It’s been so hectic that I’ve struggled to squeeze a Muckin’ Blog out for ages and, although it’s always painful when you’ve not managed one for a while it always feels better once it’s out, so here goes…….
SMBC & ACF
A good proportion of my last few weeks has been spent watching people riding their bikes with a clipboard in my hand, or having meetings with fellow members of The SMBC talking to Local Authorities, Event Organisers, Emergency Services, Landowners and Bike Clubs in readiness for The SMBC’s inaugural Angus Cycling Festival (ACF) in September.
ACF will celebrate everything from Fat Bikes to Vintage Road Bikes and BMX’s to Mountain Bikes with various satellite events from mid August to the end of September. These will include races and group rides at various spots in Angus before culminating in a massive two-day, family- friendly cycling event at Reid Park, Forfar on 13th/14th September. Activities will include; Airbag, Face-Painting, Craft Tent, Pump Track, Skills Course, Youth XC Racing, Clown/Kid’s Entertainment, Forfar Funduro, Mountain Bike Test Track, Demo Bikes, bike displays, Retro Bikes and more.
We want to encourage people to try something new during ACF, so we’ll be opening the festival on August 10th with a Duathlon/Triathlon and finishing on 14th September with the multi-stage Enduro! In between times we’ll invite people to “Get Fat In Angus” with a guided Fat-Bike ride, enjoy some civilised Vintage/Retro Bike Rides and family rides and explore some of the county’s most sublime natural trails in an “Epic Angus” guided ride in the Angus Glens.
For those of a more skinny-tyred persuasion we’re working with Eventfull, Angus Bike Chain and Angus Cycling Club with a view to organising an Angus Sportive either on Aug 24th or 31st and an Audax in early September. Whatever the final dates are you can be sure there will be some superb events and rides to take part in no matter what kind of riding you’re after.
Moving on to all things “Mucky” we are very excited to be organising the closing event of Angus Cycling Festival, but what could we do to close the festival with a bang? What are riders loving right now?
Of course it has to be an Enduro, but the most important part of any MTB race is the course and as I have never ridden in this part of Scotland before I was sceptical that would work. Surely there can’t be enough quality riding and elevation around Forfar for an Enduro….it’s not exactly Whistler is it?
Step-in Angus Bike Chain and the benefit of local knowledge. ABC have organised the Forfar round of SXC over the last few years and their XC courses always get rave reviews from the riders thanks to their inventive use of swoopy quarry trails and snaking Singletrack. If anyone could find a good Enduro course around Forfar it’s ABC.
Thankfully after riding some local gems and some top-secret trails with ABC it’s clear there is massive potential for a really fun Enduro here. The descents are not the longest you’ll find, but are just so much fun to ride, so we have now highlighted a potential 9 stages worthy of an Enduro! We won’t include them all, but no matter what trails we decide to use, the final course is going to be a scream.
And I haven’t even mentioned Reid Park yet.
If you haven’t been Reid Park, the site of the event village for ACF, it is an enormous parkland in Forfar which sits on a big, steep hill. So steep in fact, that locals use it for sledging in winter, but they usually only do half of it as they’d be doing 8oomph by the time they reach the bottom.
A big open, grassy hillside on a steep hill, that sounds familiar……
So Reid Park has the makings of a spectacular DUAL Spectator Stage and we have permission from Angus Council to use it for that purpose!
The Eliminator meets Fair City Enduro? Looks like we may have just invented Forfar Funduro!
The priority over the next two weeks is getting permission from Landowners to use some of the trails for the event, followed by finalising the course. As soon as we know what the craic is we will let you know, but you can safely book the 13th and 14th September in your Muckin’ Diaries as one for the “definitely” list!
Fai City Enduro
Thankfully, the only two real criticisms from Fair City Enduro last year were the fact that you wanted more stages with less queues, so we have two brand, new additional forest stages this year and they are simply brilliant! Both are between 1.30mins and 3 mins of descent are very fast, slippy and a total blast. You will love them both and we are changing the starting format to ensure queues are as short as possible.
There are still a couple of potentially huge FCE revelations waiting in the wings but that’s all I can tell you… for now.
In Other Muckin’ News:
The uplift road at Parkhill Farm is well under construction now and the digger and dumper are currently grading the road and cutting in a huge switchback. This will enable safe and quick transportation of riders to the top of The Bear and combined with the changes we have planned mean The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival 2015 will be well worth the wait.
Remember Muckmedden @Pitmedden Forest in 2012? It seems like so long ago doesn’t it? I think it would be great to do it again in Spring 2015 and I’ve asked Forestry Commission Scotland who don’t foresee any problems with that, so I’ll get the application form in and keep you posted on dates. I think April 2015 sounds about right.
