Beastway, the mid-week evening cross-country mountain bike series, stretches back 19 years.
Moved from its original venue Eastway, when the Olympics forced its closure, to the brand spanking new Redbridge Cycle Circuit (or Hog Hill as everyone knows it) in recent years, the series is unique in being the only mountain bike race held inside the M25 barrier.
And it continues to be hugely popular with the many mountain bikers that reside within the capital, as I found out on a hot and sweaty evening last night when I lined up with nearly 100 other competitors. And what a mix they were, everyone from shaven legged hardtail riding racers to baggy short wearing just-there-for-fun types. And everyone in-between.
A fantastic course made up mostly of singletrack ensured it was a fun race from start to finish. Making the most of the venue, which presents a small footprint on the map, with singletrack weaving left and right through the trees and skirted around the perimeter of the facility, it was huge fun and entertaining all the way around. Several demanding climbs kept the legs burning but the jumps and berms were ample reward.
Mountain bike events always exhibit a relaxed atmosphere, and last night was no different. The fast racers mixed well with the people there just to ride for fun, with polite passing the order of the day.
For any mountain bikers living and working in the London area, I urge you to get along to the next round of Beastway. It’s every Wednesday and gets going at 7.30pm, so you’ve plenty of time to get there from work. We’ll be there next week, so we’ll see you there.