We’ve spent the morning in the Bikemagic office pondering over the must-ride events in 2011. And here’s the list we’ve come up with. Now, we’re not suggesting you ride each of these events, just one will do, but hopefully the list will give you some ideas if you’re pondering how best to spend your riding time this year.
We’ve stuck to UK-based events for this article and there’s something for everyone, from trail rides to stage races and XC races.
24 Hours of Exposure – 7 May 2011
Debuting last year this event has quickly gone down in enduro circles as a must-ride event. And we should know, we were there, suffering just as much as everyone else. A fantastic course, great organisation and unique format make it one of the best 24-hour races out there. Provided you’re not put off by having to ride it all on your own that is. A 12-hour category has been introduced if the thought of riding around the clock puts you off.
Montane Kielder 100 – 3 September 2011
Going into its third year, the UK’s only 100 mile single lap enduro is aiming higher than ever before in 2011. With the entry limit increased to nearly 1,000, there’s even more chance for more of us to enjoy the unique course and atmosphere of racing around the Kielder Forest.
Bontrager Twentyfour 12 – 23/24 July 2011
In our opinion this is one of the best 24-hour races, and should be right at the top of your list if you’re planning just one big event this year. A fabulous course weaves around the stunning Newnham Park in Plymouth and the multiple categories cater for all abilities and desires. Due to demand solo places have been increased and unfortunately there will be no Torchbearer category this year.
Trail Break MaXx Exposure – date to be confirmed
There’s no other event like it. Starting in the dark from the cliffs of Eastbourne a challenging and demanding 80 mile course awaits riders as they make their way to the finish at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park using the South Downs Way.
Howies Dyfi Enduro – 1 May 2011
It’s one of the most popular enduro events on the calendar and as such always sells out quickly, so if this ride is going in your calendar, don’t delay in getting your entry in. A course in the Machynlleth hills of West Wales that is at times hellishly tortuous but equally rewarding when the gradient points down, this non-competitive event won’t fail to plaster a smile across your face.
Gore Bike Wear TransWales stage race -13-20 August 2011
The UK’s only stage race is also one of the toughest events you’ll ever challenge yourself to. A proper hard course around Wales in August means challenging weather but it never dampens the spirits of the several hundred competitors who take part, the atmosphere of the week-long race unlike any you’ll experience elsewhere.
Brighton Big Dog – Date TBC
A sell-out event in 2010 the Stanmer Park-based 6-hour enduro event is one of the more popular on the calendar. One of the best courses we’ve ever ridden, laden with tree-lined singletrack and super fast when dry with what seems like very little climbing at the time (though there actually is quite a lot) you won’t fail to have a load of laughs in this event. Take it on in the solo category or talk a few mates into doing it as a team.
Torq Rough Ride – 12 June 2011
The long-running Rough Ride makes a welcome return for 2011 with its laidback approach to enduro riding with a pacy moorland course that not only offers a stern test but rewards with spectacular views of the Welsh Marches.
Gorrick 100 Enduro – 1 May 2011
Despite being a mud-fest when we rode it in 2010, it still ranks as a highlight of the year. Another well organised event from the experienced Gorrick crew with a tight, twisty and demanding course cut into the Swinley Forest hillside.
Bristol Bikefest – 11/12 June 2011
Still rates as one of our all-time favourite events this one. The Bristol Bikesfest is a 12-hour event around the flat but technically challenge and enticingly fast Ashton Court course in Bristol, with a shorter but no less hard 6-hour event following on the Sunday after the main event.
10 Under the Ben – 21 May 2011
Head to the Nevis Range in Scotland for the 10-hour mountain bike marathon that is sure to test riders to the limit on 21 May for an experience you won’t forget. It’s now in its seventh year and the format remains, with solo or teams of 2, 3 of 4 taking to the tough course.
Bikemagic Demo Series – Various dates
Well, we couldn’t mention a list of must-do events without a little plug for the Bikemagic Demo Day, could we now. With five dates across the UK this year and bikes from Specialized, Giant and Trek, it’s the only demo series worth going to. Go check out the dates and venues near you now at the following link.