June’s MBWales 2012 Challenge is to take on a Welsh MTB event. We’ve a wealth of events here in Wales and they are not just for the hardcore.
At lots of our events there is plenty to do for spectators and supporting family and friends. We’re talking real ale quaffing, festival vibes, family friendly campsites, outdoor hotubs and tasty Welsh burgers all before you even begin to fettle with your bike. That said there’s no reason not to take your events seriously and believe me plenty of people do.
In the next few days I’ll be updating you with top tips from our very own cycling fanatic and MTB champion, Huw Thomas, who is currently the UK and European 24 Hour Solo MTB Champion. I recently spoke to Huw and he shared his pearls of wisdom that have helped him reach the top of his game. Take on Huw's advice and who knows where you’ll be come 2014…
To help you decide which type of event might be the one for you I’ve compiled a list or annual events and tried to outline what you can expect form each one. Read away, book you place and maybe start a little training but most of all have fun!
If I’ve missed any out please do let me know and I’ll add them to the list. You can also stay up to date with Welsh MTB Events via out MBWales events page.
The Torq Roughride
– Usually taking place in May the Roughride offers a 75km route and a shorter 48km option. Most of the climbs and descents are on good quality moorland tracks and the vast majority of riding is across wild East Radnorshire moorland with fantastic views. Event organisers proudly boast of no forestry roads, no bike-carrying bogs and very little farmland.
Howies Dyfi Enduro
– It was the eleventh year of the Dyfi Enduro in 2012 and it has become a highlight in the Welsh MTB event calendar. It takes place in May and this year saw the 700+ entries sell out in less than 2 hours of being released. You gotta be quick to be in it! Starting in Machynllyth the 60km route heads out into the Dyfi Forests best hidden trails. It has a reputation for long unrelenting fire road climbs and long rough technical descents. The events complimented by it’s festival vibe which includes a wealth of camping spots, great food and drink, DJ’s and things for children to do too.
Rider write up:2012 overview from Shem ap Geraint
Howies Coed y Brenin Enduro
– First hosted in 2011 it’s a newcomer to the event scene but it’s organized by the same people responsible for the Dyfi Enduro so you can be sure you’re in for a treat. It’s a fantastic 55km course (with the option of a shorter 30km cut-off). There’s some long hard climbs but you are rewarded with Coed y Brenin’s best singletrack descents (some of which aren’t usually open to the public).
Rider write up:2011's inagural event overview from Patrick Bird
CRC MTB Marathon Series –
2012 is the 13th season of the Chain Reaction Cycles MTB Marathon Series. They offer a broad range of courses and locations so enthusiasts, novices and intermediates alike can join. Whatever your skill or fitness level, they will have the right course length and level of difficulty for your ability with the choice of course length to progress over time. Typical distances range from 25km to 100km. Events are held across the UK with multiple events throughout the year in Wales.
Back Mountain 3 Days
– As the name suggests this is a 3 day bike stage endurance event taking place in the stunning Brecon Beacons. It takes place in June and is only open to a limited number of riders to maintain a level of intimacy. Across the three days riders are asked to cover a rather impressive 160km (or more), which traverses moorland, forests, valleys, hilltops and scale steep cliffs both ways. There will almost certainly be hike a bike’ sections for all riders.
Rider write up:2011 overview from Josh Ibbett
Other Endurance events worth a mention:
Mawddach Gold Rush
Dyfi Winter Warmer
Fetish UK Gravity Enduro -
This is the first national enduro series and in 2012 they have taken enduro racingto the next level with five rounds spread across the UK. In 2012 there are two rounds held in Wales, one at the awesome Coed y Brenin trail centre and the other at technical Dyfi Forest. It’s neither a downhill race nor a cross country race, but a mix of the two. The timed sections are usually pointing down but there are short climbs and flat sections too. These events have a real mountain bikers vibe to them. And where else can your everyday rider rub shoulders and compete with the likes of Tracey Moseley and Neil Donohue.
Rider write up:2012 Coed y Brenin participant Anthony Oram
WDMBA - The WDMBA is a group set up in 2008 to promote downhill mountain bike racing in Wales. The WDMBA in Association with Gravity Sport LTD have released the dates for its 2012 Downhill MTB Race Series. The courses cater for riders of all abilities with various line options available. Whatever your reason is for attending the series, be it for the serious competition or just to have the experience of racing DH, they aim to make it as fun as possible for everyone.
Halo British Downhill Series
– This series is your chance to rub shoulders with the likes of Steve Peat, Danny Hart and Gee Atherton. There’s a total of six races with two each in Scotland, England and Wales. A prize fund of £15k cash will ensure the top riders take all the risks to thrill the crowds whilst the other riders aged between twelve and fifty years of age plus will race their own age groups for over £35k worth of prizes.
To enter you will need to have a valid British Cycling membership and a Race License. There’s plenty for spectators at these events with camping, a large marquee, food, refreshments, retail outlets and a pro pits.
Welsh Ride Thing -
I’m certainly not aware of another event like it in the UK. Participants take on a 3 day bikepacking trip devising their own route which integrates a number of allotted grid references. If you’ve never heard of the phrase bikepacking before it’s sometimes called off road touring or cycle camping. It all comes down to loading up your bike and heading off on a self propelled, 2 wheeled, over night adventure. Bikepacking was our April challenge you can find out a little more about it by reading our article.
Rider write up: Those a whole forum dedicated to the WRT and bike packing http://bearbonesbikepacking.co.uk/phpBB3/index.php
Real Ale Wobble
– From the people who brought you the World Bog Snorkelling championships, comes the Real Ale Wobble. Perfect for those not wanting to take their mountain biking too seriously. A choice of 15, 25 or 35 miles distances is available over two days. Free real ale is provided for riders to quaff at checkpoints so you can be sure all routes will be off road!
Red Kite Mountain Bike Bash
– 3 days of fun and exhilarating guided riding catering for all abilities and with the opportunity to try out more unusual activities such as mountain bike chariot racing and chainless downhill.