Every Cloud……….

March 14th, 2014
by Aaron

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.

Do you;

  1. Pretend everything’s fine, let them pay for baby-sitters and taxis and pray no-one gets electrocuted or dies of malnutrition.
  2. Put your house on the market and eventually move next to a Kebab shop (ok in the long term but no use tonight).
  3. 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.

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The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival is postponed until 2015 :-(

February 28th, 2014
by Aaron

Muckin’ Newsflash!!!

Due to issues with our uplift route The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival has been postponed until Summer 2015

We’re sorry :-(

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……

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Here we…here we…here we Muckin’ go…

February 10th, 2014
by Aaron

Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival Logo GREY

Online entry for The Eliminator 2014 opens at 8pm on Friday 28th Feb! 

Eventbrite - The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t think The Eliminator would happen this year.  It was a hell of  lot of work, from designing the course from scratch, to working out the Elimination format, to working out uplift routes and times and convincing people it was going to be worth the entry fee and for a hundred other reasons that are far too boring to mention.  And it certainly wasn’t financially viable (but that’s a story for another day) :-(

So that was that, and there wasn’t much to update on this Blog for a good few weeks.  However, we loved it and after hearing the amazing feedback from everyone who came last year and talking with Roger, Manager of Parkhill, it just had to happen again or we’d have a Muckin’ Riot on our hands!  So, based on last year’s findings, we’ve come up with a few changes to the event that will make the event better without losing it’s Eliminator-ish-ness.

The first significant change is a shorter uplift route which will get riders from pick-up point to start line in about 5 minutes rather than 20.  Surely that’s got to be an improvement straight off!?  Also, having one-minute intervals between each pair was unnecessary, so riders will leave in pairs at 30 second intervals this year instead.  These combined changes should mean more runs take far less time, which will hopefully make the racing more exciting for everyone.

Last year’s format was a bit tying for some people as it relied on everyone being there for both days, so this year on Saturday morning there will be an Open Track Session which will allow non-racers to ride the Head2Head track alongside practicing racers.  Another significant change is that “Seeding” for the race will take place on Sunday morning instead of Saturday which should also make the format more flexible.

Despite these tweaks it’s the same Eliminator that everyone loved last year, so once again we’ll have riders on Carbon Hardtails wearing tight clothing, going head2head with Storm Troopers on Downhill bikes on an absolutely brilliant course that makes both of them smile.  “But”, we said.  “We could hold another race with a slightly more XC/pedally focus too”?

It’s a great idea in theory but a major attraction of The Eliminator is exciting head2head racing – both for spectators and riders.  I can honestly say I love XC racing, but watching riders grind up a hill every 20 minutes isn’t exactly edge-of-your-seat stuff – unless you’re one of the riders, so how could we spice things up and give XC a shot of Muck-Nitrous?

Firstly, we’d need a compact track which allowed spectators to see as much of the racing as possible from one position (preferably the Ale Tent!) and we’d need it to be fast and interesting to ride with corners, technical features and lots of overtaking spots.  The races should be short and intense – about 5 mins per heat – with a maximum of four riders per race.  And obviously as this is called The Eliminator………..I think you can see where this is going!?

The Eliminator XC promises full-throttle racing for riders looking for something competitive, different and most important of all – FUN, FUN, FUN!  It will be similar to the Head2Head race in that a seeding race will split riders into performance-based groups and everyone will race people of a similar ability in the Elimination Heats.  This means if you don’t consider yourself to be an “XC” rider you’ll probably end up racing against other “I’m not really an XC riders”.

The Eliminator XC tournament will be held from early afternoon on the Saturday until early evening and no doubt spectators and Eliminated riders will line the course and give their encouragement to the remaining riders as they give it some Muckin’ Beans past the Ale Tent!  A Mid-Summer evening involving music, bike racing, beer and camping?  Oh mammy, I just cannot wait for this!

Despite all this race talk, anyone who was there last year will tell you The Eliminator is so much more than just bike racing.  We’ve got great tunes, good food & drink, an undercover seating area with blinkin’ straw bales to lounge about on and once again our friends at The SMBC are going to be keeping families happy with their free mobile bike track, Balance Bike Race Series and Junior XC Races which were so popular last year.

For less competitive riders there will be a way-marked “Scenic Ride” along The Fife Coastal Path starting right at the campsite, so throughout the weekend you and the family can ride at your own pace and enjoy beautiful views of the River Tay and beyond.  We’re even going to stash munchies and drinks along the route for you.  Oh we’re so Muckin’ good to you :-)

There are a shed load of other plans in the pipeline which will be updated as they are confirmed, so keep an eye out over the coming weeks.

We said last year that The Eliminator would be the best weekend you had on your bike all Summer…….and it turns out we weren’t wrong.  Unfortunately :-)

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The Eliminator 2014 is On!!!!!

January 13th, 2014
by Aaron

Book the 26th and 27th of July in your diaries Muckers coz it’s happenin’!

The Eliminator – the most exciting, most fun, most family-friendliest, most chilled, most Summeriest, most beeriest, most awesome-iest MTB weekender of the year is coming back to Parkhill, Newburgh……only this time it’s going to be even better.  Is that even possible?  Let’s find out.

Lots (and lots) more exciting info to follow but for now, don’t book your Summer holidays on the last weekend in July……..unless it’s to sunny Fife.

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2013 – The Year of the Muck

November 7th, 2013
by Aaron

Muckmedden_Black_BG

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. Eliminator Flyer j-peg

“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.

_DSC2217 (1)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?”

Roger; “Yes”.

Me; “What will be planted in this bottom field Roger Ramjet?”

Roger; “Barley”. 

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).

Crazy CropsThe 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.Alison Annison and Julia McLeanThis 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.

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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!

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One down – One to go.  Only 12 weeks until….

Fair-City-Poster_OPT

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.
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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!.a8While 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!
IMG_5479---26Oct2013Next 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!
1422804_543088609117574_1333074197_n961234_543088615784240_759461546_nAfter 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……..Arrival Poster

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.
IMG_5881---27Oct2013As 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.

007w961239_543088719117563_682014474_nDSC_3570IMG_6251---27Oct2013The 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!DSC_3924Once 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!DSC_4597

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.

Thanks

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 ;-)

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