- Do I get confirmation of entry?
- Can I enter on the day?
- How do I get started?
- Which category should I enter?
- How long is the course?
- Will I get lost?
- Will I get in the way of other racers if I'm slow?
- Are there specific feed zones?
- What sort of bike do I need?
- Is outside assistance allowed if I have a mechanical
- What should I wear?
- How do I go faster?
- Where can I practise?
- Where are the nearest Railway Stations?
- Am I insured?
- What facilities are there on-site?
- What safety cover is provided?
1. Do I get confirmation of entry?
You will receive automated confirmation emails from MBSA (the online entry website) and PayPal (confirming your payment) which you should bring print off and bring with you to the event.
3. How do I get started?
Just turn up at least two hours before your race starts. This gives you time to complete your entry form and pay, collect your race number, before going for a warm up ride and to practise the course. Then get yourself to the start line with ten minutes to spare.
4. Which category should I enter?
If you have never raced before or ride very infrequently enter either the Beginners (1 lap) or the Fun class (2 laps). Though most people who ride regularly at weekends are probably capable of 2 laps non-stop. You could always change categories at the next event.
5. How long is the course?
Cross country lap lengths are based on time more than distance, so an average rider would lap in 30 minutes, a fast rider in 22 to 24 minutes. This tends to equate to between 4 and 5 miles depending on the venue and trail conditions. Obviously there are many variables that change this, so a practice lap is recommended to familiarise yourself. All categories race on the same length lap, there are no shortened courses for younger riders.
The Enduro distances are specified in the relevant sections of the website, they will typically be 10 miles for the Enduro Challenge at Swinley, and approx 8 miles for the 12:12 TORQ in your Sleep.
7. Will I get in the way of other racers if I'm slow?
Faster riders normally shout their intentions as to which side they want to pass. Find a suitable place to move aside and let them pass by quickly. If you're riding a practice lap please be courteous and make way for people racing.
9. What sort of bike do I need?
Nothing special, just use your regular mountain bike, but check that it is in good working order to save the disappointment of not completing the event. People compete on anything from fully rigid bikes with no suspension, to hardtails with front suspension only or full suspension front and rear. Most bikes these days have at least 24 gears (three front chainrings / eight rear rings on the cassette) more than enough to get you up the steepest slope or fastest downhill. Some riders prefer the option of a singlespeed especially in bad weather conditions, but we don't have special categories for these.
10. Is outside assistance allowed if I have a mechanical?
You may summon help from other riders in your race, such as borrowing a tube, pump or tools, that's if they wish to stop! Assistance from spectators is not allowed.
11. What should I wear?
Your normal cycle clothing in addition to a hard shell cycling helmet. If you're just getting into riding a pair of jeans, t-shirt and trainers would be enough to get you out there, but cycle specific clothing is far more comfortable to wear and protects you better in poor weather.
12. How do I go faster?
If you really want to build up more stamina, speed and skills you either need to take up some form of training, or join a club so you can ride regularly in groups with riders of higher ability. Often you improve without even realising, plus it's fun too. Some local clubs are listed on the Links page.
13. Where can I practise?
Sorry but practise at the race venues is not permitted at the venues other than on race days. However, we would recommend the following areas for riding: Swinley Forest (permit required), Military Land at Hawley, Aldershot, Ash and Yateley Common. Or get yourself an Ordnance Survey map to plan your own routes.
16. What facilities are there on-site?
Race and spectator facilities include: provisional computerised results displayed after the race (full results will be available on the website that evening), race commentary, event photographer, hot and cold refreshments, bike mechanic, trade stands, mobile marshals, toilets and free parking on hard fire roads.
17. What safety cover is provided?
Paramedics and an ambulance are always in attendance and the course is patrolled by travelling marshals. Where the course meets a footpath, the crossing is deemed a Non-Competitive Zone and riders must give way to other land users.