Mountain Mayhem Stories

Home Forum Bike Forum Mountain Mayhem Stories

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 41 total)
  • Mountain Mayhem Stories
  • Premier Icon theotherjonv

    From last year.

    I know you can accept assistance from other riders on the course and swapping spares is allowed, but when does a spare cease to be a spare?

    As I exited the last bit of singletrack (the bit that flows better the other way, take note course designers) and started the long fire road grind back towards the finish, the proper racer bloke in front of me stood up on his pedals and ‘twang!’ – that’s his chain gone. It’s about 10 to 2 and he’s immediately off and running, which was when i noticed his pedals – Time like mine. So as i ride alongside him I said to him – do you want to ride this one? Turns out he’s desperate to get back as he’s got a slim lead over the next team and they really need to get out for another lap. Whereas I’m under no false impressions from my teammates that another lap would be A VERY BAD THING! So we ‘swap spares’ – I take everything minus a chain, and he takes my bike which had obviously become ‘spare’ by then.

    The only issue as i got on was, that it turns out that although I’m 5’11”, he’s about 9’6″ and when I’m on the saddle I can’t reach the flool to scoot along. And he’s got some fancy seatmast thing that I can’t put down and given his seatpost looked more valuable that my frame, I wasn’t going to force it! So my last memories of Mayhem 2008 are of ‘granny-shopper-scooting’ along standing on one pedal on the flat and uphill and then wincing over every lump and bump on the down because even standing up, there was enough elasticity in my chammy that my nuts were just grazing the saddle every time.

    I never did find out where they came either. Probably just held on to 64th, I suspect. But they won their own little race, which is what counts.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Hi all,
    It’s coming up to that time of year again and once again Singletrack will be producing a Mountain Mayhem supplement edition, the usual info about the race, the venue, maps and…a few stories from you guys.

    So, what have you got? Any tales of heroism, courage, woe. Battles with mental or mechanical gremlins. Funny or sad, winning or losing, disastrous or triumphant, anything and everything considered. Anyone with any stories to tell feel free to put finger to keyboard – ideally around 200-300 words or so please and maybe you’ll see your efforts in print. 🙂

    Over to you… Thanks all.



    ^ that’s ace. great story!

    Premier Icon shortcut

    i just remember it was really, really horrible at about 2am. So horrible in fact it was my last lap. No one else from my team went out until a couple of hours after dawn. My bike was well tired and I had to stop for a kip on the A417 on the way home.

    Horrible, simply horrible. Don’t do it!


    see, the last couple of time I have done it as part of a team it has gone something like this:

    14:00 Go Go Go
    Midnight: Drink, drink, drink
    03:00 sleep, sleep, sleep

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Need more than one story!
    There must be some more out there…

    Premier Icon twinklydave

    well if you slightly ignored the 200-300 word thing (and, erm, quadrupled it…) you could use this

    though i think it would put more people off than encourage them!


    I met fantastic people does that count?
    Ho and I replied to a small kid in the car park only to have is mum telling me:
    “Are you this crazy french from the forum”…
    A star is a star indeed 😉
    If that does not do it for you, I did woke up last year with my tent upside down due to the wind…


    Not so much a racing story but definitely something that says a lot about why a lot of people actually do the event.

    In 2005, Gareth, one of the Las Vegas Institute of Sport’s regular Mountain Mayhem team, had been struck down by an operation to remove an ingrown hair (several inches long and twisted around his spine apparently) which essentially meant spooning out part of his back…

    Unable to ride and despite the horrendous weather at Eastnor inaugural event the previous year, Gareth didn’t want to miss out on the Mayhem experience so he volunteered to be the LVIS “Camp Manager”.

    As the weekend of the race arrived, it looked like we were facing another washout year with torrential rain starting on the Friday and forecast on the Saturday too. Even the most happy-go-lucky member of the team had second thoughts about whether to actually turn up to race again. Luckily we were well prepared with a large marquee and all sorts of camping gear but once the race started, it became clear that the weather was going to take its toll on bikes, kit and potentially senses of humour.

