At Fully Sussed, we tend to live our lives by the words and genius of Mike Skinner, with 'don't conform to formulas' being a personal favourite.
So now that the dust has, quite literally settled on the National XC at Newnham Park, are we any further forward? Nope. As Blackadder said, "we've advanced no further than an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping". We've had a pat on the head from the great and the good of UK and European mountain biking, given ourselves blisters on our blisters and full heads of silver fox hair, earned only slightly more than our (admittedly awesome) caterers but feel that the sport now just resorts to its default setting.
'Owzabout everyone involved in the sport doing one positive thing to push things forward, and by this I don't mean buying yourself a new widget, entering another race (although this is vital) or doing yet another blog. I mean more like choosing one thing you think is missing / lacking from the sport and doing something pivotal to improve it. Can't think of anything (leading question!) - here's our not-exhaustive list.
"Geezers need excitement".
Let's start with British Cycling. What you can stop doing is stupefying me with endless anecdotes of what wonderful things you've all done in the past, how much better things were back in the day and actually look to the future. If you made a concerted effort to actually give a sh#t, everything else will just fall into place. Simple.
Riders. Smile. How's that for a starter? I'm sure that you want to pull your best gurning face for the event photos so that your long suffering family and spectators think you are working really hard like a hero, but in reality we know that your facial muscles are probably doing all the work while your legs are soft pedalling. So smile. Make it look like a sport that is actually enjoyable and that the spectators(!?) would like to take up. And wear something stylish. No-one enjoys a public sausage-fest (well, almost no-one) and if you chose some of the myriad of decent, and functional riding attire rather than your team skinsuit stretched over your pot belly, you won't have strangers shouting "TREE FROG!" at you and coupled with a nice smile you'll have a race photo to be proud of.
Spectators. Yes, you at the back. We got the chance to wander round the course at Newnham and watch the technical bits. What we were really surprised at, was that apart from anywhere near the boys from Plymouth Uni, there was a deathly hush from the folk gathered to watch. Now, this isn't a rugby match where a ripple of polite applause is appropriate, and the occasional chorus of "swing low sweet chariot" can be ventured; this is a cross between a local football derby and a Sex Pistols gig, so conduct yourselves correctly. We want some noise, people! The riders are on their physical limit, doing their very best not to smash their faces into the rockery but if they do, they fully expect you to rip them to pieces, like gladiators being slung into the lions' den. Everyone (except one notable South West rider who will remain nameless) loves a bit of banter. Prepare it before you get there, do some research and write a script so you don't have to resort to the usual staples of 'Looking Good', 'Go On .......' or 'Keep Going!'. All of which are appreciated and well meant, but how about something more adventurous? Take a note out of Rob Warner's book of quotes and choose from 'more snap than rice crispies', 'or 'letting it all hang out like a fat bird in a bikini'. Give 'em some grief, blow those vuvuzellas, ring those bells and make the riders think that all those turbo hours were worth it.
"Just try and stay positive".
Organisers. We've learned a lot during our years as race organisers, and while we like to impose our will on the MTB community, you do have to listen to their needs occasionally, even though they are misguided and usually wrong. We love developing truly gnarly courses because it it the sort of stuff we love to ride (badly) but we have realised that for every rider that loves that sort of stuff there are twice the amount that soil their lycra at the thought of it. But they have as much right to a fun course as the rest, so we've had a Damascus moment about investing time into making the 'B' lines as much fun as possible rather just a humiliating time penalty. Folk clearly think that our course design has some form of higher thinking and we spend time on the algorithm needed to devise lines of a certain length / duration, whereas in reality we do what looks OK, ride it, alter it and ride it again until we can't be arsed to do anything more. There has been the same few organisers in the UK for some years now, and we all know who they are. It might be time for more folk to step forward and either offer to do some course design for the existing organisers, or approach your local B.C. Regional Event Organiser who will hold your hand through the process. Keep it simple, keep it fun, you won't lose your house and you'll give the current complacent crop of organisers (us included) a shot across the bows.
