17/18 May will be a big weekend of bike action in Northumberland’s Kielder Forest, with two events going on in the 155,000 acre forest. First is a round of the five-event Saab Salomon Avalanche Enduro, taking place in England for the first time (there was a round in Glentress last year).
The Enduro format is a particularly interesting one, with a bunch of timed, generally downhill, stages. The times of all of them are aggregated to decide the results, but the twist is that you have to ride between them and your start times are fixed – take too long to get there and the clock starts running without you. The timing should mean that getting between stages won’t present too many problems, but obviously it’s all extra mileage and associated fatigue. One thing’s for sure, a full-on DH bike isn’t going to be the weapon of choice…
The Avalanche Enduro will use sections of Kielder’s new Deadwater trail. With a summit at 2,000ft, it’s the highest purpose-built MTB trail in England. Practise is on Saturday, the race is Sunday, and if you’ve got space in your diary to take on the other four Enduro rounds across Europe then there’s a Saab car up for grabs for the overall series winner. There’s a €7,000 prize fund just for the Kielder round, though. There’s space for 350 competitors, so get in quick.
Saturday 17 May will also see the Kielder Border Raid, part of the Bike Place Marathon Series. It’s a 50km enduro through the Border countryside between Kielder and Newcastleton.
Further details and entry information for the Avalanche Enduro can be found at www.avalanchetrophy.com. More about the Bike Place Marathon at www.thebikeplace.co.uk, or call 01434 250457. And general Kielder information is at www.forestry.gov.uk/NorthEastEngland.