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MARK'S MOUNTAIN

MARK SETS HIMSELF AN EXTENSIVE PERSONAL CHALLENGE, INSPIRED BY JENN: TO CLIMB A 10,000FT MOUNTAIN PASS UNDER HIS OWN STEAM.

When Jenn told me that she needed to give up working as our deputy editor in order to spend her remaining weeks with friends and family before the end of her fight with cancer, I realised I’d wasted a lot of chances to make my own life so much better.

When someone as strong and focused as Jenn finds they have only months to live it makes you stop and think. I thought about the chances we get that we don’t take and how when a chance is gone it leaves only regret. I didn’t want to look back and count the things I didn’t do and at 44, riding up mountains is a lot tougher than it would have been if I’d done it 15 years ago.

It was talking to Phil and Lucy of Bike Verbier that sparked this plan back in February. As we caught up at the London Bike Show I told Lucy how, despite loving the trails there, in all the years I’ve been visiting I’d never ridden up the hairpin road from the very bottom of the mountain to the town of Verbier. It was something I’ve always wanted to do, but never did. I’d always put it off and tell myself that I’d do it next time I was there. Of course, after each return I just put it off again. After a couple of free drinks, we ambitiously turned that idea into a plan to not just ride up the road to the village, but to continue on and ride to the top of Mont Fort itself at over 10,000ft, followed by the ultimate singletrack descent back down to the valley floor. Like some insane, mega enduro stage.

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About Singletrack

Here at Singletrack Towers, Wordsworth's words on the death of his son perhaps capture some of our feelings on Jenn's death: ...he is taken from me—yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it. We've tried to do as Jenn would have wanted, and got on with doing what we do in every issue: bring you an array of adventures, features and product reviews to inspire you to ride your way through the winter. However in this issue we also pay tribute to Jenn and hope that it gives you that extra bit of oomph to get out there and get doing. We bring you: Singletrack Heroes - it could only be our own Jenn. Written by her husband Tom Hill. The Great Divide - one of Jenn's most popular articles, and one of her many amazing riding feats. We reprint this article in full. Mark's Mountain - Mark says 'no more maybe tomorrow' and heads of to the Alps to go up, up and up... The Matterhorn - Swiss cheese and chocolate pale into insignificance as Daniel Klawczyński finds himself face to face with the mighty Matterhorn. We join him as he explores the epic trails on all sides of this classic mountain. We Work Here - Hope​ Technology​ - Go green with envy as Hopetech invites Sam Needham to tour ​its factory. 24HR Pedal People - Chipps takes a look at the sleep deprived world of 24​hr​ racing​ and how it has evolved over the years​. He gets advice from the experts, including Guy Martin and Jason Miles, and puts their knowledge into practice​ by pitting for a soloist rather than riding for a change. ​ Classic Ride - Rachel Sokal and Olly Townsend head to Nottinghamshire to bring us a classic ride full of ​a​utumn ​c​olour. Bike Test: The Middle Ground - Bikes with 130-150mm rear shock travel. Where do they fit? Are they neither here nor there, or is this a happy medium? Low Carbon Adventure - Chipps and Beate go on holiday without costing the earth.
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