Events Roundup

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British Heart Foundation’s Heart Sponsored Randonnee Challenge – 20 May 2006

This popular 100 mile ride across the South Downs Way is back. Riders will realise why this event is deemed “the toughest one day bike ride across the South Downs”, as the organisrs have managed to cram in 10,000ft of climbing. Ouch!

Setting off from Winchester the riders will traverse across the entire South Downs Way, finishing in Eastbourne. Worry not, as a less imtimidating 65 mile ride is available, stopping short of Eastbourne and instead finishing at Devil’s Dyke. A 35 mile route starting from Devil’s Dyke is also available.

Details email eventstw@bhf.org.uk, or 01892 893917

Bristol Bike Fest – 10/11 June 2006

On the BM calendar, we’ve scribbled the 10/11 June as reserved for the Bike Fest, one of our fave events from last year. With a new title sponsor, Ritchey Components, the event promises to be much bigger and better.

There’s been a considerable change to the format which has worked well for the last few years. Saturday will now be the Team 12 hour event, with Sunday reserved for soloists in the European Solo Championship.

The organisers have also launched a new website where you can download an entry form from.

Details www.bristolbikefest.com, or 0117 966 0743

Salzkammergut Trophy – July 15 2006

The biggest marathon in Austria is the 200km Salzkammergut Trophy. But fear not, there’s a 27, 53 and 100km, and the event organisers aim to encourage newcomers to the sport to have a go. There’s also the Coca-Cola Junior Trophy for riders aged between four and 14, taking place later the same day.

Set in Bad Goisern, the route makes use of the area’s 1,000km+ of MTB trails and up to 60 marked routes. It’s an awesome backdrop to ride against, with breathtaking mountains, crystal clear lakes and dense forests.

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Marin Winter Series – 22 January 2006

It’s your last chance to take part in the Marin Winter Series this Sunday. Staged in Thetford forest the series has so far delivered plenty of fast and furious racing, with all the final series trophies still up for grabs in each category. There were over 200 people at the last round, and organisers are hoping for another good turnout this weekend, especially as the forecast is a tad warmer than the last round.

You’ll also have the chance to get up and close with the 2006 Marins and Whytes as the Marin Demo truck will be turning up.

Pre-register now for £15 or enter on the day £20, entry forms are available from www.thetford-mtb-racing.co.uk

Details www.thetford-mtb-racing.co.uk or 01908 306983

Clic24 – 13/14 May 2006

Now in its fifth year and having generated a staggering £74,000, the Clic24 event is back, and entry forms are now available. 500 spaces are available on a first come first served, so be quick. The event raises money for childrens’ cancer and leukaemia charity CLIC Sargent.

Using trails across the Mendip Hills, Somerset, the organisers will be sticking to the popular 10-mile course used last year. The course is tough with 1,000ft of climbing, but plenty of fast singletrack puts the smiles back on.

Event Organiser Neil Wilkins said, “we are really excited about the event this year because we have a proven top notch course and superb facilities and if we get the same weather that we have enjoyed in the past four years, 2006 will be the best CLIC24 yet””.

Great Lakeland Challenge – 19 May 2006

Possibly the toughest charity challenge in England, competitors will, in 12 hours, canoe 10.5 miles across Lake Windermere, ride 26.5 miles over Hardknott and Wrynose Pass (1,200ft of climbing), then finally trekking up Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England.

Over £180,000 was raised last year, which all goes to the Wooden Spoon charity underprivileged children and young adults. Wooden Spoon chief executive Geoff Morris says, “I never cease to be amazed by the sheer dedication of the nurses, investment bankers, engineers, IT specialists, motor industry executives and plumbers who take part in the Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge and push themselves so incredibly hard to help us make a difference in children’s lives.

To take part teams must raise at least £4,400. Each team will be supplied with a Ford vehicle for the event, as well as being kitted out with all the clothing and kit they’ll need, as well as accommodation and food.

Details email challenge@eventsunlimited.co.uk, or 01889 582889

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Schwinn-Willen Hospice Cycle Fusion – 4 February 2006

Help raise money for the Nautilus and Willen Hospice by taking part in an indoor cycling challenge. 70 static indoor bikes will simulate mountain climbing and riding across great terrains, with the Schwinn International and UK National team on hand to help out.

Teams of up to three can take part. You’ll need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £50 per team. There are two available sessions, 10am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm, and there’s no stopping you taking part in both sessions if you’re keen.

The Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes provice specialist care for people with cancer and other life limiting conditions.

Details doddsa@willen-hospice.org.uk or 01908 306983

Fort William World Cup – 26-28 May 2006

Fort William will kick start this years world cup as the first round of the UCI Mountain Bike World series heads to Scotland.

Building on the success earned since the first triple UCI World Cup in 2003, Mike Jardine from Rare Management said: ‘It’s going to be tough to build on the amazing weekend in September 2005 with the dream British double win on the Sunday. But every year the Fort William World Cup has got bigger and better, so in 2006 we’ll have to keep pushing forward. We’ve got such a good team and the spectator support is so strong that I’m sure Fort William will once again deliver.’

It’ll also be a chance for the organisers to ensure they’re fully prepared for the World Championships when it comes to Scotland in 2007, the first time the World Champs will be staged in the UK.

Geilo Festival of Cycling – 22-30 July 2006

The Geilo ski resort in the Norwegian mountains will host the inaugural 8-day Festival of Cycling. There’ll be plenty on offer for all, from the Norwegian cup races in Marathon, Downhill and Road, and Rune Hoydahl will be hosting his Mountain Bike School for children. And riders not wanting to race will be catered for with a range of non-competitive events.

Geilo is located 250kms between Oslo and Bergen. There are flights and ferries available to these two cities.

Open24 – 29/30 July 2006

Designed to turn on those riders who like their rides hard, the Open24 combines MTBing, trekking, swimming, canoeing and other challenges. The event is pretty full-on, but is structured so riders wanting an easier time can still have fun and take part in the weekend.

Event organiser James Thurlow said: “The Yorkshire Dales has so much to offer the Adventure Racer with the natural environment providing the ideal playground”.

The event is open to male, female and mixed pairs, and costs £200. Though still being planned, the organisers are confident the event will be bigger and better than last years.

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Trailbreak rides – 7 January 2006

Want the chance to ride somewhere new or with a different bunch of riders? The Evans Cycles Trail Ride this Saturday starts from Bramley and will take in some of the highlights of the North Downs. Three distances will be on offer, up to 33 miles, but beginners will be looked after with a more sedate 15 mile route.

Last time out the ride attracted over 300 people, so this ride will fill up quickly. Online entries will close by the end of Thursday, and entry on the line is also available. There’s good car parking and you’ll be able to get a good meal when the rides over.

After a short break the Navigator winter series gets going, with the first round on 14 January on the Lambourn Downs. Combining navigational skills with the need for fast legs and good bike handling skills, the Navigators offer a unique challenge for competitive riders.

Details 0118 976 2491; www.trailbreak.co.uk.

Adventure Travel and Sports Show – 13-15 January 2006

Coming to Olympia, London, the Adventure Travel and Sports Show will be packed full of holiday ideas for your summer holiday or grand plans for the seasoned traveller. Over 250 travel providers specialising in trips from helicopter rides through the Grand Canyon, exploring the Pyramids or relaxing in a luxury spa, plus much more besides.

There’ll also be 100 talks from speakers including Benedict Allen, Rebecca Stephens and George Band, all free, and a drop-in centre will answer any questions about travelling abroad. Tickets are £8 if bought in advance or £10 on the door.

Transrockies – 6-12 August 2006

Unarguably one of the hardest mtb events on the calendar, the Transrockies has nearly sold out since entry forms were available last November. Over 350 competitors from 16 countries will tackle the 600km course, including some of the toughest and most challenging trails in the Southern Canadian Rocky Mountain area.

2005 was the first time in its four-year history that the TransRockies Challenge reached its full capacity of 175 2-person teams and they were treated a week of epic riding and tough Rocky Mountain conditions on a new route.

We’re running months ahead of last year’s registration,” said TransRockies Event Director Aaron McConnell. “We’re really gratified since it tells us that riders are recognizing all the hard work which our staff and volunteers have put into building this race.”

So, find a partner and get signed up.

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Hell of the North Cotswolds – 9 April 2006

This ever popular classic event, promoted jointly by Winchcombe CC and Cheltenham & County CC will be held on Sunday 9th April 2006 starting from the picturesque Cotswold Town of Winchcombe with a mass start at 9am.

Last year the event attracted over 1,100 riders. 2006 is the twenty-second year of the event and there will be a commemorative medal awarded to all riders who successfully complete the course.

