Sunday 2nd saw the opening round of the popular Thetford Mtb Racing Winter Series. Santon Downham was to be the location for what promised to be a cracker, rolling singletrack, nothing in the way of leg burning climbs, but plenty of opportunities too smile as the pedals were turned.
The Revel Race Team was represented by 6 riders in both the senior and veteran categories, each starting in the biggest field of over 200. No categorised race starts in this series, its just one big bundle!
With the start opening up into a long fire road, which had some deep looking puddles in the centre on the run to the first turn, position was all important, Justin Sanderson and Dick Barton chose the left Myself,Garry Houghton, Dale Batchelor and Will Mitcham chose the right. I wont say which the best option was but it was a while before we caught Dick and Justin buggered off into the distance!
The race itself was erm…pretty grim, with spots of rain as we sat on the startline got bigger, they also decided too hang around for longer than we would have liked and the lap became errr, well lets just say a hippo would have loved it!
After 2 laps, the conditions had taken its toll, Dale Batchelor who was swapping the camera for a bike, had too drop out with an unknown problem (most likely a huge dose of common sense). Will slashed another tyre, which meant a long walk back in the rain, further choice words and the fact we had blocked him in with cars meant he was there to cheer on the team who slogged it out!
The few, or the mad as they should be known, slogged on, Justin used his immense power too grind his way round to 16th in vets, proof again that a healthy diet of beer and foreign food do power a cyclist! Garry invited me too tag along and using his silky smooth skills plus about 25% of his energy he made sure I was shot to bits by lap 3 and rode away with 20th overall being his reward. For me it was all about staying upright, I have a reputation for crashing yet the coditions made my horrendous skills look good and even a sprint finish with a King’s Lynn MTB Club rider saw no need to visit the medics this year! 29th in vets being the reward. Dick rode at a sensible pace, kept it the right way up, and finished 51st, and muttered something about a hot tub and shot off towards home!
All things considered, we did ok, mtb in the east, may be slightly down on numbers, but its still a competitive place to be.
See you at round 2! More details of the series here.
The 2014 Dusk ’til Dawn mountain bike night race, took place on the weekend of 4th October. Starting at 8pm on Saturday night, participants raced non-stop until 8am on Sunday morning, in teams or as solos.
September had been warm and dry, but autumn seemed to hit us suddenly on Saturday afternoon just hours before the race, with heavy afternoon rain and cold, clear weather behind it. Thankfully the sandy soil of Brandon (Thetford) soaked up most of the damp and the course was riding well.
The Revel Outdoors team was represented with two teams of 3, one team of 4, and a solo.
Jamie Wightman and Steve Heathcock were out first for the 3 man teams, with Michael Stoveld starting out the 4 man.
Jamie and team mate Darren Davis had to ride as pairs for the first 4 laps while their 3rd team member, Stephen James, returned from holiday in Crete! But they still managed to get up into 2nd place behind the Ashbys. Steve was sent out on two back-to-back laps as soon as he arrived as punishment! But as usual, he was blindingly quick, and the team kept 2nd place all the way to the end.
Joining Steve Heathcock were Darren Styles and Will Mitcham, who managed to cling onto 5th place for most of the night, before ending in 6th – a brilliant result considering Darren was recovering from a broken shoulder!
Dick Barton, Rob Balaam and Kurt Broad raced with Michael Stoveld, taking the event slightly less seriously and enjoying the evening; although some good consistent riding and some very quick laps from Kurt saw them finish in an excellent 10th place.
James Deane completed 3 laps in the solo category, but he wasn’t having much fun, and called it a night.
Overall, another great night out and some brilliant results.
Thanks to Paul and all the ThetfordMTBRacing crew for another enjoyable race, and thanks also to all our supporters and fellow competitors. Bring on next year!
The last 2 events in the Mud, Sweat and Gears Eastern XC mountain biking series took place at Shouldham Warren, Norfolk and Langdon Hills, Essex. The Revel Outdoors team was out in force at both events, with some great results to end off the season.
Round 7 – Shouldham Warren
The Shouldham race, on the 7th September was hosted by the King’s Lynn MTB club who have done a great job of creating a new and fun venue for mountain bikers in the region. Richard Muchmore was once again on the No. 1 step of the Grand Vet’s podium.
