Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 112 total)
  • Hope MTB Marathon @ Ruthin – rider numbers in decline?
  • p.rowland
    Free Member

    Travel has been a problem for a lot of people, it was great when we did one in Wantage but we can’t justify the fuel bill now 😅

    stingmered
    Full Member

    Interested to know whether it’s a general trend or a sudden dip? My observation (and I recognise that this is likely limited to my own peers and thus an anecdote rather than evidence) is that this sort of event is generally less appealing nowadays for reasons of time. Most people who enter races want to do as well as they can and for marathon events that equates to many hours in the saddle, Part of that might be getting older and other pressures work/family etc. get in the way: the time on two wheels gets squeezed and needs to deliver more bang for the hour. I used to race a lot of marathon/ 12hr/ 24hr events as did a lot of mates. We’ve all moved to DH / Enduro (when we do race) which is much easier to access and train for. Problem is, none of the younger lot I ride with or know of have any interest at all in the longer format MTB race, though again I need to consider the echo chamber effect here… 

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    Our entries were pretty stable (around 600-700 which is perfect for us) until covid hit. Our Builth event had around 600 entries last year but then minehead and Ruthin were about half that. I think it is a case of younger people not wanting to do so many miles with big climbs like you said, and it is tough to get the training in to do 70km+ cross country

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I did loads of them back in the day, when it was the Kona 100 then the Merida 100. Did the Exposure Lights Big Night Out ride a few times, then the 100km the following day. There used to be about 4 or 5 of them in a year, mostly around Ruthin, Rhayader, Builth Wells area IIRC.

    As previous comments, I had no idea they were still going.
    I guess a lot of riders have migrated to gravel and bikepacking as well.

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    Where do most people look for events then? Social media, xc event websites?

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Where do most people look for events then? Social media, xc event websites?

    I reckon that’s part of the problem. Everything is so spread out, social media is pushing countless events at you, it all blurs into one.

    British Cycling is (historically) of little interest or relevance to off-road sportives / gravel / endurance.
    XCracer is pretty much defunct and I guess the name alone won’t attract the non-racer brigade that do these sort of events.
    Cycling UK / CTC – it’s not their market or demographic at all.

    There’s a hotch-potch of event organisers trying to forge their own path, reliant on ever more scattered social media and it’s just not working.

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    Yep 😅 I must see 10-15 event adverts on social media every day now 🤣

    jameso
    Full Member

    Tbh I hadn’t realised these were happening. Used to do the konas and meridas bird and would still be interested now, having moved a bit closer to Wales fairly recently and fallen for the place again. I guess I either missed an ad or event note on here or need to follow you on IG. Don’t use Facebook much.

    1
    Saccades
    Free Member

    I hadn’t heard any recent news on these, my brother lives in Corwen so a middling chance I would have gone.

    This possibly a stream of consciousness that’s full on nonsense so don’t take offence.

    Bigger emphasis on being sponsored by hope/exposure, it gives you kudos to people who are not familiar with the events. Your logo with them is tiny.

    I dunno if your allowed a thread on here to highlight (cheap STW sponsorship?) the events?

    Update your event descriptions. They are very generic and lacking detail. It’s not obvious where the hotspot/hyperlink to more details is. I’d be thinking about giving a lot more details than you have.

    How much climbing (Strava map is nice, even if a previous years), big up the all weather nature of trails (if they are, as ace as 24/12 was the field next to the river was a nightmare in the wet). There are three locations, what’s the same & what’s different in the trails. More/less rocks, gentle Vs kicker climbs etc etc. name the classic trails you talk about. I love cottage return, when I think of 24/12 it’s that great trail (it isn’t tech, not great views but it flowed lovely), the trail name brings back the good memories more than 24/12 name for me.

    Highlight how close Manchester/Liverpool are to the northern one, Birmingham to the middle etc etc. there is currently little to differentiate each place/event (background colour, some little symbol? I dunno).

    If you half arse it when reading you’ll miss that there are two events at the same place, in the same weekend. With free camping? Sounds like a great weekend of cycling but it’s separate on the website. I’d read about the chance to book a night ride on the marathon event and it didn’t make sense.

    What’s the campsite like in the wet? Are toilets/showers open when campsite is open? Carparking?

    Video of the best descent on each course? Or drone following the rider down (if budget allows).

