I know it’s only November, but it’s the end of Muckmedden Events until next year, so let’s have a wee re-cap of 2013. I still don’t know why I decided to organise TWO brand new events this year but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. It has been a Muckin’ Mad twelve months to say the least, but looking at the photos and hearing the feedback it might have been worth the effort.
“Best MTB event ever” – Someone who enjoyed it.
“A Future Classic” – Someone else who thought it was quite good.
“The most fun I’ve had since my wedding night” – Best not say who that was.
The Eliminator Head2Head MTB Weekender came about after a discussion with Roger Howison, Parkhill Farm Manager – and now legendary MC from Fair City Enduro. Roger used to manage a MTB and Snow Sports program in Ontario, Canada and now runs Parkhill Farm in Newburgh which happens to have a big, steep Muckin’ hill right in the middle of it. At one of our SMBC meetings he said he was keen to see MTB activity at Parkhill but there was no existing trail network. Roger took me for a ride in his tractor and showed me what I could play with, I then went home and used my imagination, got a bit excited and things started to turn Mucky.
So, on the Muckin’ Menu we had a very steep and grassy hillside covered in cow sh*t, a small hardwood forest, a horse’s paddock and a stubble-field. There was room for side by side trails all the way down which would give the fun-o-meter a right kick up the arse.
Me; ”Can we remove all the fences Roger Pedactor?”
Me; “What will be planted in this bottom field Roger Ramjet?”
Me; “Any chance we could carve a dual slalom through the barley to get right to the bottom of the hill Roger the Dodger?”
Roger; “I don’t see why not. It will have fully ripened by the end of July”.
And so, The Eliminator seed was well and truly planted (pun intended).
The next few months we spent designing and riding a few versions of trail to make sure it was as good as it could possibly be. We also had to plot and map the Crazy Crops Slalom before the field was ploughed and seeded as we wouldn’t get back on there until the week of the race and would only get one shot at carving it. We also had to work out if we had to provide uplift or not and which route we could use, how long it would take to get people to the top, how many people and bikes we could carry, where will people park, the list goes on…..and on…..and on…..
After an enormous amount of planning The Eliminator finally came alive on July 27th and 28th and it was an absolutely Monu-Muckin’-Mental weekend. Although entries were lower than we had hoped, those who got what it was all about had stacks of riding time and had a ball.This is what I remember from Saturday at The Eliminator;
Blazing sunshine, beer, exciting qualifiers, laughter, blankets on the grass, excited spectators, a busy SMBC skills course, barbeques, “Not Bad” premiere, amazing tunes, dancing, more beers, late night bunny-hop contest, three broken uplift vehicles, one injured Marshal, bed, torrential rain.
This is how I remember Sunday at The Eliminator; No sleep, lost van keys, Fairmer’s Forest has turned into Takeshi’s Castle, terror, rain ponchos, hair of the dog, Elimination rounds, leaking marquees, new friendships, mud, SMBC kids races, head scratching, camaraderie, triple headers, excitement, Rampant Rabbit, amazing tunes, screaming spectators, sunshine, prize-giving, exhaustion, relief, elation!
One down – One to go. Only 12 weeks until….
A different beast
As soon as entries opened in August it was obvious to me that this was going to be a bit different as the entries came in thick and fast. Luckily I had done a lot of the work and I just had to tie up loose ends with Perth & Kinross Council and other relevant agencies, and sort out some kind of schedule for the weekend.
Saturday – Family Fun Day and Demo Day
As a member of the SMBC, I want all Muckmedden events to have races for the kids and for this to happen I felt FCE should be held over two days. This meant Saturday morphed into a family fun day with Airbag and kids races, and Alpine Bikes, Escape Route and Basecamp Bikes brought a load of Demo Bikes to test ride. We had to set up a test loop to test £5k all-mountain rigs on – in a public park, and with no gradient there’s only so gnarly we could make it, but it seemed to go down really well and loads of bikes got a good thrashing around the test loop.