    Realising this, Gareth took it on himself to provide constant entertainment, banter, encouragement and even simply company (especially during the overnight laps when everyone else was asleep). He also decreed that it would be appropriate for him to have a beer for every lap that we rode – In the end, a decent haul of 16 beers – and to keep a barbeque going pretty much right through the event delivering a non-stop buffet and warmth through the night laps.

    There’s no doubt that our Camp Manager made the difference between that year’s Mountain Mayhem being a real slog and as it turned out, a brilliant weekend spent with mates.

    Premier Icon veedubba

    For me, last year’s Mayhem was a bit of an unusual one as my wife had given birth to our first child (a boy, Patrick) 7 and a half weeks early just 2 weeks before the event, and was still in hospital with him.

    However I didn’t want to let my team down (!) so I went to the hospital (we live in South Wales) in the morning and stayed with my new family unit until the afternoon. I kissed my wife and tiny baby goodbye, sauntered out to the carpark and then hared off down the motorway to pick up 2 bikes and a weekend’s worth of camping kit, food and spares.

    I arrived at our 2-team camp late afternoon and was scheduled to do my first lap at around 10pm, as we were doing doubles so that I could “slot in” without anyone else having to do any extras. I think it was still relatively dry at this point, so I took my time putting the tent up and generally calming down after tearing round like a maniac for the previous couple of hours.

    My first (and,, I’m ashamed to say only) 2 laps were wet night ones. On a course that I’d not ridden in daylight. On the wrong tyres. In a very hot waterproof jacket. Still, I only hit my head on one overhanging branch and managed to ride over half the course, albeit very slowly. I stayed in bed until it was light, as did the rest of the team (in different beds, I hasten to add).

    Anyway, it cleared up the following morning and 2 of the guys decided to man up and do more laps, of which the star had to be Danger, with his 3 back-to-backs at the end of the race where he posted our fastest lap time and still managed to finish grinning like a nutter. We all agreed that we’d give it a miss in 2009…

    I managed to pack up and get back to the hospital in time to bring my new baby (and fantastically understanding wife) home for the first time, which was the highlight of the weekend, but it’s going to be a family affair this year since they’re coming along as race support. Can’t wait!

    Do you thinkm they will do a Big Bike Bash edition?


    2007, whist drunk decided to pull the helium “Giant” blimp on the Giant stand down as far as it would go then let it go, much to the annoyance of the security who were watching me, and Giant whose stand I seemed to damage… 😳

    Premier Icon votchy

    Last year we turned up with a new team (mispelt giving it a whole different meaning The Client Duffers instead of The Clent Duffers), one guy never having done MM before. As team captain I got volunteered in to doing the first lap. I can’t run for toffee so was well down the field, not a worry as our goal was to finish and enjoy the event.
    Once on the bike things went quite well for the first half of the lap, got scared whitless at the bottom of the grassy climb up from the lake to the Red Bull tent as some lady jumped in front of me and shouted ‘you’re a winner’ and handed me a card for my spot prize from STW. having lost what little momentum I had the climb was a bit of a drag. Having got to the top I tried to quicken my pace slightly and as I dropped down the other side on the grass towards the fireroad behind the woods, the gentle right hand bend got the better of me. Down I went with a thud in front of a reasonable number of onlookers, with my pride dented I jumped straight back on and pedalled away on to the fireroad, once I was convinced I was out of sight I squealed like a girl, every breath I took sent a sharp pain through my chest, riding along the almost imperceptible climb of the fireroad I kept down shifting and downshifting until I was granny granny and still the breaths were causing my eyes to water with pain.
    Eventually the fireroad incline got too much and I had to walk, missing out all the fun of riding the twisty singletrack through the woods, my determination not to let the team down meant I walked the entire remainder of the lap, acknowledging the words of condolensce from riders of all levels as they flew past me with a raise of my hand and unable to hurl abuse at the rider who shouted ‘you could at least run’, walking was painful enough. Felt so embarrassed as I walked past the boys we ride with on a Wednesday night from The Duke William at Wyre Forest but thankful of their help in getting me back to the start/finish line.
    A sorrowful team captain handed the baton over in the pits then proceeded to get ambulanced to the first aid area where I recieved 2 Ibuprofen for the pain having been examined and diagnosed as bruised ribs.
    Stayed to support the team throughout the weekend and couldn’t believe that my 2hr 10min first lap was not the slowest, there was a team behind us at the end of the first lap!!!
    Safely home on Sunday and a trip to A&E revealed 2 broken ribs and a demotion to team vice captain this year, with a proviso that I have to do at least 2 laps this time.


