Wow, what an event! For the first time in its five-year history the ‘100’ series left its birthplace of Wales and headed up north to Selkirk, Scotland. And it was fantastic. Almost 700 riders made it to the Rugby Club in Selkirk and we saw more or less the same number of riders coming over the finish line with a huge smile on their face. Everybody loved the physically and technically demanding course and, judging by the response we had from everybody we had the chance to talk to, it was one of the best courses ever used in an event. To top things off we had glorious weather too and lots of local supporters cheering riders on when they were passing. It was real marathon riding.
The course was designed by Peter Laing and he certainly exceeded all expectations by combining demanding climbs, huge amounts of challenging single track (uphill, level and descending) and downhill bits you normally find only in specialist events. We grabbed a few familiar faces and asked them about their adventure in the hills around Selkirk – Rory Hitchens from USE said, “This was one of the best days mountain biking I had for years!” Guy Kesteven from What Mountain Bike agreed: “One of the best courses I have ever been on.” World-renowned adventure racer Gary Tompsett said, “I have been riding bikes for more or less 20 years but that was the best course ever.”
The guys from the Rugby Club, headed by president John Smail, did a great job in helping to set up the event village and in looking after everybody over the weekend. Only the dedicated help from Peter, the Forestry Commission, the Mountain Rescue and ambulances and everybody at the Rugby Club made this event possible and turn it into this huge success. We think we can safely say that if you didn’t make it up to Selkirk then you missed out big time. But no need to worry, there is still one more to come.
With three of four UK events out of the way there is only one more event to look forward to this year. The final round of the Merida 100 series is in Ruthin, North Wales on 18/19 September. There are still places available but the remaining ones will be given on a first-come first-served basis. So if you have not entered yet there are two ways you can get yourself an entry. Either head for the on-line entry page and submit your entry. Please don’t forget to send your cheque straight away as your entry will only be complete once we have received both. If you prefer the paper way then just send an SAE to: Merida 100 MTB Marathon Enduro Series, Attn: John Lloyd, Builth Wells Cycles, Smithfield Road, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3AN.
In other Merida-related news, a selection of 2004 bikes from the travelling Merida test fleet will shortly be up for sale – keep an eye on www.mtb-marathon.co.uk for details. If you’re not familiar with the range, check out www.merida-bikes.co.uk.
Watch out also for dates and details of the 2005 Merida 100 series – it’ll definitely be heading back to Selkirk…Don’t forget to check out BIKemagic’s Selkirk Merida 100 photos!