"Shut up, I'm the driver, you're the passenger."
OK, it's not quite a Jerry Macguire moment, and as election manifestos go, it will be about as effective as UKIPs. But spend some time thinking about one thing you could do, and if you ever find yourself saying "when will someone......" or the classic "I think you should......." to one of the MTB grafters, have a stern word with yourself and update your to-do list.
This isn't going to be much of a murder mystery, nor a piece of investigative journalism resulting in a climactic 'AHA!' - a cross between Alan Partridge and Inspector Frost. This is more likely to be yet another middle-aged xc racer, reminiscing about how it was all better when chicken tasted like chicken before forgetting what I was talking about mid-ramble and abruptly stopping when Masterchef starts.
Anyway, my latest head-scratching, hair-pulling, nose-picking outbursts have been caused by our current futile attempts to jump start the ailing National XC series. Round one was admittedly on a hiding to nothing once the rain started, but even prior to the monsoon the whole event had a distinctly somber, wake-like atmosphere. On top of which, I had the worst bacon sandwich I can remember and trust me, this is something I'd remember. There were some top performances by some gifted young riders, but it all had the air of 'going through the motions', something that I was unable to do for some time after the bacon sandwich. Now this isn't a visit to the mother-in-law, something to be endured as ill-frequently as possible while ensuring continued receipt of Xmas presents, this is the National series! This is our F.A. cup, which currently seems to stand for F@#K ALL cup.
Now the event campsites have been in steady decline since motor-homes starting replacing the classic van-tent combo. If you have the capacity to either bake a cake, have a shower or watch 'Strictly' on the flat screen, you aren't camping. Gone are the days of true camping - shared hardship, outdoor cookery, thermals in July, all your food stolen by badgers and campsite congas. We are supposed to be exponents of a rufty-tufty extreme outdoor sport, not the bloody caravan club. So with everyone securely locked inside their mobile bungalows the second they have finished riding, the campsite soundtrack is now the endless drone of generators and our laughter as another motor-home sinks into the mud. I think the only conversation I've had at recent events is the repetitive "Have you seen a tap?" as motor-homes seem to consume water at a colossal rate. Dishwasher? Not camping. Dishes licked clean by slugs? Camping!
In the nineties, when Nick Craig was just a top elite and not some freak of nature to boot, we would drive to watch the Nationals. Not to race, mind you, just to watch. We would have the remains of our pay-packets (pay-packets! Oh the joy!) in our back pockets, as we knew that there would be lines of retailers ready to sell you something you didn't need. Nowadays, if you don't need energy stuff, a tyre or a crappy bacon sandwich you are bang out of luck, but still in pocket. For the Newnham Park nationals, we have spoken to a list of people we thought would be falling over themselves to get involved, but no amount of excitable chatter on our part can make people see xc racing as anything more than cyclo-cross without the running.
So hands-up who remembers the Martyn Salt era of the Nationals? When Salty was at the helm, the series had a very different feel. Trip down memory lane anyone? Friday afternoon course practice, Friday evening short course team relay, a jam-packed day of racing on Saturday, a MTB marathon on the Sunday, big sponsors, demo bikes, trade stands, reliable (if dull) catering = big bang for your bucks and a damn good reason to travel. I guess Salty understood the need to create an 'event' and not just a 'race', and the standard was met across the series, God bless him. B.C. now give individual organisers a budget with which to put on one of the rounds. If you want to do anything extra / exciting it comes out of your existing budget, so who can blame organisers that don't bother? Keep it simple, keep it cheap and watch it sink.
