On Saturday 24 July 2010 a record 140 riders from all over the UK will take on the gruelling challenge of The Hope Endurance Downhill, at Nevis Range, Fort William.
Riders charge down one of the roughest, longest and most physically punishing courses on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup circuit will need “bucket loads of physical strength and stamina, quick reflexes, superb bike control and an unerring eye for the right line” as they tackle the 2.82km track (with 555m vertical descent) as many times as possible in six hours.
Will anyone beat the record 18 runs set in 2008?
Frazer Coupland from organisers No Fuss Events, said: “There were some fairly major modifications to the track for the 2010 Word Cup. It will be interesting to see how they will affect the endurance racers. 2010 will see our largest field for this event since we began in 2008 which is fantastic news as the calendar is now jam packed with events for the downhill market.”
The Le Mans style mass start is another challenge that most downhill racers are not used to. It involves competitors, dressed in full armour and helmets, sprinting 100-metres along a forestry track to pick up their bikes. They then have a tough uphill ride to about three quarters of the way down from the top gondola station where they join the track for the first run down. The clock is started when the first rider gets onto the gondola for the first time.
Spook from no Fuss was keen to emphasise what a great spectacle the Hope Endurance Downhill race is: “This is a fantastic event for spectators too. There is great access onto the course from both the top gondola station and the Nevis Range Car Park. With excellent spectator viewing points the length of the course and a restaurant and a café, friends, family and hard core downhill fans will be able to soak up the adrenaline fuelled atmosphere in style, whilst cheering on the riders as they complete this awesome challenge.”
The Hope Endurance Downhill not only tests physical endurance and technical riding ability, it also tests reliability. Participants will only be allowed one bike and a list of itemised spares to see them through the whole event. At the bottom of each run participants have the opportunity to enter the tech area to carry out any running repairs, replenish fluids and to take a breather. There will be time penalties for riders who have to change wheels, forks, bars, frames and other major components. Also participants will not be allowed assistance in the maintenance of their equipment from outside the tech area.
The Hope Endurance Downhill is the second event in organiser’s No Fuss Events’ search for the ultimate mountain biking endurance all-rounder – The King Of The Mountains. To be in with a chance of being crowned the first ever King of the Mountains riders must take part in three challenging but fun open mountain bike events in the 2010 No Fuss stable – The Benromach 10 at Kirroughtree (10 July), The Hope Endurance Downhill (24 July), and the new Orange Tour De Ben Nevis (11 September), a no frills, 61km point-to-point mountain bike stage race that circumnavigates Ben Nevis.
Neil Arnold, Marketing Manager form Hope, said: “This is a great concept, and really is an all round test for any mountain biker, not just hardcore cross country or downhill riders – you need to be able to do most things well to be in with a shout!”
Singletrack’s Matt and Benji will be competing at the event. They’ve not done it before and are flitting between excitement, apprehension, nervousness and calm resignation.
They’ll be reporting live as-it-happens from the event on Singletrack’s Twitter feed – http://twitter.com/singletrackmag – please follow their adventures and interact/support/heckle/advise as much as you want.
Video of last year’s event from www.mtbcut.tv