We've just run a story on the Jole Rider Night Baton relay, which we rode last year and had a great time at. But imagine if Hullavington airfield was magically transformed into the legendary Bugatti circuit at Le Mans, and the field of hundreds into 3,000. Oh, and 12 hours became 24. Do all that and you're looking at a picture of the 24 Heures du Vélo, which is taking place on 22-23 August of this year.
Running from 3pm on Saturday to 3pm on Sunday on the floodlit 4.2km circuit, the race is open from everyone from single competitors (good luck with that!) to 'fun' teams of eight. The 'prestige' event is for teams of four, and the organisers are expecting a field of between 2,000 and 3,000 riders. You can camp on site (included in the entry fee) and they'll also feed you if you want, though you'll have to fork out extra for that. The timing will be microchip controlled, with real time rankings displayed during the race.
If it all sounds too good to be true, then there is one downside: the price. Obviously hiring out Le Mans for a weekend doesn't come cheap: if you're entering a team of eight in the fun category you'll be asked to part with an eye-watering €752. It gets worse the less riders you have, too: do it on your own and you'll need deep pockets to the tune of €235. And it gets even dearer after March 15th... Even so, if you're only going to splash out on one big ride this year it looks like it'll be an amazing experience.
For more information visit www.24heuresvelo.fr/index.php?page=en_1
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.