The British Cycling website and Facebook updates us every thirty seconds about some interminable chicken-spit road race; previews, live streaming, post race anal analysis, but can only be bother to do a post-race report after a National XC with a load of photos that make it look like a skin-suit and gurning convention. The organisers can do all the press releases and pre-event build up that they want to, but it won't get anywhere near the B.C. website. Gone are the days when XC results used to figure in MBUK; these days unless you can do a backflip or have a photo of yourself p#ssing blood you won't get a look in. We are turning into an invisible sport, that happens in the middle of nowhere, watched only by prowling potential bike thieves.
Who killed XC racing? To be continued...
We're getting really excited about round 2 of the National XC Series at Newnham Park, and we hope you are too. For those of you who have not been to Newnham for a while, here's a glimpse of what we have been preparing for you.
The following doubles up as a glimpse of all the sections you'll want to have a close look at during practice, and our risk assessment document.
There are of course plenty of lovely smooth descents, killer climbs and even some flat sprinty sections - but they don't come out well on camera, so here are the bits where all the spectators will be gathering! There will be 'B' and sometimes 'C' lines around all of the sections below.
I think it was a forum post on xcracer.com that did it for us. One of those classic rants that was probably triggered by a day of reading the Daily Mail, listening to Jeremy Vine and watching Top Gear box-sets. This poor unfortunate ended his nonsensical tirade with the immortal line 'Sort it out B.C.!' Since then, whenever anything goes a bit numberwang in our lives; be it losing my keys, stubbing my toe or having a soggy souffle, we sum up our anguish by chorusing "SORT IT OUT B.C.!"
For most cyclists, their only contact with British Cycling will either be trying to squeeze into an event car park past the massed ranks of the B.C. logo-ed staff cars, or being bullied by a stern faced commissaire fun-sponge, dedicating his day to dishing out corporal punishment on any rider daring to ride without handlebar plugs or with a Go-Pro.
Delve deeper into the beast, attend a B.C. meeting / conference / day-care and your worst fears will be realised but at least you'll finally know what happened to the cast of Dad's Army and go away wondering how the hell we ever won a cycling gold medal in anything other than penny farthing racing.
But you're looking in the wrong place, idiot. Grow a pair, do your duty as a decent human being and go volunteer as a coach in your local cycling club. Cue huge stampede of people like Pavlov's dogs triggered by the 'V' word, absolutely guaranteed to clear a room faster than a vegetarian's fart. But if by chance your smartphone allows you a bit of time off during the week, and you find yourself immersed in the world of club cycle coaching, here you will find the beating heart and beauty of British Cycling. You don't need to be a world-famous detective to figure out that we volunteer in our local youth cycling club, and as well as being a cast-iron gold ticket to entry to the Pearly Gates on judgment day, it's a awful lot of muddy fun.
There are a million different levels of coaching in the B.C. repertoire, from little rippers on balance bikes to great big shaved leg quadzillas on top of an Olympic podium. As a married man of 14 years I am well aware of my place in the hierachy and I belong down near the bottom of the pyramid with the kids trampling over me to get to the top. Within this programme there exists a series of coaching events called the Regional Schools of Racing (RSRs). Never heard of them? I'm not surprised. B.C. don't tend to defend itself from the endless stream of moans from B.C.-haters, they just quietly get on with the task of creating an awesome clone army of young bike racers. Under the radar, invite only, secret handshake.
We just came back from such an event, where we took a couple of our young club riders for a day of B.C. moulding. Remember the film Logan's Run where all the old 'uns are systematically eliminated by the young, shiny, virile members of society? Go to a gathering of the up-coming MTB starlets and you'll see the writing on the wall. Watch them bunny hop over hurdles that you can barely step your arthritic hips over, then realise that they are doing it with their eyes closed and it's clear that the sport is moving faster than we can pedal.
