FOUR cyclists from Worcester fought off competition from across the nation to finish on the podium at a 24-hour endurance challenge.
The Worcester Cycle Centre team, comprising captain Keith Peters, Phil Blacker, Stuart Skidmore and Leon Plews, claimed third place in the veterans and sport section at the Wiggle Mountain Mayhem at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire.
The hardy quartet, who took it in turns to complete endulating laps of the estate throughout the day and night, were presented with their medals by HRH Princess Anne.
Skidmore said: “It was a killer. We all race cross-country but it’s like keeping a 1,500-metre running pace up for 45 minutes.
"Then you have a break but you have got to clean your bike, get some food even though you don’t feel like eating, rehydrate and by the time you have finished that you are ready to go back out again.
“I think I had about 45 minutes sleep over the 24 hours.
“As well as the physical part of it, there is the endurance and mental side.”
He added: “We have been close a couple of times but we have never got on the podium so it’s a real result. Some of the guys in the teams ahead of us used to be professional riders.”
Plews, a last-minute replacement for the injured Dan Jones, was the first on to the course and the team were averaging 45-minute laps.
Riders switched to completing double laps throughout the night, with Skidmore setting back-to-back times of 42 and 43 minutes.
The team returned to alternate single laps the following day and a 40-minute lap from Blacker on his penultimate loop kept them in third place.
Captain Peters put in a low 43-minute circuit, after which Plews recorded his fastest lap of 41 minutes.
Still holding a one-lap advantage on fourth place, Blacker led the team home for their podium finish.