Aberdeen Snows-Sports Centre’s Airbag got a hammering too, and there were front flips, back flips and 540′s going on all day. Rampant Rabbit from The Eliminator even made a guest appearance in the afternoon and subsequently made front page of The Courier the following Monday!.While the Mucky Crew taped off the forest stages, The SMBC held the final round of their Balance Bike Race Series. It was stunning to watch the Micro-Muckers in fancy dress giving it Laldy round the tiny course and it was even more stunning to listen to Roger’s race commentary. I forgot I wasn’t watching Moto GP for a second – superb!
Next up was The SMBC Junior XC Race. It was a mass start of almost 60 riders, ranging from 29er riding XC Whippets to a Green faced Witch on her Barbie bike and a 3ft high Spiderman. This was the real-life version of the Whacky Races and it was absolutely awesome, the kids seemed to love it!
After all that excitement we packed away for the night, grabbed some scran and headed to Loft nightclub for AMBTA’s Scottish Premiere of “Arrival”. A few too many beers, nightclub surround sound, a screen that briefly fell over and some crazy MTB antics on the big screen – the perfect way to get riders psyched up for race day……..
Sunday – Race Day
There seems to be a pattern forming here; No sleep, torrential rain, terror, rain ponchos, mud…
After staying at The Loft longer than expected on Saturday night, I got up at 6am and decided I wouldn’t put on my fancy dress outfit as I’d have time to put it on later - error of judgement number one. I also realised I didn’t print off my pre-race briefing - error of judgement number two. Mental note to self for next time - get dressed up straight away and print off a briefing coz your ”freestyle” ones are rotten.
As more and more people arrived, I was chuffed to see lots of riders in fancy dress. This was a really important part of the event for me and I think it added another dimension to the race, Batman pulling a no-hander over the table-top was like a dream come true At the start of the race I had planned to slowly let riders filter out in groups of five, but I felt sorry for everyone freezing their chuffs off – especially Steve Lambie in his fishnets and hot pants, so I started to let the riders leave the South Inch a bit quicker.
Once everyone had gone I was keeping track of what was happening via the Muckmarshals and was advised that there was pretty big queue forming at Stage 1, so riders were freezing their chuffs off anyway! A small revision should solve that issue and has already been logged in my small-ish brain.
The first riders started to filter back earlier than expected and were tackling The SMBC Special Stage just after 10am. Thankfully, once again the feedback on the course was really positive and everyone was raving about one stage or another and swapping trail tales. As I didn’t manage to see any racing on the forest stages the face-plants on the Special Stage were a personal highlight for me, and it was clear that the first feature – an innocuous looking bridge with a steep drop-off – was going to catch a few riders out, and MC Roger would be there to provide the commentary. Comedy Gold!Once everyone had completed the full course, we waited for the Stage times to be compiled and it was time to hand out the prizes. Then the heavens opened, the prizes got soaked and our prize winner’s list turned to mush. Muckin’ Weather!
The Dudes of Hap-Hazzard’s Joe Barn Owl was the overall bloke winner and the overall fastest burd was Elena Melton-Mowbray Pork-Pie. Well done to you both! The winners, podium finishers and stage winners shared a bunch of cracking prizes between them including Hydration Packs from Basecamp Bikes, Haglofs jackets, vouchers for Alpine Bikes and Escape Route, Scottoiler UBS bike spray, Wigwam socks, super cool Horizon watches and an amazing video analysis/coaching and uplift package courtesy of Collective training, Morrocco Media and Progression Bikes. A prize pot worth a few grand in total – not to be sniffed at.
I’d like to say a genuine thanks to all the Sponsors who added a touch of class to Muckmedden Events again this year, not to mention donating a sh*t load of great swag to give away at each race. Thanks very Muck for your support and I hope we can keep each other company again in 2014. I also have to say a Muckin’ Mahoosive thanks to the Mucky Crew, The SMBC, The AMBTA and to the friends and family who got stuck in and surpassed themselves yet again this year – legends. And finally to all the Muckers who parted with your hard-earned wages to be a part of the first ever Eliminator and Fair City Enduro. I hope to see you and your mates in 2014!
For the time being I intend to get out on my own bike, enjoy time with family and friends and switch off my laptop for days on end without feeling bad. Having said that, keep an eye out for the dates of 2014′s Muckin’ Good Events coming very soon!
Until next time…..stay Mucky