Black Mountain 3 Day Challenge

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Photo by Benji Haworth

The course has been set, the caterers booked, prizes secured and the tents have been tested… now they just need riders.

Black Mountain 3 Day Challenge is an inaugural event and a very ambitious challenge for new promoter Bearded Man. The event has been created from the top down, meaning they have created everything from a rider’s perspective – this is only possible because they are stage riders ourselves and they have considered everything to make this event an absolutely amazing experience.

The Bearded Man team has had fantastic experiences participating in multi day events across the world: “We want the UK market to be able to experience the camaraderie between a bunch of riders tackling daily trails, sharing their experiences over breakfast and dinner and forging new riding relationships as they share the common goal of completing a difficult challenge. Historically the opportunities for multi day events in the UK have been very limited and this is exactly what we want to rectify.

“As the start date gets nearer they need to ensure that we have a sufficient number of riders so that we can create the experiences described above – we don’t have those numbers yet. We have therefore given ourselves until the 30th June 2010 when we will reassess the situation and decide whether to postpone the event. So we are appealing to anyone sitting on the fence or delaying registering to get in there and sign up now because we are closing registration on the 30th June 2010 – you won’t be disappointed.

“We would be devastated if it came to postponing the event, as the amount of time and effort we have devoted to this venture is immense. However, we would rather not run an event than host something that doesn’t get smiles all around!

“The trails are great, the views are fantastic and the stage is set for a tough 3 day challenge. We hope to see you there.”

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Cotic RocketMAXer. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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Comments (26)

    If only I wasn’t on holiday when its on 🙁

    I really hope this is not postponed….

    Can’t, I’ve got to work, otherwise I’d be there.

    £220 for a new (admittedly 3 day) event from an unknown organiser might be asking people to gamble a bit too much maybe?

    Maybe if they did a 1 day marathon one year then expanded the next when people had heard of them they may have had more takers.

    Would be sad if it did get postponed though.

    I’d enter but money is too tight for me to take the gamble I’m afraid.

    where on the website does it say how many kilometres you’ll be riding each day. I maybe missing this vital info as i’ve been to the pub this lunchtime but I think it’s pretty important to know!

    Please make me feel stupid and point it out to me…..

    Bill – thanks for your comments, we will take them on board when we consider our next venture.

    ST Monkey – – I hope you enjoyed the pub :o)

    Thanks to Gary/Shred and Tim for your positive comments.


    There it is… thanks David. Pubs good….!

    After having a think, I believe this might be too close to the Trans-Wales (14-21 Aug). A lot of the people that would have taken part are doing that. So maybe a earlier timeslot in the year will allow those people to use this as a train/warm up for Trans Wales.

    Thanks for all your comments.

    Yes this is the first time we have organised an event but we draw experience from the many races that we have both participated in and it is using these experiences that we devised the event.

    The organisation of an event is not difficult, the organisation of a successful event is and we see it as a combination of hard work, attention to detail and a sizeable chunk of money… and we have been generous with all these elements as we are very passionate about what we are trying to achieve.

    It is a valid point that we are very close to the Transwales event but we did feel we would attract a slightly different group of riders with our event being on paper non competitive.

    We really want people to give us more comments on the event both positive but especially negative as there maybe areas we can improve both now and in the future.

    Is there any chance of a local entry cost, I live in Tal y Bont and ride the Black Mountains every Wednesday night. I’m keen to enter (as may a few mates) but don’t really need/want the camping and support, I appreciate that this detracts from the festival atmosphere but can’t afford the full entry either (a new Lapierre Spicy is too tempting!).


    Hi Neil – thanks for your comment. The answer is yes – we are just having a ‘board meeting’ :o) to discuss the best way to make this event work. Why don’t you send me an email and I will keep you posted


    Much the same as Neil really, wouldn’t mind doing it, but fully supported is a bit steep when it goes just behind my house.

    timber, drop us a mail.

    We are determined for this event to go ahead so are inviting people who are on the fence about entering to drop us a line and discuss what we can do for them.


    Just wanted to wish you luck.

    I like the sound of the event but can’t do it this year.

    Next year with a bit more notice I might sign up.

    Also, the summer holidays with the kids off school is a difficult time for me as it clashes with our Summer holiday. I don’t know if this is a problem for other people but it may be something to consider. I have never done Trans Wales for this reason. Perhaps an evenbt like yours, outside of the Summer Hols will pull in other parents?

    Hope you pull it off this year.

    It also clashes with Selkirk Chain Reaction Cycles MTB (formerly Merida) Marathon Series which is a great course.
    I did seriously contemplate this event then realised it was an ‘event’ and not a ‘race’.

