Michael from Merida writes…
Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series 2009 & entry facilities now open
The 2009 Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series will be once more sported by our long standing and loyal sponsor Merida Bikes. For the 2009 series will again 5 UK events plus one ‘Merida Marathon on Holiday’ round in Austria up for grabs, all together we have 29 courses to choose from which will allow riders of all ability to find the ideal challenge. We have been busy on the marathon website and the site is now includes the downloadable entry forms and the updated online entry. Riders will be able to enter all Merida bikes MTB marathons (except the Austria round) and Gore Bike Wear Sportives through the entry facilities.
The marathon concept:
As in previous years all events will have four different course lengths to choose from so that every rider can find a suitable challenge. The exception to this rule is the Exposure Lights Big Night Out weekend where there is one course length on Saturday night and three different lengths on Sunday. The courses are approximately 25, 50, 75 and 100km long. All marathons are run as non-competitive one loop rides with the start and finish being conveniently located in the event village and the camp ground. All rides have mass starts where all courses and categories start together. As always every entered rider is invited to take part in the pre marathon ‘carbo loading’ at the pasta party and will be given the obligatory finishing T-shirt when coming over the finish line.
2009 dates (Merida Bikes MTB Marathon to be run on the Sunday of the event weekend):
11-12th April — Builth Wells featuring the ELBNO Night Marathon
15-16th May — Crickhowell
4-5th July — Llanwrtyd Wells (featuring the Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive on Saturday)
18th July — ‘Merida Marathon on holiday’ Bad Goisern, Austria
1-2nd August — Selkirk (featuring the Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive on Saturday)
19-20th September — Ruthin (featuring the Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive on Saturday)
Unfortunately the planned Barnoldswick round had to be cancelled due to excess issues which could not be overcome but rather than cutting the series down to 4 events John has managed to find two new locations to fill the Barnoldswick gap as well as replace the Builth Wells summer round. That means that we will have 8 completely new and never before used courses to the 2009 line-up. Exciting times in particular for the regular marathons riders we think. Beside the new additions we will see the return two long standing events within the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series – the Exposure Lights Bike Night Out (sponsored by Exposure Lights) night marathon and the ‘on holiday’ round in Bad Goisern, Austria.
1st event of the season – only a little more than 2 months away:
Following the order of the last few years the first event of the 2009 season will be the Exposure Lights Big Night Out night marathon powered by Exposure Lights. The ELBNO night marathon is almost entirely run at night and features an approx. 40km long course which is loaded with single track, open moreland, forest roads and fast flowing off road sections which will make this event a real challenge without taking the chance of a weekend double away (riding the event on both days – £15 discount if you enter the ride both days). The ELBNO is followed by the Spring marathon on Sunday morning which will have three different courses (approx. 30, 45 and 65km) on offer.
MTB-Marathon Guidebook 2009:
Our next project is to put the 2009 issue of the MTB-Marathon Guidebook together. As it looks at the moment the new issue will come out early spring and will be sent to our entire database. If you are not currently on that list and you want to receive a copy (FOC) simply send your postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org. The booklet will be full of reviews from 2008, details about the 2009 events, tips and tricks from the world of marathon riding and details on all the other events we will be running in 2009.
We will have some more news on the Gore Bike Wear Road Sportives (which will be part of the marathon series again) and the TransWales 2009 – 7 day stage MTB challenge in the next few days.