Following the phenomenal success of last year’s award Marin will again present a brand new Marin B-17 Trail Hardtail bike (worth £675) to be drawn out of the hat for one lucky under 18 year old who completes either course.

There will be a 100km route for the really keen riders and a 50km route for those who know how tough the off-road Cotswold Hills can be! The routes will be handed out in the form of written instructions and also on a printed map. The event will use a route consisting of Tarmac roads and bridleways including everything from technical rocky singletrack to rutted, possibly muddy, tracks and will offer a challenge to all levels of rider. Refreshments will be available at approximately half distance.

All riders must wear a helmet whilst participating in the event. Riders will be identified by a self adhesive number that will be affixed to the helmet.

Due to the ever-increasing popularity of this event there will be no entries accepted on the day and all entries must be received by Saturday 25 March 2006. There will be a maximum limit of 1000 riders and entries will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. It is recommended that you get your entry in early to avoid disappointment.

Entry fees are: Riders over 18 years of age, £10.00; youth riders (under 18 years of age on 9 April 2006) £5.00. Last year the event raised money that was donated to various charities including Cancer Research and the Air Ambulance. Entry forms will be available on our websites from 1 January. -Jon Whyte

Details John Taylor 01242 603234 or Pat Alexander 012424 528815; HONCWinchcombe@aol.com; Cheltenham & County CC or Winchcombe CC.

Gran Canaria MTB Marathon – 18 March 2006

After a successful event premiere with 70 participants from 11 nations, Gran Canaria will present its second mountain bike marathon on 18 March next year. This time, the participants can not only combine their start into a new MTB season with a training camp but also collect points, because the Gran Canaria marathon is the opener of two major race series.

After the inaugural event this spring ,Gran Canaria’s mountain bike patron and marathon organiser Petra Wonisch has been working untiringly to promote Gran Canaria as a mountain bike destination and to make the island’s race a fixed date in the mountain bike calendar. Her commitment was rewarded this fall: at the Spanish mountain bike festival Festibike the Gran Canaria Marathon could showcase a new main sponsor, the Spanish department store group El Corte Ingles. With this strong partner on the side, the second edition of the international marathon – concomitant the Canary Championships – is saved. The winners will receive prizes to the total amount of 10.000 Euros.

Gran Canaria’s marathon presents the “miniature continent” at its best. The demanding 80km long racing circuit from Maspalomas to Roque Nublo with a total of 2,500m in elevation gain is full of breathtaking views and scenic highlights. The route leads through several climate and vegetation zones; it passes reddish canyons, spectacular rock formations, century old pine and laurel woods, striking plateaus and deep ravines. Alternatively the participants can chose the 45km distance with 1,200m in elevation gain.

If you think this sounds appealing, factor this date into your season planning and block a week of vacation, because the organisers offer great marathon-training camp-packages. For instance, one week accommodation in a bungalow (triple occupancy) incl. airport shuttle and marathon start fee costs 199 Euros per person (excl. flight); one week in a 4 star hotel (double occupancy, half board, transfer and marathon, excl. flight) costs 399 Euros per person. -Sonja Güldner-Hamel

Details Petra Wonisch +34 928 644 389; info@canary-bike.com; www.canary-bike.com

Twentyfour12 – 22/23 July 2006

Keith Bontrager has long been associated with endurance competitions, from stage to long distance racing. Most especially he has concentrated on 24hr races, his goal of successfully racing 50 events before the age of 50 having been surpassed by some way.

It should come as no surprise then, to find that Keith is to become a technical director to a new 24hr race. By taking the most successful elements of his favourite races, improving the areas less popular and adding new elements, he has come up with a more diverse race structure than any previous 24hr event; a 12hr and 24hr race on the same course at the same time.

“After racing in as many of these as I have I’m looking forward to finally helping put a race on. I know what I’ve liked in a 24 hour race and what I haven’t, so it’ll be a challenge to put as much of the good stuff together in one event. It will definitely be fast and fun, designed for the racer in every respect.”

The completely new, purpose built venue of Lodgewood Park, Ellesmere in Shropshire, is a totally private estate and has a fully serviced campsite complete with water and of course, enough toilets and showers for all. The Twentyfour12 will take place here on the 22nd and 23rd of July 2006, with both 24hr and 12hr races being run concurrently, both races starting at midday on Saturday.