    What’s the t-shirt design, the older 24/12 were ace. If it’s the same design at all three events less of an incentive (dunno how to square that circle). Three different items instead, 24/12 had a lovely wooden keyring, a metal drinking mug? I dunno. Oh, when marshalling at EWS we got a hope seatclamp keyring as a thank you.

    Looking at the details and paying attention it looks like a class weekend of cycling, but it’s written by someone who knows what their talking about (if that makes sense) and I’m not feeling the pull straight away as a casual browser.

    Stream of consciousness as I said.

    And I’ve no idea where I’d get to hear about it either tbh. Probably the biggest problem.

    jameso
    Full Member

    I reckon old school XC will see a resurgence before long. It just needs to cater for the riders who find something like 100k in mid Wales really hard – as it is, the first one I did broke me :)
    Like bail out options that are good rides in themselves, and shorter loops with less elevation etc.
    E bikes and enduro can get complicated. XC can be so simple.

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    That’s a massive help! We do need to rework our website a bit, it was created a few years ago by colleagues and I don’t think it’s very user friendly and easy to navigate. It’s quite hard to find the information you need. This is a great start to my to-do list though 😀

    monkeysfeet
    Free Member

    @ p. Rowland. I used to be an admin and rides co-ordinator back in the day for NWMBA. Speak to Adrian Walls direct (NWMBA lead) and Jim and Ian at Coed Llandegla to raise the profile of the event a bit more. As above, sell it as a gravel/MTB event too.

    Good luck with this year, i hope it goes ahead. I have lots of fond memories of the old Dyfi Challenge and Ruthin marathons from back in the day.

    Steve.

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    p.rowland
    Free Member

    We actually work quite closely with Adrian. At our Ruthin event we give a donation to the Llanferres playground association and they provide us with marshals, Adrian is usual one of them. This year will definitely go ahead, I just miss the days when it used to feel like a festival

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I just miss the days when it used to feel like a festival

    There did used to be a good atmosphere to them. Food stalls, usually a couple of merchandise stands – I know Buff and Exposure Lights were regulars at them. I guess part of the problem is that it’s all really busy, loads of people and then…nothing as everyone heads off on the ride. Then a trickle of people getting back but more concerned with packing up and driving home.

    Maybe some family stuff for non-riders to do would help?

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    We do kids skills coaching and Hope WMN do a ladies ride on the Saturday but I guess something during the ride on Sunday would be good 🤔

    jameso
    Full Member

    I’d likee to do the ride on Saturday then get a shower and relax around a big fire with a band and a few beers that night, then camp out and go home (maybe after a short ride) on the Sunday morning.
    I seem to remember the general plan at xc weekends of a party Saturday night, race/ride Sunday? That was the downfall of my junior to sports racing transition!

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    Isn’t that the best way to do it? Party hard on the Saturday and clear out the hangover with a 75km ride??? 🤣 We have tried putting ilthe main ride on the Saturday before and it was a complete flop unfortunately, personally I’d prefer to ride on the Saturday too though

    FOG
    Full Member

    The website doesn’t specifically mention ebikes. Can you enter on one? It does say any bike capable of off road so presumably, yes. As a very old bloke I can’t see me getting round 65-75 k without assistance. It also says it’s not a race so hopefully all should be welcome.

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    We are definitely ebike friendly! It’s in our FAQs but it’s not obvious enough on the event page. We use and ebike for a lot of the course design now. I did the half marathon on the ebike yesterday checking for changes in the trails and trees down etc.

    Gribs
    Full Member

    It’s be really useful if there were approximate elevations as well as distances to give an idea of the difficulty. Links to previous years courses would be helpful too. I’ve ridden the Yorkshire mtb marathon a couple of times and though their timing is dreadful they do do a good job on course information.

    tonyd
    Full Member

    A friend and I are signed up to do the Minehead one. He found it somewhere, no idea where. Agree with above that it would be nice if you put the ascent somewhere. I’ve not ridden that far on MTB for a while and I’m assuming there’ll be 3000m or so of climbing, which makes me nervous 😬

    I can completely see why, sadly, these events are in decline. Without wanting to sound old (but managing anyway), most people don’t seem to be into those big days out in the mountains any more. When you can spend a day on an uplift at BPW why would you want to bother riding 70km across a load of countryside in the middle of nowhere? Rhetorical question!

