Inside the alternative race scene: meet the riders finding a competitive outlet without the fanfare

Fastest-known times are growing in popularity, so we take a look at what’s going on in the speedy off-road scene in the UK

Alt race
(Image credit: Matthew Hawkins)

In mental health terms, a flow state is where you are completely at one with your mind and body, when you find yourself completely absorbed by the activity you’re taking part in, with no distractions. It is hard to manufacture a flow state, but finding one through exercise is possible. Flow is something that comes to mind when speaking to people targeting ultra-distances, and those attempting to set fastest-known times, or FKTs.

“It’s very meditative,” double FKT holder Cat Morrison explains. “If you asked me what I was doing in these 24 hours, I wouldn’t actually be able to tell you because I’m just in some sort of meditative state when I’m moving. I’m spending time in my own head, which sounds really like it would be horrific, but there’s not a lot going on – I’m just concentrating, but there are different levels, depending on the terrain. It’s all-encompassing, like a disconnect from everything.”

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Adam Becket
News editor

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s news editor – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing. He's usually out and about on the roads of Bristol and its surrounds. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.