With the 12hr race finishing at midnight, it gives those riders unfamiliar with the team relay format and night racing in particular, a chance to try it out without sacrificing their chances of taking a top spot; only a few hours of darkness come at the end of their event. They can then enjoy the atmosphere of a 24hr event at their leisure and not worry about that 3am wake-up call! -Brian Buckle

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The Cape Epic – 22 to 29 April 2006

The Cape Epic is the largest full-service mountain bike stage race in the world.

The epic will kick off for the third time on 22 April 2006 in Knysna and lead over 900 mountain bikers from across the globe through the magnificent scenery of the Western Cape. To deserve the honourable title ‘CAPE EPIC Finisher’, they will have to ride more than 900 gruelling kilometres and climb some 16000 vertical metres during their adventurous eight-day journey which will end on 29 April 2006 at the Spier Wine Estate just outside Cape Town.

On their way, they will see wide open African plains, majestic mountains, deep ravines, arid semi-deserts, indigenous forests, spectacular coastlines and flourishing vineyards.

For 2006, the Cape Epic is the first ever team mountain bike race at which UCI points will be awarded – the points will be shared
between the two riders in the team. It is also the
only MTB race in Africa to feature on the UCI calendar for 2006 and
only the second cycling race in South Africa to achieve this status,
after the Giro del Capo (a 5-day road stage race).

Last year, the Cape Epic literally sold out over night in less than five hours. Therefore, the organisers introduced a new public lottery for registration into Cape Epic 2006 which gave everyone the same chance to snatch a start place. However, if you can’t get an entry or don’t have the legs to do the full 900k race, then the Cape Epic Companion Programme might be of interest. Fully supported groups of 15 will follow parts of the route once the main race has passed through.

Details www.cape-epic.com or 27 21 426 4373

Tour de Kruger and the Great Limpop Transfrontier Park – 25 to 30 July 2006

A mountain bike event through Mazambique’s Limpopo National Park and the Makuleke/Pafuri region of northern Kruger National Park in South Africa. Approximately 350km of off-road cycling.

Monies raised will directly benefit Peace Parks Foundation and the Children in the Wilderness Programme.

Details www.tourdekruger.com or 27 11 257 5075

Hebridean Challenge Adventure race – 3 to 7 July 2006

The classic British adventure race, the Hebridean Challenge, is set to return to the magnificent Outer Hebrides of Scotland from the 3-7 July 2006. This unique race has grown in size and prominence, as the sport of adventure racing has evolved rapidly. This year up to 26 teams and 6 elite pairs will be able to push themselves to their limits.

As always the event will be a relay style, allowing teams of four or five, and pairs, to complete the 700km course in five days, with overnight stops at community halls along the island chain.

The route will involve hill running, mountain biking, road biking, swimming and sea kayaking, although as it’s a relay, teams choose which member completes each activity and normally teams have specialists at each sport.

Details www.hebrideanchallenge.com or 01851 870716

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Trail Break Navigator Races – 13 November to 7 May

Navigator racing events are 3.5 hour and 2.5 hour open trail navigation competitions based at several great locations around the south of England.

Open to everyone from beginner to expert, these events offer the perfect solutions for anyone wanting events to keep their fitness up over the winter.

The concept is simple – all you have to do is visit as many of the marked checkpoints as possible in the allotted time, all permissible paths can be used and it’s the competitors’ choice as to which checkpoints they visit and by what route. Points are gained by visiting checkpoints and the winner is the person with the most points, simple. The checkpoints furthest away of at the top of hills are of course worth more than others that are right next to the start point. Keeping an eye on the time is essential as penalty points are awarded for every minute riders arrive back late

Top competitors look to almost clear the course but beginners or new riders will be happy to reach half a dozen and get back in time.

So fitness, quick thinking, navigation, and good riding skills all go to build a good competitor.

Riders carry an electronic tag that records the riders visiting the check points and the time taken to complete. This is downloaded at the finish so your results are instantaneous.

Good facilities with great catering are standard at all Trail Break Navigator events along with prizes for all cats.

Give a Navigator event a go this winter, with either 2.5 or 3.5 hours to head for you know you’ll get a good work out and with up to 200 riders to compete against, you know there’ll be plenty riding at your level.

First of the Winter 2005-6 challenges is on 13 November at Kintbury in Berkshire – easy access from the A4 (M4). Event registration opens at 8.30am and riders can start from 9.00–10.30. You can enter on the day but we recommend you enter through the web site and read all about the events at the same time.