The RSRs are run by top-level BC coaches, with assistance (interference) from us club coaches, who are mainly there for crowd control and making tea. In the sessions, all those tricks and skills that most of us spend long hours avoiding like the plague are repeated until a state of either unconscious competence or dribbling lethargy are achieved. Then they do it again. I remember reading about some indigenous people, probably the Welsh, who believed that sculptors releases the animal / whatever that is already contained within a chunk of rock by chipping away at the superfluous rock. I don't really need to spell out the analogy, but over time these kids are transformed from bloody fast kids into lightning fast mountain bike ninjas. Every aspect of their lives are discussed, analysed and streamlined to make them the most professional, efficient athletes they can be while still retaining the 'buggering about on bikes' aspect. Think Top Gun meets Lord of the Flies on bikes.
So when some impudent young rider rips your legs off at the next race (and they will) rest assured that British Cycling are, indeed, 'sorting it out'.
Caramba! What the hell was that all about? Has someone opened a fresh box of mountain bikers? The Soggies have always been popular, but we had this sneaking suspicion that lots of mountain bike racers had found their way into the murky depths of the cyclo-cross world, and would never again pedal a fat-tyred bike in anger. How wrong we were.
A few things changed for the 2015 edition of the Soggies, and we realize that there need to be further changes to be made for us to keep up with demands of the riders.
Dates. Anyone who glanced at the cyclo-cross calender would realise that an event is basically scheduled for every Sunday from September to January. Half of these will be cancelled at the last minute, but it has created a headache for event organisers. So we booked the Soggies to start in January to avoid a clash...and then they decided to carry on their season into the New Year, and probably push right through to summer with your best results from 45 rounds to count. Oh well. The other reason for starting later than before is that now we have an event per month leading up to the start of the National XC series at the end of March. Before, we'd all be fit as fook at the end of the Soggies (typical winter racers) but would have a month or so off before the Nationals started to basically eat pasties and lose fitness. Now we should send our S.W. riders off ready to do some damage at Sherwood, mainly to themselves and surrounding trees.
Techy course. I'm sure the many technical features did not suit all riders, and would have been a shock to many of the Soggy faithful, but there are good reasons why they were included. Firstly, the skill level of cross-country racers is way, way better than it was when Salty, in his genius, first ran the Soggies. Certain sections would have been on the verge of Red Bull Rampage for many riders, but for lots of riders they were literally just a walk in the park. Secondly, we've got Round Two of the National MTB XC series coming to Newnham in April and we want to give them the stand-out course of the series. Therefore we need to use the Soggies to build stuff, send the crash test dummies over it to see what works and bed it in a bit. Unknowingly, you're all helping build the Nationals course.
The Start. It's not a new idea, we haven't re-invented the wheel, but just resurrected something that was always a god idea and can't believe we stopped doing it. The reason for doing it now is for development of the young riders; the juveniles need to race head-to-head with the youth, the youth with the juniors and the juniors with the elite. As it was, our leading juvenile boy was lying third overall in the race, which no doubt puts the fear of god into the so-called experts, who had better pull their fingers out. For those who wondered what the hell pallet castle was all about, it's just something we do with the youth club, we had a lot of pallets donated by Gregory's and we're damn well going to use them so get some practice in.
Under 13's race. In the under 13s, 10s and 8s, I think we had a total of 40 kids on bikes. I remember when we did the South West series and were lucky if we got half a dozen, or enough for the front row of the grid. Nowadays it is like a bicycle-mounted Lord of the Flies and we need to improve what we're doing to accommodate all the pesky kids. So we're going to make the kids' course wider to allow for more overtaking, while keeping it just the right level of techiness to keep the strong 'uns interested. We are also going to have certificates, or momentos for all the kids as well as the podium prizes so that they have something for show and tell on monday.
Category changes. Dropping the masters category was implemented by British Cycling for 2015, for many reasons, most of them totally justified. We followed suit to simplify things for those South West masters who were going to race the National Series this year, and also because for the past few years it has been the smallest senior category. In the Soggies, the junior boys have always raced in the Sport category, and this has never been an issue due to there only being a couple of them. Things have changed, now we have a few juniors and they are filling the top spots in the sport category. So from Round 2 we'll have a separate junior and sport categories to spare the blushes of the top sport riders and give the juniors the credit they deserve.
