Deadwater 100 British Champs Returns
The Deadwater 100 is a perfect fit for the remote and rugged landscape of Kielder and surrounding forest. Regular riders will know that the various trails are spread out around the bowl that sits atop of the reservoir designed to supply drinking water to the nearby sprawling cities. To do them all in a day is a decent sized ride so most people turn up and pick off one or two, the most popular ones being around the castle.
At the end of 2019 Cold Brew Events was approached by our local British Cycling representative Andy Cosgrove to see if we’d be interested in hosting the MTB Marathon British Championships. We had just come off the back of the first Deadwater 100 and received good feedback from riders with a general theme of “that was tough” running through the core of all comments. It was a good springboard to take up the challenge. For years the champs had been held very successfully on the Isle of Man and we had a hard act to follow.
Work commenced immediately after notification and routes were ridden for suitability and the area known as The Jungle was taken out as it might just be too much for a national level event. Why would cut arms, boggy ground and soul sucking long grass be a problem? Russell Stephenson took the lead at Forestry England and really pushed forward with trail repairs and strimming to give the best experience possible. What we ended up with was a change from the previous year with a shorter lap that would be done twice for the 100km distances or three times for the 100 miler.
In the end we delivered an event with a course that needs to be respected. Despite all the COVID restrictions, small transition areas, signs being taken down, last second route changes etc the big day went smoothly with smiles all round. The numbers for the champs races went up significantly now that it was back on the mainland and both the women’s and the men’s races were hard fought affairs.
We had already been told that the British Champs would be moving around the UK so our moment in the spotlight had passed when we submitted a tender to be part of the MTB Marathon series. A series of MTB Marathon events would be great for the UK and allow our top talent to develop on courses in England, Wales and Scotland. It came as a surprise when we were asked to be the host for the British Champs races in 2022 with 13th August set as the date. We’re determined to make the event even better than last time.
As usual, the major headache with this event is the route. Kielder is clearly delineated into north and south with a main road to Scotland slicing the two sets of trails as a barrier. Without being able to use bridleways it presents a huge challenge as the only real option is the Lakeside Way which is a popular route in the height of summer. We could try and host it all on one side with a short loop or try and figure out alternative crossing points north of the village. It will be a challenge we look forward to accepting and the end result will be something special.
There will be lots of hard work to do between now and then but we’re well up for the challenge. Keep an eye out for updates on our Facebook page. Now let’s make it happen.
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