Other events, including mid week night events are:

  • 1 Feb, Woolhampton: Two hour night navigator based at the Rowbarge Inn
  • 15 Feb, Wantage: Using the Ridgeway and surrounding hills. Based from Letcombe Regis hall
  • 26 Feb, Bramley: Using the North Downs and based from Bramley Village hall
  • 26 March, Kingsclere: Using the downs on thr south edge of the Thames Valley
  • 12 April, Goring Heath: Two hour night navigator based from the King Charles Inn
  • 7 May, Princess Risborough: Using the Chilterns and based from Princess Risborough school
-Phil Harrison

Details www.trailbreak.co.uk or 0118 976 2491

Strathpuffer 24, Strathpeffer – 14/15 January 2006

The Strathpuffer 24 is a 24 hour race for solo riders and teams of 2 or 4. It will be held on 14/15 January 2006 near Strathpeffer, a pretty spa town just north of Inverness. This event is being filmed by Triple Echo Productions for broadcast on BBC Scotland’s Adventure Show.

The course is in the forest at Castle Leod, previously used for a round of the World Mountain Bike Championships. It will be demanding but sensible, incorporating both single and double track that should be rideable in all weathers.

All times will be electronically recorded, employing the SPORTident system used at many top events. There will be ample cover for teams and their support as well as catering on-site and access to service facilities and spares.

Because of the support of many local and national organisations, this event offers competitors a unique opportunity of an extreme challenge at a low cost. The £24 entry must represent the best pain/price ratio ever!

£1 per hour – a bargain for mean, mean riders! -Square Wheels

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Soggy Bottom Series, Newnham Park

The Soggy Bottom Series returns to Newnham Park for 2005/06.

Five races at one of the UK’s top race venues, with live electronic timing, good prize package, a chilled out atmosphere, good courses and – new for this year – National Ranking Points.

The series offers five different courses drawn from the 25km of available trails at the private Newnham Park estate. Each course will be about 5km, some with river crossings and some without, some with mud and some without and as usual the great variety of singletrack, forest and moorland that Newnham offers.

New this year are the prizes for fastest and slowest laps, the Chain Gang trophy which will be awarded to the highest ranked team over the series (best three results count – big lemon drizzle cake at each round), plus there will be entry discounts for BC racing licence holders.

Dates are:

  • 13 November 13
  • Monday 2 January
  • 12 February
  • 12 March
  • 9 April

Last year the Plymouth series attracted 200+ riders per round from across the South of England. Particularly encouraging was the attendance of younger riders with over 50 Juvenile/Youth riders per round last season. With the support of Trek, Certini, The Bike Cellar, Shred, XCracer.com, Torq energy and Southfork Cycles we hope for even more this season. -Martyn Salt

Details www.xcracer.com.

Salisbury Plain Challenge, Erlestoke – 8 January 2006

After an absence in the 2005 MTB Calendar, the Salisbury Plain Challenge will be making a welcome return in January 2006.

Two new routes will be available so all riders from the newcomers to the keenest enthusiasts should be challenged by their chosen course.

Salisbury Plain Challenge veterans may notice a slight difference in the format of this event from previous years. This is a non-competitive event, but all riders will have their time recorded and published on the SPAMbiking site.

Each route will have:

  • a well marked course
  • outriders and static marshals
  • 4x4s to get you home if you break down
  • first aid on standby

Available to all riders:

  • Free bananas
  • Energy Drink Station at the half way point

The start will be at Erlestoke (opposite the prison), five miles south of Devizes, Wiltshire. The 50km ride will start at 10am and the 30km at 10.15am – there’ll be a rider briefing five minutes before each start. -SPAMBiking

NEMBOS/VC Nouveau MTB Orienteering, Guisborough – 30 October

NEMBOS is still in its infancy, as this is the second season for this series of Mountain Bike Orienteering (or Trailquest) events. However, its roots can be found within the Trail Cyclist’s Association’s previous Northern League, which had been an annual series of events for a number of years. Due to the MBO/Trailquest league in North Yorkshire (organised by Eborienteers), the one in Cumbria (organised by Cross Cumbria Cyclists) and the one in the Peak District (organised by Dark & White Challenge Events), I felt that there was a need for something similar for the North East of England.

The final event of the year is on Sunday 30 October. The event returns to a classic area on the Northern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, with Guisborough being used as a base for this event being organised by CLOK. This event is also part of the TCA’s National League. -Duncan Sellers

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