If you’re looking to your year ahead, here’s our guide to the unmissable events in the UK. Some of them are so popular you might need to wait to 2017 to make the entry list, so get your wall chart out and start planning now.
1. No Fuss Fort Willam Endurance Downhill
- When: 8th July 2017
- Website: No Fuss
A six hour race down the Fort William World Cup course. Of course you need to do it. It’s like being a football fan and being given a day’s match at Wembley Stadium. Six hours of as many runs as you can do at Fort Bill, with full marshals and first aid. The middle woods (and the road gap) are bypassed, so it’s an event that any competent trail rider can complete. You’ll learn the course so well that you’ll watch the World Cup footage with new, knowing eyes.
2. Mountain Mayhem
- When:16-18 June 2017
- Website: Mountain Mayhem
24 hour races aren’t as popular as they once were, but the daddy of them all is still going strong and this will be its 20th year. There’s nothing quite like lining up with hundreds of other racers for that start run, followed by a day of bike racing on fun tracks. It’s essentially a weekend of camping with your mates and riding bikes. Just with a number on. Early bird entry discounts apply until 31st December 2016.
3. ‘Ard Rock Enduro
- When:4-5 August 2017
- Website: ‘Ard Rock Enduro
The UK’s most popular and yet low key enduro event. Thousands of enduro racers and trail riders take over the Yorkshire village of Reeth for the weekend, taking in many trails that you can only ride for this one weekend a year. It’s a combined bike race, music festival, campervan show and food and drink fest. Well worth it if you can get in.
4. Glentress Seven
- When: 27 May 2017
- Website: Tweedlove
This seven hour event is in its seventh year in 2017, so expect more seven related things this year. Best seven strand beard braid? It’s simply a seven hour romp around a great fun course that takes in some of the best XC trails around Glentress, with some old favourites and some singletrack secrets, all amid a friendly atmosphere and guaranteed good weather. (We might have made the last bit up, but it’s often nice there!)
For more beard rider action check out our Beards of Endurance story here.
5. Bare Bones 200
- When:14-55 October 2017
- Website: Bare Bones
A self supported bikepacking event in the Cambrian mountains. You’ll need navigation skills plus a fair bit of determination to get round this under the 36 hour target time. Expect tussocks, weather and hike a bike sections, plus a welcome cup of tea at the end.
6. Up The Buttress
- When:September 2017
- Website: Up The Buttress
Never has anything so short and so silly hurt so much. A couple of minutes of pain, an hour or so of heckling to recover, and then time left over to explore the trails around Hebden Bridge. It has the makings of a perfect weekend. This is a race up one of the steepest cobbled tracks you’ve ever seen, complete with heckling crowds.
- When:21-22 January 2017
- Website: Strathpuffer
Once you do this, everything you ever do will seem easier. Now in its 12th year, proving that suffering does have its attractions. If 17 hours of darkness and a course made of granite grinding paste sounds too easy and you fancy more of a challenge, why not do it solo?
8. Kinlochleven Enduro
- When:November 2017
- Website: No Fuss
It started life as a Dudes of Hazard production, and is now run by No Fuss Events as the only EWS qualifier in the UK.
9. PMBA Enduro
- When: All year
- Website: PMBA
Any of these events from the Pennine Mountain Bike Association are worth doing. There’s the Hope Series, a couple of Day-Night races, and the UK National Enduro Championships, sponsored by DataTag.
10. British Cycling Cross Country Series
- When:April to August 2017
- Website: British Cycling
Cross country racing has probably changed a lot if you last looked at it in the nineties. Courses are more technical though the pace is as high as ever. If you’re wondering what to do with all of that winter training fitness, why not get an entry in to a BC race and give yourself a goal for the season?
Of course, you could just save your weekends and money for riding bikes with your mates and racing uphill and downhill with them. By all means get that done, but don’t forget the special effect that having a number on your bike can have. You can go faster and further than you’d ever thought and the post-event buzz is always one to savour.