Sotonia Club Events|
If people are interested in getting out on their mountain bike or having a go at racing then feel free to contact either Trevor Gaunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ian Wall at email@example.com 07792 986999. There's plenty of fun to be had by just getting out and riding, whether it's a blast round the local woods or a full weekend doing the length of the South Downs Way. It would be great to see a few more muddy Sotonia strips! We occasionally hold club MTB rides on a Sunday and we are hoping to organize occasional trips to Mountain Bike Centres and circular routes around Hampshire. Check out the website for updates. If you are interested in taking it further then maybe Cross Country, Enduro or Downhill Racing might be your thing. Read onů
XC (Cross Country) Racing
Endurance, fitness and bike control all combine to make a top Cross-Country rider. A XC race is a mass start event where you compete on a marked lap with climbing, descending, fire-road, single-track and technical sections (tight turns, drop-offs and other difficult terrain). Laps are normally fairly short averaging about five miles or even less and races vary in length/number of laps dependent on category. Unlike road racing you are often free to enter whichever category you like so perhaps for your first event, a Gorrick for example, you could enter the "fun" category which would allow a good taster of a XC race without being overly competitive or intimidating. If you find this category fairly easy you would then be expected to enter a harder category at your next event.
Local events worth considering:|
Southern XC series www.southernxc.com
These are longer timed events, again normally mass start, and cover a much greater distance, anything from 35km to 100km. The racing is often more relaxed and at a more sedate pace due to the need to keep going for far longer. Categories are more likely to be divided by distance rather than ability so you'll often be racing against the big boys/pros if you want a good placing. Most people ride these event as a personal challenge rather than aiming for a podium finish although that's not to say you won't get some good racing in along the way! The courses are less technical than the XC races but often incorporate some big climbs and descents and most will still have a good mix of single-track and technical sections.
|There are also quite a few 24hr enduros throughout the year. These are team events which are run as a relay but there are solo categories for the masochists amongst you! Using Mountain Mayhem as an example, the lap is about ten miles long and the idea is to complete as many laps as possible in the 24 hours. Only one team member is allowed on the circuit at a time but that member can complete as many laps as they like before handing over to the next rider. These are great events with an almost festival like atmosphere and exceptional camaraderie amongst the competitors, including all the pros that are in attendance and sharing the course with you. These are one of my favourite events and I think anyone with an interest in mountain biking should try one at least once.|
Salisbury Plain Enduros: www.spambiking.co.uk
Who is quickest from the top to the bottom? Who brakes latest, corners fastest and rides nearest to the edge of their ability? Downhill is the ultimate test of nerve and machine control. Riders race individually against the clock pitting themselves against a challenging succession of jumps, bumps, berms (cambered corners) and drop-offs - all the terrain challenges you could imagine, and they've got to tackle them flat out! Not for the faint hearted and body armour is recommended! Bikes feature several inches of plush suspension front and rear.
MTB calendar of all events: http://baseportal.com/baseportal/numplumz/main
MTB at British Cycling: http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/disciplines/mtb/mtb_frontpage.shtml