Words: Race organisation
This weekend sees the Schwalbe MTB Marathon series head to Marshbrook, Shropshire, for the 2nd round of the Schwalbe MTB Marathon Series powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport as well as the opening round of the SCHWALBE Road Sportive Series. The event will be based at the Shropshire Hills Mountain Bike & Outdoor Pursuit Centre from Friday 12th July onwards.
The weekend line-up – 13-14th July 2013
The July event will host not just one but again two different cycling events – one for skinny tyres and one for knobblies. Contrary to our ‘usual’ running order this weekend will see the MTB-Marathons go first while the road sportives will bring the weekend to a close.
So Saturday’s focus will be on the Schwalbe MTB Marathons (start 10am on Saturday morning) which will have three different distances on offer. John has again paired up with some local trail muscle and has put together three fantastic courses which show off the best trails and scenery the area has to offer.
The marathon courses
The route leads initially through a small area of forestry, then up onto the Long Mynd (meaning long mountain), the long route, immediately descending off the Long Mynd, making its way to the Stiperstones, a hill west of the Long Mynd, here you will ride some interesting single and twin tracks up and over the hill, after a short section of tarmac to get your breath back, you soon reach the Forest of Eastridge, which has been used in the past for NPS races. Here John has managed to replace some of the road sections back from Eastridge with some extra sweet trail.
After enjoying the technical single track descending, and beating the tough climbs you return to the Long Mynd an area of outstanding natural beauty, where there is an endless amount of exciting single tracks and bridleways, interspersed with short stretches on minor roads, and then, just when you think it can’t get any better the course finishes with the longest single track descent in Shropshire, possibly the longest in England.
For further details on the 2nd round please check out the Marshbrook event page.
After the MTB Marathon finishes things will get busy in the Station Inn right next to the start and finish line. The guys will be serving some great food and drinks as well as having some live music for everybody to enjoy.
Sunday will be all about the Schwalbe Road Sportive which will offer two fantastic courses – a tough yet rewarding 85mile long course which has 2,800meters of climbing in it and the super scenic 50mile short course with around 1,700meters of climbing. Both rides have an open start from 8.30 – 9.30am on Sunday and entries are still available. To find out more on the opening sportive of the season (including maps and course details) please go to the Marshbrook event page on the Schwalbe Sportive event website.
What else is going on?
Friday to Monday camping at the 20 acre event village is free with hot showers and you are welcome to bring your family and friends and make a weekend of it. There will be on-site entertainment with live bands at the site’s own pub and a BBQ with fresh locally sourced produce.
The “Meal of Champions” will be available from both the cafe and pub after the Sportive and the Marathon; these indoor havens will be open pretty much all weekend serving breakfasts from 7am, then lunches and evening meals. The pub even has its own locally brewed beer, aptly named ‘Trailblazer’.
There is post ride massage, medical and mechanical support to make your ride a smooth and enjoyable experience with some of the best coffee and cake you will find in a field this summer.
What else is there to do?
If you are not riding or fancy exploring the area make sure you head to Church Stretton just up the road from Marshbrook. This beautiful market town on the edge of Carding Mill Valley (area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is full of lovely shops and cafes and just a stone throw away from the Long Mynd and its wild uplands and breathtaking views. To find out more please go to the Chruch Stretton website.
Not long now…how to enter?
To enter the MTB Marathon please go directly to the entry page where you can either download an entry form or enter directly through the new online entry service. To enter the SCHWALBE Road Sportive please click here. Prices to enter the riding challenges start from £27 and its only £50 for a Saturday and Sunday double ride deal. There is no charge for camping (for you and your family) and no entry fee if you just want to watch the event and the activities.