The race ended up being 18 miles. It was proper good mountain biking and it was incredibly fun, including going through rivers, jumps, bumps, single track, divets, rivets, etc and had a 374 meter elevation gain included in the track. Great fun.
I did the race in a time of 02:39:24. I was a good hour off the first place finisher and I placed 48 out of 52 people, but I don't care, I was having a great time, pushing hard, riding some amazing mountain bike track, and just enjoying the always beautiful scenery in the Caringorm mountains. I spent the week before the race fighting off a chest infection, but felt really pretty good on race day.
I ended up doing some slight carb loading the days up to the race, had a nice healthy breakfast of wholemeal toast with natural peanut butter and a banana a few hours before hand. About an hour before the race, I had a manuka honey-peanut-oat bar, then during the race had two energy gels, 1/2 a banana, one electrolyte only drink and one energy i.e. carb loaded fuel drink, plus lots of water. I was actually really well fueled. I had a nice recovery very sensible sized meal of pasta with chickpeas and tomato sauce and some cheese, plus a caramel rice cake. For the first time ever, I was not starving the day after. Success!!