    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Top work guys, keep ’em coming. 🙂

    Premier Icon Napalm

    Crazy Legs

    Hello, I submitted a story for inclusion to Chipps in December. Has he still got it – it’s a review of the 2019 championships?

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    I forgot to add – nice guy that he was, he met me at the timing tent and insisted on giving me some reward for helping. I insisted that he needn’t worry, it’s all part of the service but he was determined on pressing something into my hands.

    Like I said, I didn’t need any reward but just in case I did, a half eaten pack of Clif Shot Blok’s wasn’t exactly what i had in mind.

    I still ate them though.

    Premier Icon DaRC_L

    Mine is a story of unfinished business….

    I’d never been before, having had to cancel the previous year when my team-mates all fell by the way-side as the date got closer (excuses ranging from ‘my mum died’ to ‘I forgot’. So MM Ben (as he shall be called) put a post on this forum’s previous incarnation for people to form a scratch team. A number replied and we sent him the money. Training started – I’d not raced for 10 years and even then was a middle of the pack Sport racer.

    Come the start 4 people who’d never met were ready to start MM. Our team ended up doing pretty well as fortunately the other 3 guys were fit and fast.
    On my first Lap I discovered I’d been training for a 6 hour Enduro not a 1 hour sprint,
    On my second lap I discovered that my body was starting to reject energy drinks/powders. Little did I know it but the bonk was coming on.
    Then it rained.
    Waiting to start Lap 3 at why-am-I-here a.m. the pits were full, 3 deep with keen racers vying for position to spot their incoming team mates.
    I set off keenly and got up the first hill on my Blur, the Lumicycles were going well. Then the Blur lived up to it’s MM reputation. Clogged with mud I started what was to be a long drag. With many a slip, trip and fall – half way round the bonk kicked in. Dragging this cursed muddy full-susser as lithe XC racers carrying carbon hardtails skipped around us muddy mortals. Somewhere along the way my addled brain was convinved I’d shattered my lights (that’ll be dried mud not broken glass). Eventually the long dark drag reached the last bit of woods, I wearily cleared all the mud from the chain, derailleurs, wheels, gears and got on the bike. I pedalled gloriously – now I could get going – then the lights dimmed and went out…
    I’ll be mostly dragging…
    After a stupid amount of time, 2.5 hours or something I crawled into the pits. No longer 3 deep but mostly full of riders desperately searching the empty pits for team mates to hand their batons over to. I handed over the batton and appeared, like a mud-zombie, at Wilf’s where the nice girl gave me comforting looks and hot chocolate.

    Lap 4 – the Blur was crustifying nicely so I dragged out my reserve singlespeed hardtail. At least it was light, there was day light but I was out and out fooked. An enjoyable lap but embarassingly slow. Particularly for my fit and fast team mates – I took the right decision and left them to do the remainder of the racing.

    All in all I’d had a classic MM experience – not fit enough, took the Blur and discovered it’s a lovely bike but wrong for the mud at MM. After Lap 3 I swore I’d never, ever, ever do something like it again. After Lap 4 and breakfast I was plotting a return.
    Sadly this year’s event has to be skipped as a roadie-mate persuaded me to ride the Etape for his stag-weekend… now the wedding’s off but we’re locked and loaded with Ventoux in our sights <sigh> more pain then.


    Last year, it was my second MM. All exciting but a bit tired due to late travelling from abroad. Our captain started the first lap. We were all excited to ride our bike and to nail as many loops as possible. We saw him flying past the camp and we started counting that the next rider would have to be ready in 30min. So we went 30 min later to swap rider. 30 min later, still no captain. Then 1h later, nothing. 1h30 later still nothing. 2h later, black hole. We start to ask the medical team if they saw number 184, but no. No red helicopter went through the grey sky. Where is our captain? We could see now people doing their second or even fifth laps. WHERE IS OUR CAPTAIN???? Please let us know Lord, we are agonising now. And then we got our first answer from one of his friend doing a loop, telling us that he crashed badly and he was walking back. Yes, that was Votchy.