What we've never done in the Soggy series is have an end-of-series bash. Mainly because it's pouring with rain, we have hours of trudging round the park to do getting the course back in, and who wants to party in a portakabin anyway? This year we're going to try to take over the Lord Louis, which won't be easy on a Sunday afternoon with the carvery crowd queuing out the door, but we'll try anyway. So have a wash in the river and come along for a pint, a carvery served on a dustbin lid and a fight with the local dole scum.
Every now and again I need to see my mate Jim.
My inbuilt 'phys ninja' capacity has a pretty good run time, but like all our modern gucci kit essentials, I occasionally need recharging, and that's Jim's job. Before you think that this is heading off down Brokeback Mountain territory, ain't nobody poisoning my watering hole pardner.
Jim is a few years older than me, and a bit of an enigma. In the fifteen years that I've known him, I have no idea what he does for a living other than 'be Jim'. But I suppose that if I did, it would be akin to finding out that Thor is a part-time I.T. consultant. In my life, that is not Jim's role.
I have a vague recollection that he has a sister,I suppose he must have parents although I wouldn't be surprised if he was created by elemental forces and hatched out of an egg; probably already in his p.e. kit. I know his wife and luckily she is Jim in a blonde wig. But in my life, family tree knowledge is not Jim's role.
Spend half an hour with Jim and you'll find yourself doubling the amount of training you are currently doing.
Spend an evening with him and you will quit your job, enter 3 races a week for the rest of your life and join the Royal Marines. He is a walking, talking Mr. Motivator without the leotard.
Jim is not on Facebook. I know for a fact that he has emailed me in the past but his messages have some kind of sneaky in-built James Bond shit that means I have no record of his address and no way of pitifully offering excuses for poor performances. We communicate only by 'man text'- brief, to the point and with at least one race result included per text. No kisses, no smileys, no acronyms other than MTFU. Jim doesn't have a Garmin, you won't find him on Strava, and I've never seen him with a heart rate monitor.
Jim has done some coaching in the past, and his philosophy is that if you aren't prepared to put in 30 hours a week, you aren't worth bothering with. Jim is a bit of a 'one pace wonder', but that pace is nosebleed fast. Out of the blocks, in first place, death or glory.
If you need an excuse to get you out of bed and onto the bike, if you want to be the best athlete you can possibly be, don't look for a gym, look for a Jim.
The cross country season yet again ends at a time when the trails are in tip-top condition, our motivation is still high and bikes are still intact. The weekend just gone hosted the last round of the National MTB XC Series at a 'new' venue that has only been raced and ridden by mountain bikers in the know for the last 30 years.
We used to ride Cannock Chase in the days when I first had a car that could be depended on to make the hour journey there, and could be trusted to get us back in the dark. We would chuck our shonky bikes in the back of my Metro; a well-posh one with five doors and everything and splutter there with no plan, no spares, no food and no idea where we were going.
We would ride all day, following our noses, until we knew we were pushing our luck with daylight / parents and we'd ask the nearest indecipherable local for the quickest way back to the car, McDonalds and running the gauntlet back through Wolverhampton.
These days, if there isn't a way-marked trail centre there, 90% of mountain bikers wouldn't get out of their cars. I'm just glad I didn't invest heavily in shares in Ordnance Survey and neon highlighters when I had the chance.
I love trail centres as much as everyone else. I appreciate a well-designed berm and have ridden enough of them to have a mental top-ten that every male of an autistic bent will undoubtedly have stored away. However, trail centres in my opinion suffer from society's need to be entertained all day long and are only a short step away from having piped music on the way round. The awful truth about cycling is that sometimes it is just a miserable experience. If you haven't suffered across a misty moorland, got lost in a knee-deep bog or done numerous hours on interminable fire-roads, you don't deserve to enjoy a trail centre.