    A three day stage race in the UK would be excellent but I know rules and regulations don’t allow it on bridleways.
    How does the Three Peaks get an exception? (It’s something I’ve only just realised.)
    So I’m afraid I haven’t entered because I can and do ride long distance rides around the country frequently and will have to keep going abroad for stage races.

    Also, on a note about the above, if you do hold it outside of school holidays then it does prevent anyone who does work in education or academia from entering.

    Guys this is all valuable feedback and thank you for all the support.

    It is difficult to pitch an event to please all people but we just wanted to tempt a few hundred to come try a multi day event…

    Fair comment on the Selkirk marathon but we see our event as a stepping stone from doing the Merida style one day events to then going on to the Transportugals and Yak Attacks of the world.

    There is scope to run a stage race in the UK, i recently did some hunting up north to see what could work there but i am certain that if we do a multi day ‘Race’ event it will be just that racing start to finish and no transitional stages.

    Please keep the comments coming, one thing that has already been mailed a number of times is people local to the event wanting to get involvedbut not wanting or needing the food or tent so we are looking at maybe a ‘DIY’ package.. again just email us if you have any ideas or questions.


    The cost is the big factor. £220 is way too much. I personally would not want the ‘inclusive’ package, I’d want to eat the food I like, and sleep in my own tent, as I know that I get on well with my own bought food, and my tent is comfortable.
    Also the market for a 3 day enduro event must be quite small, 1 day events are well supported, 2 days would be different and probably popular, but 3 days is too much for many people I think. It’s expensive to enter, and you’d also need a day off work.

    I’m just going to facebook my boss and see if he’ll let me extend my holiday by a day-there’s no way I’d be able to get up for work on the Monday if I’m travelling back from Wales.

    I guess the nearest railway station is Abergavenney, isn’t it?

    I like the idea of a 3 day event – its a good starting point for moving upto 7 days..A 2 day ride is good but is it much of a challenge? .ts just like riding a normal w/e! The idea of allowing people to sort out there own camping & food is a good one. Personally Im hoping this event works! I dont think the cost is too high either – compare it to other stuff you might go & do with your bike..A w/e away with skedaddle on one of their higher grade trips will cost you £225..

    Having looked at the distances covered and the height gain on each days riding the last thing I’d want to do is pitch my own tent and cook each night!

    I don’t know what your target minimum entry is but you are pitching to a limited number of riders who are able or willing to take on the scale of riding of the event, a percentage of those interested riders are not able to make the dates for whatever reason, and sponsored riders will have their season already mapped out.

    It’s a great idea and could become an important annual event but you will probably have to run at a potential loss for a year or two until the event becomes established (thank goodness for sponsors!?). If you pull the event it will never have the opportunity to establish itself as a successful event in one or two years time.

    If you want to increase entry numbers you could allow 1-day or 2-day entries but that would defeat the whole idea of a 3-day event! Good luck and I hope you can stick with it!

    Thanks all for you words of support.

    We have already seen an increase in sign ups since this update went online.

    We have taken all comments on board, had a meeting and have come up with some good offers and changes to get us moving so we initially invite all that have made comment as to what they would like changing to attend to email us and you maybe pleasantly surprised, if the changes look to be productive then mid week we will update our site and blog, notifications will go out by Facebook, Twitter and a good old Singletrack forum post.



    I really hop this event continues and grows. Something like this in South Africa: That is usually sold out pretty quickly with a limit of 2800 (There is a Challenge and a Race, 700 teams of 2 in each event, run on the same course). With all the bikers in the UK, you would think this would be more popular.

    danceswithcats – correct, nearest station is Abergavenny, Glanusk Estate is a relatively flat ride away, about 8 miles maybe? (about 10 min in the car) or there is a bus service with bike trailer that runs through the summer.

    danceswithcats – we will try and accommodate everyone that is coming by train. So let us know where you are coming from and what time you expect to be there and we will do our best to have a shuttle service.

    As Paul said we are busy implementing a few changes that will hopefully have a positive effect on sign-ups – again if you are interested in taking on this challenge and have commented on this page please contact and we fill you in on what we propose changing. Based on your feedback we will go ‘live’ with the changes.

    One last comment to add (in the event that we implement our changes) is that riders that have already registered and paid the full amount will be refunded accordingly 🙂 those that have paid deposits will be asked to pay the new price balance.

    Hey Shred, the difference between this and the Sani2C are the distances and climbing, the Sani caters for the less fitter rider that’s why it’s so successful. I think if the climbing was less BM3day it would be alot more popular.

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