    I blame TikTok

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    I’ll definitely have a look at putting approximate distances and elevation on the website. No one wants to work for the descents any more and the people who want to challenge themselves seem to be running marathons… 🙄

    intheborders
    Free Member

    To answer the OP, because folk like you are only doing 1 every 11 years rather than 1 a year?

    aggs
    Free Member

    Maybe the word “Marathon ” puts people off?   We know its a fun day out and for anyone but another approach  may be worth considering to draw in the more casual type rider, ,  sportif,  or another word.   MaraFun!   Whoops perhaps not that!  But along those lines. I think xc will get a new boost as gravel riders look for new challenges.

    Will xc bikes  be the next “thing!” ……the gravel crowd evolving….

    I have always enjoyed the marathons  I entered over the years

    weeksy
    Full Member

    Put 3-4 start and finish points and call it a multi stage enduro

    aggs
    Free Member

    Tweedlove get lots of questions from ebikers of how technical the course is ,esp when they had the earlier/ first Bosche events with some navigation needed riders were a bit shocked and not prepared for the steeper trails, some thought it was a navigation and day out !

    My point is

    ……there are a huge number of ebike mtb riders wanting a day/ weekend adventure but not as an Enduro .

    Spreading the message to them could be a good option too?

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    Put 3-4 start and finish points and call it a multi stage enduro

    This !

    Ard Rock used to be an XC race on exactly the same trails back many moons ago. Fast forward and its now a cool Enduro event and every enduro rider and his dog is there. Only difference I can see is that people are too lazy these days

    snotrag
    Full Member

    We’re open to any feedback and suggestions

    Your social media/advertising isnt working. I am bombarded with event notifications and posts from all sorts of series and races (some of which have led me to entering).

    I havent ever seen anything relating to “Hope MTB Marathon @ Ruthin” other than this thread.

    1
    snotrag
    Full Member

    Maybe the word “Marathon ” puts people off?

    Not convinced by that either, the Yorkshire MTB Marathon seems to be absolutely packed each year, both racing snakes and groups on enduro/trail bikes who endure the ups to enjoy the downs.

    wbo
    Free Member

    Fashion – events come and go.  Cross country skiing event near me had 2000+ entries ago, cancelled this year as only 250 or so confirmed.

    You need to advertise.  If you only rely on people who know , who’ve done it before to keep returning, it soon drops off.  And advertising doesn’t mean paper magazines now

    d42dom
    Full Member

    not sure why everyone is too lazy these days and people don’t want to earn their descents, or it’s not gnar enough and other such crap spouted on here. Go out into the hills and there are plenty of people riding trails for free, they can download a route from numerous places or have the fun of creating their own and riding it. I don’t know the cost of entry to your events though I have been tempted in the past just never got round to it. Used to be loads of Sportives, both road and MTB where I live most the vast majority seem to have died a death, isn’t a MTB marathon just a sportive but with a results list.

    If you want to appeal to the younger generation then stop slating them, if you don’t think they earn their turns doing ‘enduro’ then enter the Minehead Enduro (or numerous others) and see, 300+ entries and plenty of them are the younger generations including under 13s.

    Fueled
    Free Member

    I’ve recently come back to racing (Gorrick) after a decade away from MTB events. What struck me was the seriousness of riders. Even in the open categories, seemingly everyone has an expensive carbon xc race bike and is super fit. That’s off-putting for a newbie just getting started and feeling like they don’t belong.

    So I would suggest adding on a category or event with more of a parkrun vibe. Move the tapes to make chicken runs the default line. Avoid an aggressive mass start and set people off at intervals. Allow people to do a second lap if they do a first one and enjoy it and don’t just want to head straight home. Make it more about racing yourself and having fun, maybe people will enter the more serious events when they feel ready. You could add that as a whole separate course in parallel to the main event to get more people through the door. Leaning on stereotypes enormously, but it creates an event for wives and kids to do while husbands race. A lot of what stops me racing more is that it means I disappear from my family for a big chunk of the weekend. If I could bring them along and they had an event which was non technical and not intimidating but gave them a 30 minute ride in the woods and felt like an occasion, they would be all over it.

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    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    I reckon that’s part of the problem. Everything is so spread out, social media is pushing countless events at you, it all blurs into one.

    If only there was a very popular UK based mountain biking website they could post on!