But Cannock's round of the Nationals was great. Nice campsite, lots and lots of firewood for our hundredth barbeque of the season (one of our friends says that the xcracer tent smells like a Jamaican smoke house) and loads of trails round the arena for the ADHD kids to rip up all weekend.
Highlight? Liam Killeen racing in his Malvern Cycles top. Arguably the best xc rider we've ever produced, could ride for anyone he wanted to, and who does he choose? His local club. Good effort Liam, riders belong in clubs.
I'm a flat pedal covert. There, I said it.
It's been a drip, drip process over the past few years. It used to be that I wouldn't be seen in anything less 'aero' and 'race' than human cling film. Then my lycra shorts all started to wear our, giving the lazy bastards drafting behind me a lovely view of bum-hole. When I went to replace them, I realised just how expensive sausage shorts had become. The only possible answer was to buy some nice pairs of baggies instead and a bit like turning your underpants inside out, I was suddenly able to reserect previously unwearable lycra.
With the shoes, I have spent a king's ransom over the years in a bid to keep my feet warm during the winter months. I have everything from Gore Tex SPDs, overshoes, waterproof socks, merino socks, all manner of leggings with the net result that I am cold, wet and skint all winter. I realised that lots of the blokes I was guiding were just wearing trainers and did not seem to be in the least bit bothered by the conditions. So I bought a pair of dodgy-looking Shimano AM 41s, when I perhaps should have got some man-up pills instead.
Now we all know they look like special needs shoes. Bit clumpy and make me look like a golf club but when paired with a decent pair of flat pedals these are tops. Stick to the pedals like shit to a blanket, laugh in the face of the winter weather and don't make you slide on your arse when you walk on a wet, polished, wooden cafe floor. You can stick your carbon SPDs.
Now the cons. They take an age to dry out once wet. When you ride every day, this is a bit of a ball-ache, but only for those first few minutes once you've reluctantly slid your feet in and jogged round the car park to get the blood flowing. Nowhere near as bad as putting on a wet wetsuit, so we are back to the man-up pills. They don't exactly tick the 'down with the kids' box, so you couldn't really wear them down the pub in your best froggy-goes-a-courting outfit, like some of their competitors . After a year in the possession of the Fully Sussed wrecking crew the soles are remarkably intact, which can't be said for the rest of the shoe!
I started to notice scuff marks on the front instep pretty early on, on the part of the shoe near the ball of my foot. Usual wear and tear, I thought, but it just got worse and worse. The material started to wear through and the sole of the shoe has started to part company with the rest on just about its first birthday. I've tried to look at how my feet look on the pedals, if I have a crappy pedal style, but can't spot anything. I wear a size 44, which doesn't seem particularly wide, and Maddie's little Geisha Girl versions are fresh as daisies, so I don't know why, but their days are numbered.
A year is pretty crap life span for a pair of shoes, but then again I've worn them loads and they cost less than £60-00. I probably spend more than that a year on tubeless sealant.
I've had a look around at some alternatives, but frankly these actually worked faultlessly until the day they fell apart, and compared to £150 for an average pair of SPD shoes, they are good value. Winter isn't to far away, and my chilblains are already twitching in anticipation so I'll just buy another pair.
You'd have thought that a bike as swish as the Yeti ARCC would be out-of-the-box perfection. Like bananas to Eric, I would be transformed into a biking Bananaman, setting the world on fire with my bodacity.
It didn't quite work out that way. Until the boffins create a bike-building android, you'll always have the pesky factor of human influence and operator error. The sum of a tremendous frame and perfect components from the gurus at Silverfish was a head scratching, frustrating month.
When Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder got together we all had it down as a match made in Brat Pack heaven but despite all the tattoos, it all went tits-up. Me and the ARCC started our relationship in the bickering phase; all blaming, nit picking and name calling that nearly had me heading back to my ex. Luckily, Rockets and Rascals run a counselling service headed up by Dr. Scrappy. After a few sessions of so-called 'Rusty Love', we were finally man and machine in perfect harmony and the Yeti had bloomed.
