The Kona Mash-Up debuted in 2008, with its ride-all-day, trail-sessioning format proving popular with riders. For 2009 there’ll be twice as many Mash-Up events, or to put it another way, two – a summer one on 13 June and a winter one on 5 December. And the introduction of a revised timing setup should sort out the issues that the original event experienced.
Both of the 2009 events will be based at Glyncorrwg in Afan Argoed Forest Park and will once again use the Whites Level and July trails. If you’re unfamiliar with the format, here it is in a nutshell: Ride the whole route, take as long as you like, but give it full beans on the timed sections (which include a climb for the Enduro category and an extra trickier descent for the Technical category). Repeat sections if you like, you’ve got all day. Your accumulated fastest times for each section decide your overall position.
The Enduro route includes Whites Level (excluding the black run) plus the July trail, with timed sections on the opening Whites climb and a bunch of singletrack and DH sections (which strangely get much harder work when you know the clock’s running). Total riding distance is around 40km, so there’s definitely scope for getting round more than once, and a couple of the timed sections can be conveniently repeated too.
If you opt for the Technical category you’ll just ride the Whites Level loop, including the black run, but only your times on the singletrack and downhill sections will count. The black run will be timed with a DH race-style light-beam system, with live times coming up as you finish the section. The other sections will use a mixture of chip and manual timing.
Kona Bicycles has signed up as title sponsor once again. “Last year’s event, even with the hick-ups we had, was one of the best events we’ve been involved in,” says Ben Gaby from Kona Bicycles. “The Mash-Up has a relaxed format which gives racers and riders the chance to put the effort in when necessary, and to enjoy the trails in a more leisurely way in between.” Besides Kona Bicycles, Skyline Cycles, Sombrio, Torq, Saris, Cycle-ops, Ritchey, The Dropoff Café and MBUK are supporting the event, and will contribute to the huge prize pot.
Both event weekends will start on the Saturday, with the competitive riding happening all day and being followed up with a finishing party at the Drop Off. Expect an array of trade stands and demo products available during the day. Those all-important dates are 13 June and 5 December 2009, and you can find out everything you need to know (including online entry) at www.konaworld.uk.com/mash-up/.