Can you imagine cycling up Box Hill in Surrey with just one gear? Or waiting 10 days to get your race results by self-addressed envelope?
Mark Kleanthous can – he was there for the first one back in 1990, and for the 25th edition which took place last weekend. We asked him how it’s changed over the years…
1990 – the first BallBuster
1. Fewer than 200 hardy competitors raced in the first BallBuster.
2. Most were running or cycling specialists looking for a winter challenge.
3. Entrants had to send off two self-addressed envelopes – the first one came back with race info, and the second one arrived 10 days afterwards with your race results typed out.
4. Few athletes had tri bars in 1990 – they only started to become available in the UK from 1988.
5. The first edition started at the bottom of Box Hill, not the top (as it does now).
6. “Lets Bust our Balls!” was shouted out at the start of the BallBuster.
7. There were many seven-speed bikes back then, and even a few fixed wheel bikes were used.
8. Box Hill was not famous with cyclists back then – I never saw another cyclist out training on the course during the race.
9. I recall an amazing moon the first time I did it.
10. The famous BallBuster Hoodie made it’s debut.
11. There was no cut-off time for athletes to complete the course.
2014 – the 25th BallBuster
1. 400 athletes raced in this year’s sold-out event.
2. A great range of ages and abilities took part, from complete novices to two athletes who even celebrated their birthday by doing the BallBuster!
3. You can access online results the moment you cross the finish line.
4. The majority of athletes used tri bars, and there was every possible frame material imaginable from steel to titanium, carbon fibre and aluminium.
5. This year 378 competitors finished the 40 mile duathlon – racing a combined distance of 15,120 miles.
6. Athletes’ 2014 BallBuster saying after the race was “My Balls are Busted”.
7. A massive variety of bikes were seen, from mountain bikes to weekend bikes, hybrids to time trial bikes and 7-speed classics.
8. A closed road one-way system was in place, with lots of cyclists training or going for their Strava record at the same time as the BallBuster.
9. A full moon made appeared again for this year’s race.
10. The classic BallBuster Hoodie was still being offered – only those who have one know the meaning of the BallBuster!
11. There is a 11am cut-off time that athletes must complete three laps of the bike.
(2014 images – Matt Alexander)
Did you race the first BallBuster? Let us know in the comments below!