Ride It Out
It’s safe to say that we are bursting at the seams to be able to put on events again. It’s been a devastating time for our industry which has been effectively shut down since March. Event companies are prime candidates to be slipping through the cracks of financial help schemes so it’s really been a case of holding our breath until that point where we can reach the surface once more. On a personal level it’s been hard to take as I’ve spent years building, learning and developing the events to what you know today. Everyone who has entered over the years has played a part in that.
With news of a vaccine sitting in the near future we are tentatively (fingers crossed, touching wood and all the rest of it) planning that we can look forward to once again getting back on it. There may well be restrictions that need to be in place but we managed a couple of events with these already and it was no great hardship and people generally accept that if they want to take part in activities they enjoy then they can stick to the rules. The Eastgate TT downhill race and the East G8 8 hour endurance race went very well, even despite the torrential rain at the latter event!
So what are the plans? As with most businesses there is a huge degree of uncertainty which makes it hard to make firm plans. Events in the next few months leading up to spring may well go ahead but we can’t say that with absolute confidence until we know the lay of the land. From spring onwards however the picture improves significantly and that’s when we’re hoping to really make progress. Cold Brew had managed to secure a few high profile events that were to make their debut in 2020 but will now hopefully come back with a bang.
The Deadwater 100 was selected as the MTB Marathon British Championships in its first return to the mainland after years on the Isle of Man. The race will need to be slightly adjusted as sections such as The Jungle need to be taken out as apparently they just aren’t acceptable on national level race. Softies! Why would people complain about a long, overgrown section that is very hard to ride and attempts to shred your skin at every opportunity? When the event was postponed in 2020 a few riders were withdrawn and refunded. We’ve made contact with British Cycling to see if they can edit this event to be 7th Aug 2021 and hopefully set out some guidance as to when they plan to return to competitive cycling. Even if the format has to be a time trial start instead of a mass start I’m pretty sure everyone would still be game.
Sticking to mountain biking and the Kielder area we had also snared the final round of the British National Enduro Series which was to be The Descendant weekend. This was a new event in 2019 with 3 stages and boasted 2 of the longest runs in England as they started at the top of Deadwater summit. One went down the usual mountain bike tracks with manufactured berms, rock features and a fast profile. The other weaved through an off piste track and generally pushed the limits of peoples skill and bravery on a bike. No trail maintenance has been allowed during lockdown but we’re hoping to make this a 5 stage event in 2021 with entertainment if that’s allowed.
Road cycling has seen a huge boom during lockdown as many people made a big effort to get themselves fit. Bike shops sold out with many models on back order and no date given for resupply. This situation has been resolved with shops now being fully stocked for the Christmas period once more. We have a large amount of entries sitting in the MOD Rocker event which is a popular sportive from the sleepy hamlet of Alwinton. This will be changed for 2021 with a brand new route. The Ministry of Defence have changed their land access policy and want to charge a significant fee to use their roads. Ignoring the fact that they are a public body who then want to charge the public to make more money on top of their multi billion pound budget…we can’t retrospectively add on this fee to people who have already entered. As a consequence we have planned an excellent brand new route on quiet Northumbrian roads in and around the Coquet valley that will be a proper test of legs and bike. More details on that soon.
Running events have been sorely missed. That sense of camaraderie, pushing yourself, competing against others, getting out into wild spaces and clearing your head just can’t be replicated by training on your own. We’ve continued to be out in the hills just to make sure they don’t sneak away whilst we’re not looking. Hedgehope is still every bit as steep and large as we all remember, the crags of Thrunton give that big air feel and the monsters of Simonside have had a meagre diet as it’s just too easy to catch day walkers whereas runners are far more of a challenge. Those runs that are not subject to any overarching land owner restraints have a very good chance to go ahead.
Now for the C word. No-one can say for sure what’s going to happen but the general event craic prior to lockdown was that tiers 1 and 2 allowed sporting events to happen with restrictions. Tier 3 was a no. We await details on what the setup will be from 2nd December but we imagine it will follow suit. At the time of writing the numbers in the north east do not make good writing but there is time for all this to change.
Once we’re back to normal I think we’ll all be grateful and feel privileged that we can take part in events once more. After all, these are things which are good for the spirit as well as the body and anything that promotes health at the moment can only be a good thing. We look forward to seeing you all soon.