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You are on the open road:
The name gives it away – you are riding on the road and so are other vehicles. Unfortunately we have not yet managed to close the road for other traffic which means that you will have other traffic users on the same road as you. Please respect them and obey the highway code at all times. There is no road too small for a tractor or a Land Rover to come around the corner. So please take caution at all times and only overtake other riders if you are sure that you don’t affect other road users. Please also keep in mind that the events are non competitive and that they are to be understood as personal challenges rather than races. It is always better to have a couple more minutes on your finish time than to end up in hospital.
If you are an experienced sportive or endurance rider then you know what we mean. If not make sure that you don’t get carried away early on. Keep in mind that you probably have another 20-30 miles (or more) to go when you and your group come to the first hill. It is easy to overdo it when you are new to this game so better step back a bit and make sure that the next 20 odd miles are still fun rather than a struggle.
Follow the markers (i.e. don’t get lost):
It sounds odd but please make sure that you follow the markers at all times. Don’t assume that the rider in front of you is going the right way all the time. Use your backup map when you are not 100% sure where to go and don’t take ‘made up’ shortcuts as it makes keeping the riders safe an impossible task. If you feel at some point that you can’t carry on and you want to take the short way back to the event village make sure that you let one of the marshals or even better the service stations know so that we know that you are safe.
Eat and drink enough but don’t rely entirely on us:
If you are riding for a long time it is hugely important that you feed your engine – your body – with fuel. Please don’t wait until you’re hungry or thirsty to eat or drink because when those feelings occur you’re already running at a deficit. A good rule of thumb is to drink 500 – 750mls of fluid and to eat one energy bar or three gels per hour of riding. There are food stations out on course but they are purely for topping up your supplies. Check out the Torq offers in the event village before the ride: it is good stuff and it works! You can find some more in-depth info on the diet pages of our marathon website.
Have the right equipment:
You have to wear a helmet at all times. No helmet no ride. Make sure that your bike is in perfect working order and that you have the right spares with you in case something goes wrong with your trusted steed. As all of the events are held in areas where the weather can change quickly make sure that you have the right clothing with you for your ride. And finally you don’t have to use a road bike. You are welcome to use a mountain bike for your sportives – as long as you are having fun.
These are only a few points which we think are important for you to have an enjoyable and safe riding experience. We have quite a few more general ‘commandments’ and some FAQs on the marathon website. Simply go to www.mtb-marathon.co.uk and click onto ’15 commandments & FAQ’s.
FAQ – what other people have asked already and what might also be informative for you too. Please read on! We will try to update this throughout the year so if you have any other questions please send them our way and we will get them up here.
Are the Road Sportive Challenges races?
No – the same applies here as it does at the MTB marathons. The sportives are non-competitive and are run on the open road rather than on closed off sections.
How old do I have to be to take part in the Road Sportive Challenges?
Minimum age is 16 years but the rider has to be accompanied by parent or guardian. 18+year old rider can take part unaccompanied.
Do I need to bring a map and find my own way around?
No. The Road Sportive Challenges are fully marked and there is no need for a map or any navigation skills. The courses are clearly marked. You will be equipped with a basic map as a backup for the marking around the course. Don’t assume that the rider in front of you is always going the right way. If unsure please stop and check your backup map.
Are there service stations around the course?
Yes. You will find a feed station roughly every 25-35miles on the Road Sportives and a technical support station at every other feed station. Please check the map and your briefing for the approximate distances in between the service stations. The feed stations are for replenishing your supplies but they are not to be relied upon as the only source of your provisions. Please make sure that you bring plenty of food + drink especially if the weather is hot and sunny.
Do the Road Sportive Challenges have mass starts?
No they don’t. The start is run as an open start where riders will either be ‘released’ one by one or in small groups. The start is normally open from 8am on Saturday morning and will stay open for approximately 1 hour.
Are camping facilities available?
Yes. All events have camping facilities in close proximity to the event village and the start and finish area. Showers and toilets are in and around the event village and there are extra toilets to be found within the campground.
Can we reserve an area in the campground?
No, we don’t take any reservations. We have lots of space at the events and ask everybody to find their own pitch and to leave plenty of space for late arrivals.
Can I bring my family?