    More unfinished business…

    Last year was my first year at Mayhem and I didn’t get one trouble free lap 😥
    First lap nothing to exciting but had a bad run and got stuck in a stack of traffic through the first half of the course, no real drama
    So second lap I was all ready for a good clear lap,
    on the way back down from the first half of the course along a bit wooded single track on a raised bank where it dropped of the bank to the right round a stump
    The guy in front of me went down fairly hard, but more importantly managed to put a 4-5inch gash on the front of his shin.
    It looked pretty nasty, wide open but very clean and fairly blood free, I assume he must have caught it on the edge of his disc
    I used my marginally sweaty Mayhem buff to hold the wound together and soak up any blood while keeping the guy (can’t remember his name now) as comfortable as I could
    A friendly and helpful marshal arrived fairly soon but the ambulance had a real problem finding us and getting there and took ages.
    I was happy to stay with they guy and help, we eventually set him on his way to hospital.
    So I went and finished my lap and handed over to my team mate who was wondering wtf happened.
    So third time lucky I thought, it was now dark and pretty wet, so knew it was going to be a hard lap,
    especially after seeing one of my mates from another team coming back looking like he’d been mud wrestling.
    So I set of and was really enjoying it, got all the way round the first half of the course so I thought I’m through the worst of the slop, it’ll be easy from here
    Climb out of the village to the other side of the course grabbed a red bull at the top,
    then coming down the now very slippery grass bank going towards the fire road by the woods. About half way down I hit a bit of an unexpected bump (riding rigid) and lost the front
    What should have been a relatively painless slid in the mud ended up with a Crack! 😳 me in a lot of pain and what I thought was a broken ankle.
    The marshals turned up one of which said ‘don’t I recognise you’ ‘ah yes’ from a few hours ago on the other side of the course with the other injured guy
    So a fairly uncomfortable ride to the hospital (just missed the guy I’d helped previously), The hospital staff weren’t quite sure what to do with me covered in mud head to toe in the early hours.
    A trip to the disabled shower and some fetching hospital pyjamas and I was all set for X-Ray
    In and out of there twice as the Dr was convinced that it was broken, turned out to be torn ligaments.
    I’ve broken my ankle before and I can say I’d much have rather broken the bone! Less painful and quicker to mend too
    A £30 taxi ride back to the camp site in my pyjamas 😳 for a breakfast beer with my team mates.
    Ready for my 120Mile drive home Doh! Luckily one of my mates drove my car back and I got a lift in the back of another mates camper van.

    All in all a complete disaster.
    One of my mates did manage to get me a new Buff for free from the guys at the buff stand after telling them my story

    I can’t make this years, but I will be back next year for unfinished business

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    that story has me squirming – that grassy slope terrified me every time. At least twice I set off in the normal manner, front wheel first, only to arrive at the bottom with the back wheel having overtaken me part of the way down!


    While I was lying there for 20 mins or so until the ambulance go to me.
    I saw loads of riders comming off with, bikes often reaching the bottom before the rider, no others with injury that I saw thankfully

    luckily my bike and I had been dragged to the right off the line so I didn’t get mowed down

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Luck really wasn’t on your side last year was it?!
    Clearly not heard of quitting while you’re ahead… 😉


    I must have been a few minutes behind you there 29erKeith as i saw the ambulance and medics there .

    and yes I slipped too and the bike got at the bottom before me .


    I remember that grassy slope on my third lap when things had become challenging.

    I heard 2 people come off as I came to the top and decided to walk down. As I slithered down a guy came past me going head over heels with his bike in a most impressive manner. I was convinced he must have hurt himself but as I walked over to help him he jumped up and set off again.

    DarC L – Remember it well – fond memories!!


