Cyclist completes ultimate challenge in just over nine hours

FORMER SADDLEWORTH man Andrew Buckley has completed one of the world’s toughest mountain bike races for a fifth time.


Andy at the start of the race with father David

The 53-year-old, formerly of Springmeadow Lane, Uppermill, took part in The Leadville 100 in Colarado, USA.


And the 100-mile bike race is known as the ‘Race Across the Sky’ as it starts at 10,500ft and climbs up to 12,500ft and riders experience temperatures from sub-zero to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.


Andy, a former pupil at St Chads and Saddleworth Comprehensive, was one of 1,850 competitors who began at 6.30am in a bitterly cold 20 degrees Fahrenheit.


Having reached the summit, it was back to down for the final leg back to Leadville.


The allotted time to finish the race is 12 hours but Andy set himself a target of nine, having completed this race four times before with a time of approximately 9 hours 30 minutes.  The main motive of the target was to finish in under nine hours to receive a solid gold belt buckle having already won four silver ones.


The race crew, friends and family, including father David of Top Mossley, positioned themselves around the race clock to see him break nine hours but, sadly, he finished in 9hrs 2min.


Andy at one of the feeding stations

Andy, who is already in training for the next Leadville 100, is based in America where he works at the Northstar ski resort near Lake Tahoe. He is responsible for skiing activities in the winter and in summer oversees road and mountain bike events.


Andy has worked in the ski industry spending winters in France and summers in America before moving permanently to the USA.


In 1850 the town of Leadville was prosperous with mining for both gold and silver.  However fortunes changed and slowly it became a ghost town.  Around 30 years ago this prompted the locals to put the town back on the map and so the Leadville 100 race was created, now known worldwide and brings in riders from all corners of the earth.


Last year, Andy also took part in a marathon 1,000km mountain bike race over 10 days in South Africa from Johannesburg to Durban.



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