Absolutely – the more the merrier. All event villages and campgrounds are located within walking distance of the town centres of the host town and we are constantly improving our kids and ‘left behinds’ entertainment. You can find further details and contact numbers on the Local Services page.
Is it possible to arrive on Friday and stay all the way up to Monday morning?
Yes, no problem. The campground is open from Friday afternoon onwards and stays open until the Monday morning. We will make sure that facilities are in place so that you can enjoy your mountain bike weekend away.
Are bike cleaning facilities available?
Yes. We will have between 2 – 4 power washers with us which will be available on Saturday and Sunday. As you can imagine they do get rather busy at times so please be patient and watch the queues for quiet periods.
Is there a caterer on site?
Yes. We will have a caterer on site that will have a breakfast and a lunch/dinner menu. Besides that we normally have a Café2You van on site serving high quality hot drinks.
Is there secure bike storage?
No. You have to look after your own bike. So far we have never had any problems with bikes going missing but please come prepared just in case.
Are there showers near the campground?
Yes. Showers are located in close proximity to the campground and will be open from Saturday morning onwards.
It is possible to enter on the day?
Unfortunately we can’t guarantee that. Entries to the various events are limited and might fill up before the event weekend. We recommend entering well in advance.
Do I have to sign-on myself or can get a friend or family member to do it for me?
Yes: you have to do it yourself. If you can’t make it to the registration (the registration opens at 7am – 9.30am on Sunday morning) before it closes we can’t let you take part in the event.
Is it possible to sign-on on the morning before the ride?
Yes. The registration opens at 6pm on Friday of every sportive event weekend and stays open until 9pm that evening. It opens again on Saturday from 7am – 8pm.
How does the entry process work?
If you enter via the paper entry form please fill it out and return it together with your cheque. Once we receive your entry together with your cheque we will send you your confirmation by post or by email. The confirmation will not have your start number as they will be determined the night before the event. You will find your number at the alphabetical listings we will hang up around the event village. You can also enter via our online entry facilities. When you get to the online entry page just follow the on screen instructions. You will receive an email confirmation (so please make sure your email is correct and working) but it will NOT show your start number. You will find your start number at the alphabetic listings we will hang up around the event village.
Do I get a start number on my written confirmation?
No. The start numbers will be on alphabetical lists around the event village from Friday evening onwards. Besides that the signing on sheets will be in alphabetical and numerical order so that your name and number are very easy to find.
How can I find out my start number at the event?
Simply go to one of the alphabetical listings around the event village and look up your name. You can also go straight to registration where the signing on sheets will be in alphabetical and numerical order which will make for a quick and straight forward identification of your number and signing in line.
Are the events easy to find and signposted?
Just make your way to the towns where the events are taking place. The event villages (start and finish) will be clearly signposted from Friday afternoon onwards. Please check on the ‘Local Services’ page for further information on the various locations.
Are there alternatives for me to stay if I don’t fancy the campground?
There are plenty of affordable hotels and B&Bs in the area(s). Please have a look on the ‘Local Services’ page on our website (www.mtb-marathon.co.uk) for contact numbers.
What is happening on Saturday? NEW FOR 2013: Saturday is all about MTB riding this season. Contrary to our events in the past we are now running the marathons on the Saturday. Signing on will open on Friday evening and then will be open again on Saturday morning.
You will still get the chance to have a good look around the event village and enjoy your time around the campground but now you don’t have to drive home after you have ridden 80km off-road. We will have a bar on site so that you enjoy a well deserved drink after your ride and we will also have live music in the event marquee. Our caterer will be available throughout the weekend with cold and warm food and snacks. Exception to all of the above is the 1st round in Builth Wells where everything stays the same. We have the Exposure Lights Big Night Out on Saturday evening followed by the Marathons on Sunday.
What is happening on Sunday? NEW FOR 2013: Sunday is now the main sportive event day. Two distances will be on offer with a convenient start window from 8.30 – 9.30am. After the ride we will have coffee/tea/cake with the riders as well as their sportive certificates.
Can we get a map of the courses beforehand?
We will put a map of the course up on the various event pages as well as make a GPS version available. Please keep in mind that the published courses might still change prior to the running of the events. All distances and amounts of climbing are approximate.