The ARCC's strengths are well documented, and the reviews usually contain a 'but', normally followed by the words, 'stiff', 'harsh', 'unyielding'; you get the picture. This is no sofa. On that basis, taking it to Wales for the first round of the Scott MTB Marathon series would surely be unwise, but at least it would be unwise and stylish.
We'd signed up for the 75km which in classically predictable fashion decreased as we approached the event. 75 became 68, then 65 and my Garmin actually read 60km at the finish line, which was only a ten metre roll away from the bar. While we are on Garmin factoids, those paltry 60km contained 6000 feet of climbing and what felt like 6 feet of downhill. In the first half hour I was marvelling at the view, grinning sheepishly at, well, the sheep and passing pleasantries with other riders. 3 hours later I was staring fixedly at the floor, muttering under my breath. I am also now the world's leading authority on grassy, headwind climbs. This was a day of relentless toil; even for riders used to Dartmoor suffering, this was tough.
But the bike? Against all the odds, the Yeti was a joy. My legs were mangled and my spirit was broken but the usual suspects - back, shoulders, arse were ship-shape and shiny. Next day I am as fresh as a daisy and reminiscing about my fave bits of the course. Those last ten metres...
We have an action packed weekend lined up for you, with so much going on you’ll need to plan ahead to fit everything in. Please read the following information to help you get the most out of the event.
How to sign up for activities
Most of our activities have strict instructor ratios, so you will need to sign up to the ones you want to do – you can do this in the registration area. You need to sign up for any activities marked (S). You can just turn up for any activities marked (T). Registration will be open on Friday 30th May from 3pm-6pm, and on Saturday 31st May from 8am-10am. You can sign up for as many activities as you want - do all of them if you’re feeling brave!
Saturday 31st May
Bike Check and Bike Fit (T)
Evans Cycles Plymouth will be on hand all morning to help you set your bike up properly, and give it a once over for you.
Outdoor Circuits (S)
Your instructor Belle will get your day off to a bounding start and show you how to make the most of any outdoor space. Sessions run from 0800-1000
Trail Running Technique (S)
Ex GB and England runner Maddie Horton will show you how to improve your off road running technique, and how to run downhill without falling over. Sessions run from 0900-1200.
Mountain Bike Skills Coaching (S)
We have 3 highly experienced coaches lined up to help you get your basic skills nailed. During the sessions you will cover tight cornering, wheel lifts, balance and co-ordination. Sessions run from 1000 – 1300.
Mountain Bike Skills Challenge (T)
Once you have learned the basics, you will have a chance to test yourself in our challenge area. Evie and Marian Lane will be on hand to show you what to do, and you will be free to have as many attempts as you want through the afternoon. There is a special prize for the highest scorer. The challenge area will be open from 1345-1600.
Navigation Sessions (S)
Kathryn Blackie-Taylor, Dartmoor Navigation Trainer, will help you find your way around a map, giving you the confidence to take on new challenges in unfamiliar areas. Sessions run from 1300 – 1600.
Mountain Bike Line Choice (T)
Part of Sunday’s mountain bike course will be open for you to have a ride around. Our instructors will be scattered around the course on sections where we think you might want some guidance.
You can repeat sections as many times as you like, and feel free to ask the instructors for advice and demonstrations to help you get things right. The course will be open for you to ride between 1345 and 1600. Just follow the purple signposts to get to the interesting bits.
Led Road Rides (S)
Alli Holland (Rockets and Rascals) and Elaine Mason (Breeze) will lead you on a social ride taking in the pretty roads of South Dartmoor. There will be two speeds to choose from – one for the speedy girls, and one for those wanting a more leisurely ride. If you’ve ever wondered what ‘through and off’ is all about – this is the place to find out.
Injury Advice Clinic (T)
Revolution Physio will be on hand during the day to answer any injury and recovery related questions.
