Those of us predisposed with the mountain biking racing genome are chomping at our knuckles hoping to get back out and get stuck into some solid trail smashing. Long climbs to burn the lungs followed by snaking down some flowing singletrack is food for the soul. The lockdown has wiped out the entire early season racing calendar with top events such as Hammers 8, 10 Under The Ben, GT7 plus a multitude of local races all being knocked on the head. Following on from this domino effect of cancelled races and a gradual easing of restrictions it does lead to the inevitable question: when can we can started again?
The answer to that question is for greater minds than ours – preferably by people who have access to all the best medical, social and economic advice available. Land owners would need to re-open safely, accommodation be available to house competitors and facilities be able to handle people in accordance with new guidance. We mentioned previously that events such as the Hammers 8, Deadwater 100 and The Chiller can all lend themselves nicely to social distancing guidelines. However, they don’t exist in a bubble and need to be supported by many organisations to be able to manifest themselves.
Whilst all this was percolating with interest I noticed an update from the organisers of Exposure 24/12 – this years British 24 hour mtb championship. This is a pretty large scale event scheduled for the end of July down on the south coast of England. The update went as follows:
Event Update – We are sure you will all understand that planning any event right now is very difficult for any organiser. We simply don’t know what the situation will be come the end of May, through June or at the end of July.
That said we are fully committed to making Exposure Lights 2412 happen at the end of July. We admit that is looking unlikely but so much has changed within the last 2 months so who knows what could happen before race day. We remain positive!
We have until 1 month before the event weekend before we have to pay final fees on equipment and the like. That is our cut off. Past that is the point of no return.
We understand that regardless of the situation we will have to put in place some new controls to ensure the event complies with government guidelines.
We hope that those that have already entered will stick with us until then in the hope that the event will go ahead.
Should you wish to get a refund then you can log into your Racespace account at any point and process a refund or credit.
Hopefully we will update you all soon with positive news.
So some cautiously optimistic tones then. The cynics may say it’s an overly optimistic stance given all the shouts for lockdown here, lockdown there, lockdown everywhere. We think it’s a very balanced statement and reflects a desire to make the event happen. Just like the Chiller it has the capacity to keep everyone in their own space and apart from other competitors. Clearly they need to be very mindful of government advice which could fluctuate in either direction but it’s great to see the will in there to try and make it happen. It’s safe to say that if it happens we may well be making our way down to get some racing in.
We have our own Deadwater 100 two weeks after the 24/12. This doubles up as the 2020 British MTB Marathon Champs which was quite a scoop for our lonely outpost in the North East of England. Kielder’s vast wilderness and hard wearing trails are sure to test some of the best cross country riders in the land. Most British Cycling staff have been furloughed and all cycling related events have been cancelled up to and including June. So it’s from this background that I ascertained an update from higher up in British Cycling looking for advice:
We are currently planning for various eventualities, depending on how government advice evolves. One of these is a resumption of cycling activities on 1st July, in which case the Deadwater 100 may be able to go ahead, however we are planning to issue more detailed guidance by the end of May. Unfortunately we are unable to give any more information at this point.
So again it’s not a no as the landscape looks very delicate. Even if it was a green light then it would still need the backing of Forestry England who hold to keys to Kielder forest. Aligned with their duty to public health is a commitment to support local economies and small businesses who would have been hit hard by this pandemic. Cold Brew are holding hopes of making the magic happen but as an assurance we’ll be offering a transfer of dates or refund if we have to move the event.
Our other races of Hammers 8 and The Chiller are both in October and we’re very hopeful these will go ahead. By that time we’ll all be super fit and ready to really go at it!
So in the end we’re starting to at least think about the green shoots of recovery. For the events industry, any part of it, this can’t come soon enough.