Mountain Mayhem 24 hour mountain bike race

Mountain Mayhem is a 24 hour mountain bike race held in the UK each year on the weekend closest to the summer solstice in June and is the largest 24 hour mountain bike race in Europe attracting 2,500 competitors and up to 15,000 spectators each year.

The first Mountain Mayhem race was held in 1998 at Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire, moving to Sandwell Valley Country Park in 1999. In 2004 the race moved to The Deer Park of Eastnoor Castle Herefordshire and has occupied the same location since.

The whole event has a real festival feel to it with on site camping, trade stands and a 24 hour buzz that is difficult to capture anywhere else. In 2011 the team at duffbag will be at Mountain Mayhem, both competing and with our own trade stand offering all kinds of bike bags including our extremely popular duffbag, which is a favorite amongst mountain bikers that want to keep the interior of their car, van or camper clean after the event – ESPECIALLY if it is raining and we experience the familiar Mayhem Mudfest!

The event is usually around a 9 mile loop and teams compete as teams of four, five or ten or even individuals there are various categories of entry:

Individual Male, Individual Female, Mixed Expert, Mixed, Open Men, Open Women, Sport Men, Sport Women, Tens

and the following subcategories:

Guests, Services, Singlespeed, University,Veteran

The race typically gets underway with a run to grab the bikes and then an orderly walk over the line and away, this prevents carnage at the first corner or pinch point and settles any start line nerves. Each team has a baton that is passed from rider to rider as they take over and each rider has a electronic timing chip attached to the bike that race control monitor, through their computer system, giving teams and spectators real time updates on laps and timings.

As the race settles down the riders get spread out over the nine mile course mix of double and singletrack whilst the rest of the team settle into their campsite routine of trying to keep fed, hydrated and depending on the weather – warm.

There is inevitably quite a bit of hanging around between riding stints, but plenty to keep everyone occupied with bike fettling and repairs, eating and of course sleeping in preperation for those lonely night laps.

But the countryside and circuit is quite beautiful and lush at the heart of an English summer

As night falls the atmosphere changes to one of excitement and trepidation as a final testing and charging of lamps takes place and spare batteries and torches are stashed amongst the energy bars in the hydration packs.

As night really starts to take hold it is really inky black out on the course and of course the temperature drops dramatically and riders ride along in their own tunnel of light and spectators get to see “space aliens” with head torches and bar lamps emerging from the darkness

Daylight breaks and riders emerge from tents, ready to take over from their team members, tired and bleary eyed but still loving every minute of it, honest!

As the following morning rolls on the miles have racked up as well as the tales of bravery and skill during the night which seem to get ever more wilder and exaggerated as time goes on, but nobody minds, it is all part of being a 24 hour weekend warrior, but there are some very tired legs out there.

Inevitably the event draws to a close and winners are announced and teams give each other a well earned pat on the back for all the hard work and training that goes into an event like this.

We will be there for Mountain Mayhem 2011, with two teams from our cycle club The BogHogs, one team of four and a fun team of ten, plus Team Columbia Bikefood, who are sponsored by duffbag will be fielding some very competitive soloists for the event. It is a great event, with a unique atmosphere, the weather can make it or break it, but whatever it does it will be great fun, see you there.

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One Response

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