Sport Massage (S)
Revolution Physio will also be offering sport massage sessions (£5 for 15 minutes) to keep your body working throughout the weekend.
Trail running treasure hunt (T)
This will be your chance to put your new trail running and navigation skills to the test.
Work in groups, pairs or on your own to complete the treasure hunt. There will be a prize for the first home. Come to the registration area at 1700 to get your map.
After all that activity you’ll be in need of some stretching. Yoga teacher Kathryn Blackie-Taylor will lead you through the perfect way to end your day.
Whackjob chill out tent (T)
Veg out in the chill out tent with Whackjob at any time over the weekend. We will also be taking orders for our beautiful Whackjob event Tshirts throughout the weekend.
Sunday 1st June
Bike Check and Bike Fit (T)
Evans Cycles Plymouth will be on hand all morning to help you set your bike up properly, and give it a once over for you.
If you’re feeling sore from yesterday, you’ll be in need of some stretching. Yoga teacher Kathryn Blackie-Taylor will get you moving again, ready for the day ahead.
Mountain Bike Challenge (T)
The full 5 mile mountain bike course will be open at 10.30am. Having practiced on the course yesterday, you’ll be all set for the challenge. Be warned – Newnham Park is quite hilly, so you’ll want to pace yourself! Complete 1, 2 or 3 laps of the course for your bronze, silver or gold medal. Although it’s not a race, we know that some of you will want to know how long each lap took you, so we will have timing set up for those who are interested.
Wheels – the black art (S)
If you’ve always wondered what the spoke key on your multitool is for, this is the session for you. David Fletcher (Velo-Smith) will guide you through how to straighten a buckled wheel to get rid of that disconcerting wobble. He will also show you how to tubeless a mountain bike tyre – useful stuff! Sessions will run from 1200-1600.
Suspension clinic (T)
Dave Elliot from RSF Suspension Tuning will be on hand from 1200-1600 to show you how to set up your suspension yourself, and unlock the mysteries of forks and rear shocks. Just turn up, and ask – there is no question too daft.
Arena silliness (T)
So you’ve completed your mountain bike challenge, you’ve collected your medal, had your forks set up, straightened your wheels, but your crazy friend is still on her bike going for gold medal. We will be running a series of silly competitions in the arena to keep you entertained from 1300-1500.
Fuel your weekend with Rockets and Rascals in the forest
Rockets and Rascals Cafe will be doing the catering for the Filthy Foxes Dirty Weekend. They will be on site all weekend serving up coffee, cakes and snacks, and are also taking bookings for full weekend catering. The daily menus look like this:
Breakfast Cereals, toast, bacon butty / egg butty
Lunch Packed lunch with deli sandwich, crisps, flapjack.
Dinner Day 1 (Saturday) - Gourmet Burger or Veggie Pasta
Day 2 (Sunday) - Chilli and Rice (veggie or beef)
Daily menus: £20 per day
All food will be made using good, local and homemade ingredients, and will be created by a proper chef - there's no ping and ding going on here!
To book your weekend catering visit: http://www.xcracer.com/raceentry/enterrace.php?race_id=441 Bookings must be in by Friday 23rd May.
There are 3 camping areas to choose from, as well as hard standing for campervans.
No campfires please
Please use the rubbish bins provided, or take your litter home with you.
There are flushing loos, hot and cold running water and a refreshing river for your evening soak. If you can’t survive without a proper shower, the Riverside Campsite in Plympton is your nearest shower spot.
Newnham Park is a working estate, a shooting ground and a venue with deer stalking taking place most days. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead. Children are also welcome – but please do not let them play with any machinery on site. Dads and boyfriends are welcome, but if they want to ride their bikes, they will have to take them off site – it’s girls only on the trails this weekend! There will be a map in registration showing the boys how to get to the nearest great singletrack.
It's not too late to sign up for the event. Online entry is available here. We will also be taking entry on the weekend.