    That grass slope was fine during the day but once it started to get wet it was lethal! I was riding rigid, hit the same bump, lost the front end and slid down it giggling. Luckily I was able to jump on and ride away rather than using the ambulance option…


    2005 & the dirty bugger who shat in the shower,thankfully I noticed it before getting all my clothes off & got out of there sharpish.But it has scarred me for life,even at home I check the shower before I get in, just incase………. 😕


    Surprised by Blur comments as mine went fine in 2005 with a bit of clenaing between laps and 2.1 tyres and in 2007 with some skinny Houfalize tyres and each time teams kept going all the way through.


    I really enjoyed the three years of Mountain Mayhems I did in the mens sport team events with our MCC Offroad teams. I can vividly remember the bad years and the highlights of finishing each of the laps in those years – 2005 and 2007 – especially on the fast downhill run into the finish. My first ever night lap in 2005 was brilliant and was buzzing around our camp so much when I got back around 2am that me and Dave from our other team went off to the food tent to avoid waking everyone up.

    Never seem to sleep much and in 2007 after returning from another nightlap, again around 2am, I thought rekindling the bbq/raised fire thing would be good to keep me warm after bike cleaning & cold pasta salad as I watched the riders on the gentle grassy climb up through the campsite. I didn’t cheer as much as I’d planned to as the smoke blowing across the course for about 10 minutes and the resulting coughing and heavy breathing from the pasing riders and then the flames drew a few odd glances with riders veering away to the far side of the track.

    Best moment: finishing my 5th and final lap after a two lap stint on my first Mayhem when rest of the more experience team had had enough of the mud in 2005. It was a great feeling crossing the line to a handshake from Pat and then being pretty much horizontal just past the finsih area for next half an hour. Mutiple slips in 2007 came close, including losing the bike sideways so fast on a downhill that both feet unclipped and fell straight on arse for a downhill hill slide on the grassy Z bends back into the campsite halfway round resulting in a 20 foot bumslide in front of one of the photographers.

    2006 was dry and dusty and just too many laps for our team, 33, all laps pretty similar not a great year.

    Worst moment: 2007 after muddy nightlap and badly needing leg and back massage to keep me going from great guys and girls who volunteer and support our events I didn’t have time to get back to camp before they closed. After taking off soaked shoes I spied the bike wash just along the track near the lake. Tiptoed over through the mud and gravel – Arrgghh! 5 seconds each leg and jet wash felt it was ripping skin and calf muscles off!


    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Good memories there mudhound. 🙂

    If anyone has any info about how they/their team prepare for MM that’d be good too. Doesn’t matter how serious you are, in fact it’d be better coming from one of the teams who just wants to ride it and have a good time rather than a team that’s going all guns blazing for glory.

    Again, as funny/serious as you want to make it, keep the stories coming in.



    I fell in a deep puddle. At night. Still clipped in. People rode past me like I wasn’t there. As my shoulder began sinking into the mud I struggled to get free of the bike but couldn’t.

    I was going to drown. In a wood in Stafford. With people going past me all the time. I shouted for help. None came.

    The mud was now on my face. I hunted for the bottom of the puddle with my hand but all I found was mud. I kicked at the bike. I went in deeper.

    “Help! Help!”

    I girl stopped and asked if was alright.
    “No!”, I blubbed through the thick mud, “get me out”.

    She grabbed me and with surprising strength dragged me across to dry ground.

    She was gone before I could catch my breath and say thanks. I love that girl, whoever she was.


    Mountain Mayhem, 2008.

    Having been lucky enough to miss the worst of the mud in the middle of the night, I went out at around 5:30am in the early sunshine on a fast drying course, and was really enjoying myself.

    Approaching the entrance to ‘Crazy Coppice’ wood however, any riding skill I once had deserted me completely. Too sleepy to remember my brand new cleats, I ran out of grip, failed miserably while trying to unclip and landed elbow first on possibly the largest, pointiest rock on the entire course, still clipped in.

    One cut to the arm all the way down to the tendon, a lot of blood, a ride with the medical team down to the arena and 18 stitches later, I returned to my bemused team who wondered why on earth my lap had taken so long and was promptly relegated to pit bitch for the rest of the race.


    Mountain Mayhem 2003.