Jack Styles, 14th Juvenile Males
Jamie Wightman, 4th Masters
James Deane, 7th Masters
Justin Sanderson, 25th Vet
Darren Styles, 37th Vet (recovering from a broken collarbone)
The Langdon Hills course lived up to it’s name, with plenty of sharp climbs and quick downhills. Even though it was the end of September, the temperature was 24C so it was hot and dusty as well – another great race!
Richard Muchmore was away competing in the 3 peaks Cyclocross challenge, so Garry Houghton was left to do the honours in the Grand Vets, coming in 5th to give him 4th place overall for the series. Jamie Wightman had a last lap cat-and-mouse game with another rider, just managing to pull away with a sprint at the end to get another 4th place in the Masters.
The Revel Outdoors Race Team participated in the hugely popular and well run Torq in Your Sleep, 12hr Mountain Bike Race, held on the bank holiday at the end of August. The race started at noon and finished at midnight, giving riders the chance to experience the course in full daylight and at night with lights. Over the last couple of years the race has attracted many top elite riders from around the country, so the competition was fierce.
The Revel Outdoors Race Team was represented by the 4-man team of Jamie Wightman, Richard Muchmore, Darren Davis and Justin Sanderson. The 12hr solo event was covered by James Deane.
Sunshine and dry, dusty conditions meant a fast a furious race right from the start. With plenty of short, sharp climbs and loads of twisty, rooty single-track, each lap required 100% concentration with no room for resting.
At 8 o’clock we switched our lights on, and continued to race flat-out into the night. Our 4-man team spent the whole race just behind our friends from the Kings Lynn MTB club who pushed us out of the top 10 into 11th place (out of 49 teams).
James Deane soldiered on through the dust to complete an heroic 14 laps, or 101miles to finish in a highly respectable 12th place. For the full soloist’s perspective read his blog on the race.
Once again we thoroughly enjoyed the event and will be back for more next year.
The latest race in the popular Eastern XC series saw the team tackle their home training grounds, the fast rolling, dry trails of Santon Downham, Thetford Forrest. Usually an area known for its own micro climate and areas of historical value, quite fittingly the Grand Veteran Riders on the team stormed the field on a hot day!
Being the first weekend of the summer holidays, Team numbers were down on previous rounds, due to family commitments and injury, but that didn’t distract from the quality field who turned up to race on probably the best trails East Anglia has to offer!
The organisers had laid on a cracking lap, fast, dry and flowing, with a very large smattering of dust too! Anybody mid pack during the start of each race really needed a face mask just to make it to the first corner!
On the startline for Round 6 we had,
James Deane (masters)
Will Mitcham (masters)
Justin Sanderson (Veterans)
Garry Houghton (Grand Vets)
Richard Muchmore (Grand Vets)
Dick Barton (Grand Vets)
With a start time of 2pm, it was hot enough just being on bottle duty in the feed zone, so the riders had my deepest sympathy, (albeit from the luxury of my chair). Each of them set off amid a cloud of dust and coughs from fellow competitors!
James and Will had clear trails ahead of them being in the first pack away, James rode a very strong race, and looked smooth and comfortable throughout (must be all those enduro miles). Will after a good start, hit trouble on lap 2 with air burping out of his rear tyre, and attempts to re inflate it proved to be futile, after 4 stops he had throw in the towel and accept defeat.
Justin was all alone in the Veterans class, but with his head down and a grin wider than a fire road, nothing seemed to faze him, well until he was caught and passed by one of the older team riders!
In the Grand vets, Richard Muchmore was always in the mix, a smooth start and riding at a pace that saw him in the lead group throughout could only mean one thing, Victory! A rider who is never far away from the podium, this time it was the top step with his name on it after what can only be described as a lesson in race craft.
Garry had a strong ride, riding to a top 10 position again, but he was hoping for better. Dick made it 3 riders to finish in the Grand Vets, and kept himself out of trouble and just got on with the race to finish 20th.
The next round of the series is on September 7th over in Norfolk at Shouldham Warren.
Round 5 of the British Cycling Eastern XC Mountain Bike Series was held near Chelmsford at a location owned by Radical Bikes. The venue is used predominantly for jump bikes, which meant a course full of constant ups and downs, tight-twisty turns and a real overall body workout!
