10 UK Races You Really Should Do

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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
Chipps in rare rad mode.
Chipps in rare rad mode.

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

A festival for all the family
A festival for all the family

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

ard rock enduro mark alker colourful enduro man
Mark, about to be hit with a large stick of irony

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

Beards of Endurance - Glentress 7
Beards not compulsory.

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

singletrack magazine issue 66 (2)
How comfortable will your night be?

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

up the buttress cobble hebden bridge cyclocross montsercross uphill race grit mark
The camera is not exaggerating the gradient.

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.

7. Strathpuffer

Team JMC - Jon Entwistle - Strathpuffer 2016
Jon Entwistle – Team JMC

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

The Dudes of Hazzard – Enduro is on for You! from Joe Barnes on Vimeo.

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
PMBA Grizdale

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

Grant Ferguson racing at 2016's Pembrey round
Grant Ferguson racing at 2016’s Pembrey round

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.

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