    We had a university team in (Durham) and managed to get a bit of a ringer to ride for us (Jody Crawforth). We weren’t a bad team, just not quite as good as:

    “Well here come the leaders after lap 1, it’s the Raleigh World Team from Giant World with, er, hang on, Durham University in 3rd”



    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    I remember that gee! We were in the same category as your team, we’d pull ahead then Jody would go out and do 3 laps on the trot and haul you all the way up the results table again!


    Rode last year as part of a team. Finished my last lap about 11Am ish on the Sunday, so proceeded to drink lots beer and heckle everyone riding by ( was only about 300 yards past the start line so had a prime spot) after 2 hours I was quite pished to say the least.
    Our team mate Jon was doing the final lap, so me and other members of the team thought we’d moon him to give him some ‘ecouragement’. However….

    as Jon rode by I forgot to move out of the way, Jon went to steer pasrt me, I then thought ‘**** , lets move!’ Right into his path…

    A 9 stone whippet going at 15 mph hits a 15 stone drunk ****. Laws of physics take over, then gravity…

    Jon is lying on the floor in serious pain with a bust collar bone. The other members of the team get my bike out, stick Jons number plate and I cycle pissed for the last 8 miles of the lap. all I can remember thinking is get the first half done before the beer really kicks in. bit of wishful thinking as my higher order functions had already shut down..

    Only fell off twice though.

    Will take this shame to the grave, sorry Jon! Remember kids, bikes and drink don’t mix.


    Having exhausted / run out of enough gulible friends over the past three MM’s I’ve now cobbled together a team with my two teenage sons & nephew & have hired a team ambulance in anticipation….

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    I don’t suppose anyone from one of the more ahem “slack” teams wants to write a few words about their or their team preparation do they? Ideally a team who turned up just for the craic, a team who’s preparation consisted of buying the beer aisle at Tesco’s or something similar… 😉

    Cheers all.


    It’s the only event I’ll do until I stop riding bikes. NPS, Gorricks, Southerns may go by the wayside as life rolls on but that weekend will be in the calendar forever!



    2007, at about earlyish on the Sunday I was on my fourth lap for Ken Dodd’s Dad’s Dog’s Dead Hard (KD4H) in the ferny section on the far side of the course. Came up behind a slower female rider but there wasn’t the room to get by.
    Sat back for a while before I started to get impatient thinking “Come on girlie, some of us are racing”. Managed to get by when I saw her Solo Sticker. “Fair Play” thinks I and engage in chat to offer support.

    Me: “How you doing? Had any rest?”
    Her: “No, just keeping on going.”
    Me: “How many laps?”
    Her: “This is my eighth. Hoping to do Twelve”

    I’ll get my coat then.

    2008. About 3am after the downpour and I’m just dragging my stumpy round feeling very sorry for myself. Get to the handover tent and the next rider says “We’re not going out-it’s mental”. I almost cried!! Thankfully they did a couple of laps once it dried out. Vowed to get a singlespeed fully rigid bike after that and never do MM24 again!! Thankfully those ideas have faded!!

    2009. Team’s got entry. Fitness and riding going well. Managed to sh@g my shoulder in a bike crash and am doubtful that I’ll be able to get beyond the pits 😥


    I don’t suppose anyone from one of the more ahem “slack” teams wants to write a few words about their or their team preparation do they?

    I can give you an idea of our experience last year…

    A couple of us went down on Thursday morning last year and set up our Mexican camp (if you were there you will remember us being not long after the start line…big Poncho Repairs sign…)

    Cutting out all the cactii and blowing up all the sombreros took up most of our allotted training time, so we drank. From Thursday morning until the drag race on Friday night.

    I came second (dressed as Amy Winehouse, beaten by Chris Akrigg…no shame there), and continued the drinking whilst waiting for the other riders in our team to turn up.

    The race came. I think we may have done 3 lapes each, but my most vivid memory is coming back into camp around midnight – being handed a bottle of tequila and a beer, and drinking until it was too late/we were too drunk to ride again.

    We left at some point in the morning. Joolze Dymond posted up here that they were looking for us on the finish line – may be something t do with our ace camp – but we had long gone.

    Mayhem was never about the riding….

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 41 total)

The topic ‘Mountain Mayhem Stories’ is closed to new replies.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks are open.

Skip to top