To add to the challenge, there was a heavy downpour halfway through the afternoon race which had a significant impact on the riders’ ability to get round in one piece.
Revel Outdoors had another good turnout, represented across most classes from Juvenile to Grand Vet. Richard Muchmore achieved the best result with 2nd place in the Grand Vets, while Jamie Wightman was the fastest rider completing 7 laps in 1h 53m.
Racing kicked off at 10am – Jack was out on a bone dry course in beautiful sunshine and looking far happier than he did in the mud of round 3! This time he returned with a beaming smile on his face, after a sprint finish and a dead heat on the line he was happy with 19th.
With the action for the others kicking off at 2pm, the riders set off early for a practice lap. From my view stood on the side lines, they really took their time doing 3 miles! But all returned ok and ready to race.
With the limited space on site, gridding was “cozy” with a short straight leading into a right hand sweeper, so being near the front was a massive help. Luckily every class got away without incident, and the first 2 laps passed without incident. The short nature of the course meant lap times were around 16 minutes, so everybody was coming round far quicker than usual. The excitement of the first 30 minutes of racing was soon changed with a heavy shower, which made the lap very sketchy and more challenging than before. Suddenly riders were coming through showing signs of crashes!
To their credit the Revel riders soldiered on, some losing a place or two as confidence took a hit, but a few shone in the conditions, flying up through the order and going very well. Richard Muchmore seemed to find another gear, and even through all the mud, he didn’t stop smiling!
Sadly for Will, his race finished a lap early, after an impact with a tree at speed, on a root covered section left him with a set of nasty looking bruises and ripped top. The others all made it safely over the line, and looked really pleased to have finished.
The 101st Tour will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,664 kilometres, running from Saturday July 5th to Sunday July 27th 2014.
There’ll be a mixture of stages so every rider type is catered for.
– 9 flat stages
– 5 hill stages
– 6 mountain stages with 5 altitude finishes
– 1 individual time trial stage
– 2 rest days
For the riders there is a selection of jerseys to compete for, from the Yellow Jersey to the Red Polka-Dot Jersey. So, whether it’s Cav going for Green or Froome for Yellow this Tour is going to be epic! Not to mention the first 3 stages are in the UK!
Many of our customers are now realising just how exciting it is to watch the Pros race. To aid your watching we’ve put together a Revel Outdoors guide to explain the different Jerseys that are competed for at the Tour de France.
In total there are 4 Jerseys that are competed for on a daily basis. As well as the jerseys there is also the team classification and the Combativity award.
Yellow Jersey Traditionally called the Maillot Jaune, this jersey is awarded to the rider with the lowest cumulative time for the distance completed so far – the leader of the General Classification (G.C.).
The holder of the Yellow Jersey at the traditional finish on the Champs Elyse in Paris is crowned the overall winner of the Tour de France. Generally the jersey is decided in the mountains where the real tour winning action takes place.
Last year Chris Froome took the Yellow Jersey home and he’s back to defend it this year!
The Polka-Dot Jersey
The winner of this jersey is known as the ‘King of the Mountains’ as it is awarded to the best climber in the race.
The leader of this competition wears the distinctive polka-dot jersey each day. Points are awarded for positions at the top of climbs, both along the route and at summit finishes. Each climb is classified, the higher and/or steeper the climb the hard the climb will be categorised. The harder the climb, the more points will be awarded to the rider who reaches the summit first.
For example; for the Cote de Cray climb on stage 1 this year there is only 1 point awarded to the first rider over the top. Compare this to Montee dy Hautacam climb on stage 18 where 50 points will be available to the first rider to reach the summit.
The organisers of le Tour classify each climb and award points as follows:
– “Highest level” passes: 25, 20, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 points respectively for the first 10 riders to finish.
– Category 1 passes: 10,8,6,4,2,1 points respectively to the first 6 riders to finish.
– Category 2 passes: 5,3,2,1 points respectively to the first 4 riders to finish.
– Category 3 passes or hills : 2, 1 points, respectively to the first 2 riders to finish.
– Category 4 passes: 1 point to the first rider to finish.
Points awarded are doubled for finishing on the 10th, 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th stages in this year’s race.
Famous riders to wear the Polka Dot Jersey are GB cyclist Robert Miller in 1984 and French rider Thomas Voeckler in 2012.