Oh, is that an extremely angry and heavy looking rain cloud forming overhead? Sorry about that.
“£35 Adult and £30 Youth tickets for Fair City Enduro?
It’s a Muckin’ No-Brainer!”
*Only available in May while stocks last*
This is my first Blog since Roger and I decided to postpone The Eliminator until 2015. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but we definitely made the right one.
The Eliminator last year showed us that certain changes had to be made to the event and the most important change was to have a shorter uplift route. This would allow us to take more entrants and would also make for better spectating due to less gaps in the racing.
So, after some recceing before Xmas we found an uplift route that was ideal apart from one off-camber switchback that could do with some work with a digger to make it safe in all conditions. It would take riders from bottom to top in five minutes which was perfect, so we agreed to do the event again this Summer as it really was so Muckin’ Good last year. So changes were made to the format, an XC Eliminator tournament was added to the festivities on Saturday and everything was going ahead swimmingly.
Then a few days before entries were due to open, Roger took the Digger guys up the hill to get an idea of how much work needed to be done to make the switchback safe and useable over and over again in any weather. After stopping to open a gate, his Landrover started spinning its wheels and they almost slid off the side of the road and down the verge. That was on the “good” bit of the uplift track before they’d even reached the switchback and without towing 20 bikes and riders! It was becoming obvious this would be a bigger job than we had hoped, meaning significantly more investment in money, time, stress and - perhaps most importantly – hair.
Later that same day I got word that a funding application for the event was unsuccessful due to the timing of the application. All of a sudden things were looking even less rosy and we had a decision to make.
Multiple Choice Scenario (bear with me, it’s been a fairly taxing couple of weeks):
It’s just before pay day and you’ve invited your pals round for a delicious home-made meal. The day before they’re due to come round, your oven malfunctions and electrifies the entire kitchen. The repair man won’t be able to look at it until after your friends have arrived and there are no take-aways in your village and no, you can’t borrow your neighbour’s George Foreman grill either because it’s out of action as he hasn’t kept up with the laborious cleaning regime required to keep it hygienic. Just then the postman drops an unexpected bill through the door…..what a Muckin’ awful day this is turning out to be isn’t it?
Your friends haven’t booked their taxi or babysitters yet.
- Pretend everything’s fine, let them pay for baby-sitters and taxis and pray no-one gets electrocuted or dies of malnutrition.
- Put your house on the market and eventually move next to a Kebab shop (ok in the long term but no use tonight).
- Call your understanding pals and tell them what’s happened before they commit to anything financially. They invite you over to theirs for tea this time and when your oven’s fixed you invite them over for the best Muckin’ Meal of their lives without being electrocuted - and you all get a whole Vienetta for dessert.
Jeeso, I’m not sure what that was all about but hopefully you get the point.
It was difficult, but in the end the decision was made to avoid the possibility of letting down Sponsors and Entrants later down the line.
For next year however, I’m happy to say Roger and Parkhill Farm are 100% on board and we have some pretty darned special ideas planned for The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival. The event will undoubtedly benefit from us having more time to plan it and it truly will be a fantastic family-friendly bike festival to put in your calendar.
The last few weeks have been spent recceing various routes for a brand new Muckin’ Good MTB event which will be held in Angus and looks set to go ahead in September. I’m really excited about that one but it’s still too early to say much about it. I have also been making some changes to Fair City Enduro which will hopefully result in more awesome timed stages, less queues, more attractions and better value for money. Much more on all of that over the coming weeks!
I’m really in the mood for some Vienetta now.
Due to issues with our uplift route The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival has been postponed until Summer 2015
This is a huge disappointment considering all the effort that has gone into the event so far, but after a recce of the proposed new uplift route it became apparent the route requires significant investment in time and money to make it safe and usable in all conditions. We do not know how much investment is required until we start work and this will not be possible until the ground dries out. Although we could hold an event at Parkhill without the uplift route, it wouldn’t be The Eliminator without crazy Head2Head downhill racing so reluctantly we have postponed until 2015 rather than charging in with our fingers crossed and hoping for the best this Summer.
The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival has the potential to be the best family friendly Mountain Bike event in the country but it needs another 12 months to mature. We are genuinely sorry to disappoint everyone and we hope you understand why we decided to postpone the event.
Every cloud has a silver lining though, so keep an eye out for a brand new, 2 day Muckin’ Event which has been pencilled in for September 13th/14th of this year. If you enjoyed Fair City Enduro you’ll love it! You heard it here first Muckers……