    I hate forums with loads of sections – but an “Events” tab could be a good addition, and possibly drive more traffic. Possibly lose the “Members” tab as I don’t see the point of that.

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    TBF I’m not slating the younger generation, it’s just a trend. I’m only 25 and I’m the only person under about 40 who rides XC for fun in our local area instead of racing.

    We have looked at putting a couple of timed sections in but most of our event is on bridles ways so we can’t legally race on those and then we’d have to look at getting a timing chip system which means we’d have to put our entry fee up massively. Entry to the full marathon is £42 online ATM

    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    When I was in my MTB prime in the 90’s there was…

    • XC Racing (short format and 12/24 hours)

    • Downhill racing

    • Cyclo Cross Racing

    • Trailquests/Polaris type events.

    …that was about it!

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    not sure why everyone is too lazy these days and people don’t want to earn their descents, or it’s not gnar enough and other such crap spouted on here. Go out into the hills and there are plenty of people riding trails for free, they can download a route from numerous places or have the fun of creating their own and riding it. I don’t know the cost of entry to your events though I have been tempted in the past just never got round to it. Used to be loads of Sportives, both road and MTB where I live most the vast majority seem to have died a death, isn’t a MTB marathon just a sportive but with a results list.

    It’s OK, it’s the same shite that has always been spouted, it’s just that every time it comes around again there’s a new “something” to blame, usually tech based like Strava… ;-)

    In road cycling, I’ve heard the same stuff about races for decades about how clubs used to organise events, the club introduction to racing, “the club scene” blah blah and how nowadays it’s all both every rider for themselves but also organised “race teams” who don’t put anything back into the sport and how if we reinvented club cycling all the problems would disappear and there’d be lots of happy club cyclists all organising races.

    I think the same has happened in MTB – I remember the days of XC racing when the Sport category had to be randomly split into 2 because there were 400 riders signed on! Then 24hr racing came along and you had to download your form at midnight and hand deliver it to Pat Adams at 4am if you wanted to be guaranteed a place!
    And then that died off and gravel has come along

    Sportives went the same way – at one point there were 300+ Sportives in a year, then the big players came along with professional series (Wiggle Super Series, Velo29 and so on) and most of the smaller ones (along with even some of the bigger ones) died off leaving a reasonably sustainable baseline but nowhere close to what it used to be.

    It’s a microcosm of the whole cycling industry situation at the moment. Brands saw the boom, leapt on board and were then shocked to discover that it’s not hordes of new cyclists flocking to the sport, they’re all trying to flog the same stuff to the same clientele. Same with events – the Sportive boom has not lasted and the wannabe racers* that did them are now older and slower and have been there/done that so they’re not going to keep entering them.

    *that’s actually another rather lazy stereotype, sorry!

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    If I could bring them along and they had an event which was non technical and not intimidating but gave them a 30 minute ride in the woods and felt like an occasion, they would be all over it.

    The entry fee covers 2 nights camping and then there’s the option of a women only ride on the saturday and kids skills coaching on the saturday too, so it’s not an extra event but there are things for the whole family to do

    p.rowland
    Free Member

    It’s a microcosm of the whole cycling industry situation at the moment. Brands saw the boom, leapt on board and were then shocked to discover that it’s not hordes of new cyclists flocking to the sport, they’re all trying to flog the same stuff to the same clientele

    This is so true, there seems to be more events than riders at the moment, we’ve been in the business for 30 years but in the last 2-3 years we’ve really needed to try and step up our game because we have competition these days. We used to be pretty much the only non competitive mountain bike series in the uk

    monkeysfeet
    Free Member

    I’m glad you’ve spoken to Adrian. We used to struggle to get marshalls for the NWMBA events but no shortage of riders.

    The Flintshire challenge was our go to event which used 90% of the Ruthin marathons route. If it’s the same route used before it’s easily done on a gravel bike.

    Would one of the Atherton’s be willing to do something on the day, or maybe get a local brewery involved in sponsorship. Is the date flexible? Add a bit of a pure Welsh theme with the local Eisteddfod?

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    singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    The Flintshire challenge

    That along with the Cambrian Challenge brings back some great memories.
    Turn up, pay your six quid or whatever it was and start when ever you want.
    Soup and a roll in the school hall when you finished.
    Pissed all over the Kona/Merida/CRC events.

    It were different when I were a lad.😜

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