The Green Jersey
The Green Jersey is also known as the ‘Point’s Jersey’ or ‘Sprinters’ Jersey’. Points are awarded each day for position, rather than time, across the line. So riders who finish consistently high each day build up green jersey points. The flatter stages offer greater points rewards to keep the daily race action lively.
Additional points can be picked up at intermediate sprints known as ‘Primes’ or ‘Hot Spots’ placed along the route.
To win this jersey the rider has to be a consistent, fast finisher on the flat stages and be able to survive the mountain stages in one piece.
In 2011 Mark Cavendish won the Green Jersey and this year he is out to do the same!
The White Jersey The White Jersey is awarded to the leader of the young rider category. For a rider to be in contention in the young riders category they have to be under 25. The White Jersey is basically a young person’s version of the Yellow Jersey. Few riders win both the Yellow and White Jerseys in the same year but the White Jersey winner usually finishes in the top 10 in G.C.
Last year Nairo Quintana won the White Jersey and finished 2nd overall on the General Classification.
The Team Classification
Along with the different Jerseys there is also a Team classification prize. The team which has five riders with the lowest cumulative time will wear a yellow background on their race number that is pinned to their jersey. Taking it one step further, it has been known for the leading team to wear yellow helmets so they are more recognisable in the bunch.
Lastly there is a daily award for the most aggressive (combative) rider of that stage. This doesn’t mean the rider who barges their way through to get to the finish first; this is awarded to the rider who has been the most active during that stage, generally being awarded to a rider who has constantly been attacking and in the breakaway on that stage. The rider who is awarded the Combativity prize will wear a red background on their race number for the following stage.
Your own Tour Inspired Jersey
Inspired by the Tour and want to have your own yellow jersey but not quite good enough to win one at the Tour de France? Then here’s Revel Outdoors answer to each jersey;
The FS260 Pro II jersey is Revel Outdoors’ answer to the Maillot Jaune!
Santini’s solution for the rider in white is the Tempo Jersey
Ickworth Park, Mud Sweat and Gears Round 4, 8th June 2014.
Race day dawned; the skies were dry, sunny and very hot for the riders who attended Round 4 of the MSG series being held at Ickworth Park. More famously the Family Seat of the Marquis of Bristol, the grounds of Ickworth Park has been opened up over the last 3 years to become a firm favourite among the Eastern Region Cross Country MTB scene. Ickworth provides a course that not only tests the legs but plays havoc with the mind!
Heavy rain on Saturday had made the course very tricky in places; surface changes through the challenging 3 mile course ranged from dry hard packed grass to thick slippery mud. Also thrown into the mix were a few tricky descents – the racers had a course that really tested tired legs and bodies.
Our Revel Outdoors race team had a great turn out of riders, spread across the many categories during the day. Some looking to gain points in the overall series and others simply looking to get their race season underway. On parade we had,
Jack Styles (Juvenile)
Garry Houghton (Grand Veteran)
Darren Styles (Veteran)
Rob Balaam (Veteran)
Jamie Wightman (Masters)
Steve Heathcock (Masters)
Will Mitcham (Masters)
With the action kicking off at 10am, Jack had probably the worst conditions to contend with. On his dad’s old Giant Anthem he pushed himself round for his best result of the season so far (15th) returning with a bike that weighed more than him!
As the afternoon arrived and more sun on the course, it was time for the senior members of the team to embark on a practice lap. Conditions had changed a little; the surface had gone from boggy to sticky, making it very tiring for the legs. Some parts were now so slippery that even staying on the bike was a challenge!
By 2pm, the air temperature had risen to around 24 degrees, making hydration even more important than normal. As the various grids were assembled and the start procedures were given, nervous riders went through their unique pre-race routines. To the onlooker some of these routines are questionable but once adrenaline is pumping things just happen.
Each class is started with around a minute gap to give everyone a fair chance at the first corner and subsequent climb. This gives each category a good run at the first part of the lap.
Each rider gave everything they had, putting in strong rides and testing both their bike handling skills and willpower from start to finish; Revel Outdoors owner Jamie looked like he was floating on clouds, Steve made the climb (which Darren hated) look like it wasn’t there, Rob secretly loved every minute of it, even Garry had time to shout words of encouragement, and Will (still sore from a day of motor racing at 120mph plus on the Saturday) increased his bruise count by coming off hard on a root-littered muddy section.
