lovely route from St. Andrews around Glendevon, through Gleneagles and Blackford to Dunblane and then back to the sea. Only around 90 miles but very hard work. Shoalhaven to Kangaroo Valley in Oz was pretty special too.

Plans for 2020?
Well, there are big plans afoot, but for the first time in a very long time not all of them involve bikes.

My first big race of the year will be 'Last One Standing', a running race at Castle Ward in Northern Ireland. A simple concept, a 4.2mile lap which has to be completed once every hour until there is only person left, if you aren't on the start line again every hour, on the hour, you're out. Sounds simple, but the 48 hour time limit is making me a little nervous... [EDIT] They have removed the time limit, a draw will not be declared if two people are still going at 48hrs, it will continue. Now I am really scared! [/EDIT]

There's the usual 'Big Three' 24hrs, European (Czech Replublic, June) UK Nationals (Dartmoor, July) and Worlds (Armidale, NSW Australia, November). No doubt the later will involve falling out with my credit card company again, they are still a little cross with me after the Brazil trip!

Whilst I'm in Eastern Europe in June I have also been talked into the European off-road duathlon in Romania, which could be fun, I've never been to Romania before (don't tell anyone but I might use a geared bike for the duathlon)

There are a fair few less serious races scheduled, the Macavalanche in April, SSUK in September, the Singlespeed World Champs in Belgium (that is all we know about it, no dates or venue info yet) a 50 mile running race, just because it goes passed my house, and whatever else I can fit in, the Deadwater 100 springs to mind as does the Manx 100, all good fun, which is what racing is all about really isn't it?

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