Darren Styles (Veteran)
“Great to be back out there! The slog of the uphill parts was duly rewarded by the fast flowing downhill section and the drop into the pit – knowing there was a baying crowd there meant the A-line was the only option!”
Garry Houghton (Grand Veteran)
“My choice of race bike was perfect for at least 50% of the lap, sadly the other 50% was made up of conditions I hate and I struggled. Fatigue got the better of me towards the end, possibly because of trying too hard in the bits I don’t enjoy. But points on the board and there is a long way to go yet.”
Will Mitcham (Masters)
“My confidence took a battering on the practice lap, but encouragement from my teammates, got me back on the grid and ready to go. Sadly, a fairly sizeable moment in the slippery wooded section saw me compound injuries I was already carrying.”
Steve Heathcock (Masters)
“It has to be UK mountain bike racing when it’s summer in the air and winter on the ground! Great course though, real shame about the 24 hours of rain that ruined it really. Jamie and I went off pretty quick at the start of the Masters race. We were running together until the rider in front of me dismounted on a short sharp up, forcing me off as well. I lost Jamie’s wheel and that was that! Dig in and get to the finish!”
Rob Balaam (Veterans)
“After practice I decided a slower first lap in these muddy conditions would help save the legs for later laps. I had no incidents but did lack front grip – the thick sticky mud was to much for my front tyre but I ploughed on through the mud on my Cannondale Scalpel. Exhausted I reluctantly pull out after 3 laps – back to the training before the next race for me.”
Jack Styles (Juvenile)
“That was tough, my bike weighed more than me at the finish! I felt like I was ploughing rather than riding!”
Taking place on Sunday 1st June was the Gorrick Summer Monkey Enduro MTB Race. With options from the 1 hour beginner race to the 6 hour category there really was something for everyone. James D, a member of our race team, was there to compete in the 6 hour category. Here’s his race report of the event…
The Summer Monkey was one of those rare races where sun cream was actually needed rather than waterproofs!
The Gorrick team had put together another of their popular courses around Ceaser’s Camp consisting of swoopy singletrack, long fireroad climbs and fast descents.
An additional obstacle was also present in the form of militant dog walkers who seemed oblivious to the ‘cycle event’ notices and race tape marking the course. One of which clotheslined me off the bike with their giant pooch on an extendable lead. Ouch!
I took my Cannondale Scalpel 29, a bike that pretty much screams at you to push it as hard as you possibly can and rewards you with great handling and speed on the trails. I still need to teach myself to ignore its demands, as thrashing your legs off isn’t the best strategy for a 6 hour race and instead settle down, let the plush Lefty soak up the bumps and enjoy the ride.
Legs mashed, I wasn’t expecting a great result so was pleasantly surprised to finish 13th rather than languishing at the back where I thought I’d be.
Next up for is 80 miles and 4493 metres of gruelling climbing at the Devil’s Challenge in Wales. Don’t fail me now legs!
The 3rd round was wet and muddy, with several riders pulling out due to mechanical failures. Stephen James began the 4hr race in his usual spot at the front, but was soon stuck in one gear and had to ride the majority of the race single-speed. He still managed to hold onto 2nd place.
For various reasons (mostly the weather forecast!) Garry Houghton was the only team member in the 2hr Vets category, coming home in a solid 26th place out of 110 riders. Stephen Heathcock only managed one lap in the Seniors 2hr race before pulling out with mechanical trouble.
The 4th and final round saw the return of the sunshine and dry weather, making for another fast and flowing course.
Showing off his new Revel Outdoors and Cannondale sponsored Renvalt RT kit, Steve James powered away from the rest of the 4hr field to finish a clear 15 minutes ahead of everyone, and take the series win. Steve’s Strava activity for the race is quite remarkable: 65 miles of mostly twisty singletrack at an average over 15 mph!
In the 2hr seniors race, Revel Outdoors owner, Jamie Wightman, had a close duel with fellow staff member, Dan Collins, with Dan getting the better of him on the last lap to finish 12th. Jamie came in 40 seconds later in 16th.
In the 2hr vets race, Garry Houghton had a great race, finishing 20th, with Darren Styles coming in 46th.