- New Mayhem venue/course, a mini review
after a few days leading up to the event of typical mayhem weather, i.e. rain it was with trepidation we ventured to Gatcombe park, first up despite rumours to the contrary there was plenty of room to camp. the ground remained firm throughout the weekend even with some very heavy rain and high winds and dried out very quickly, there could have been more “posh” toilets and less “festival” toilets but at no time did I have to queue & the showers were plentiful and very hot! the camping area was closer (we were as far away as you could get) than we’ve been away from the arena at Eastnor in the past.
the course was great, some technical downhills & climbs, fast singletrack (loved the narrow bits down to the lake) and plenty of places for the fast boys and girls to over take. It did suffer after the rainy hours from being muddy but no where near as bad as the soup like conditions of last years mayhem. it also dried out very quickly, a dry line formed and speeds (in our team) went from 1.20 in the wet to sub 1 hour in the dry on increasingly tired laps. there were some challenging climbs, the series of grassy ones in particular for us mortals, I saw some SS riders clean it, very impressive! so if you were fit and had good technique it was do-able. there was the bonus of super fast grass decents too with chance for some airtime. perhaps 75% of the course was wooded and sheltered the riders from the very high winds on the camp ground and was rocky under the layer of dirt and seemed like a proper MTB ride in contrast to eastnor.
so, i really liked the course it challenged me on 1 x 10 & I’d fit a granny for this venue if it’s here again and I really hope it is
cheers Pat & crew, I’m now off for some zzzzzz’sPosted 7 years ago
That course hated singlespeed!!Posted 7 years ago
where were the unicyclists this year?Posted 7 years ago
That course hated singlespeed!!
singlespeed did very well in mens solo..you need bigger legs 😀Posted 7 years ago
Not sure I entirely agree but certainly better than Eastnor the only real issue for us was the outlawing of dirt workers and the provision of only 6 bike washes for lots of riders on a course that could be ridden in I guess sub 40 mins by the quick chaps , 45 to 60 for the regular faster folk meant a queue or gigantic proportions appeared by hour 4 and remained until the course started to dry.
Aside for that cracking event. Well done all and good manners and smiles all around once it dried up.Posted 7 years ago
It was a shame there wasnt trackside camping – I missed the jump of doom and the retrobike heckling. The course didnt suffer as bad in the wet as eastnor did the last two years. Overall an improvement I think.Posted 7 years ago
course was so wooded though, track side camping would be difficult, i’d prefer large amount of singletrack & through the trees stuff we got than more open grassy bits to enable tent pitching near the coursePosted 7 years ago
Nice to hear a riders view for us lot that didn’t/want to make it..Posted 7 years ago
the only real issue for us was the outlawing of dirt workers
Seriously? What was the reason given for that?Posted 7 years ago
Environmental- they were worried about large quantities of water contaminated with oil etc. getting onto site, so the 6 bays had catch trays and it was pumped into containers and removed on a regular basis.Posted 7 years ago
What are dirt workers?Posted 7 years ago
Camping ground was on premium horse riding pasture. So concerns about getting bike grime and possible woodland mud on to the grass (?)Posted 7 years ago
Dirtworkers – the first portable pressure washer with a tank built in – bright yellow – Now Mobi make them – the best PSA was Halfrauds £25 when they were going defunct.Posted 7 years ago
What are dirt workers?
Portable bike washers. Basically a posh hosepipe and bucket powered off your car battery.Posted 7 years ago
I’d imagine by the time you need to use one, most of the oil will have already been washed off the bike and onto the course anyway.
I didn’t realise they were banned, used our mobi for a few bikes after the early laps when it was dirty!Posted 7 years ago
Have to disagree thought that course was quite a yawn fest nothing rewarding in the least & certainly nothing technical as for singletrack where ? Yeah it held up better than eastnor coz of compact stone ground but no descent back into finish area no sense of achievement like scaling scaling the climb to the obelisk & apart from the descent at the start I don’t think I had to counter balance myself once on that course. Dunno maybe I was expecting too much the way they hyped the ‘never been ridden before’ sections ?Posted 7 years ago
carbonfield, fair points, apart from lack of singletrack, there was plenty of narrow stuff, such as down to and around the lake & the red bull timed section, as for the obelisk climb, well i suppose i’m comparing it to the natural stuff i ride locally and it just seemed more like a proper MTB ride than a groomed and false XC race circuit, I thought it rewarded an all round rider more than just a very fit rider a nice balance of technical skill* and uphill prowess
*ok, no WC DH course but technical enough after multiple lapsPosted 7 years ago
where were the unicyclists this year?
Date clash. National unicycle road race on today at Horwich – most people who might have ridden Mayhem were doing that. I didn’t really fancy riding solo!Posted 7 years ago
I thought the site and race preparation organisation by Pat and his team was excellent as usual, but I do wonder if Wiggle are the right sponsors for such an event. The reason I wonder is that both this year and last year, the number of other sales tents was way down which left issues with the atmosphere in the arena in the daytime and , as one of our team found, problems with finding unplanned spares. Of course this could be down to the recession etc. but it does seem that the past two years have been worse than normal. Of course I guess we should be grateful that a major sponsor has taken it on board so that we can participate so perhaps I am being too pickyPosted 7 years ago
Also in the past when at eastnor, I can remember seeing literally hundreds of non-competing people browzing and adding to the buzz which hasn’t occurred in the last couple of years. I know the weather hasn’t helped.
It was very orange wasn’t it?!Posted 7 years ago
I thought it rewarded an all round rider more than just a very fit rider a nice balance of technical skill* and uphill prowess
Sadly I normally blag it by turning up on a light bike and making it up on the climbs. This year all the climbs were a lot more brutal, barely anyone riding some of them. Ditched the XC hardtail and swapped to a trail bike after my first lap and had a much better time.
Huge respect to the riders making it up that grass climb multiple times! As well as the climb after the Red Bull bit.
Oh and the Wiggle stand was the most barren place out of all the shops. They always manage to find the most irrelevant bits to bring and sell.Posted 7 years ago
That first descent was a laugh this morning. Alright route IMO – these 24 hour races will never serve up the same riding quality as going out on a proper ride due to the traffic levels.
Overall I can’t see what makes this event any better then Sleepless in the saddle or Twentyfour12.Posted 7 years ago
This year all the climbs were a lot more brutal, barely anyone riding some of them.
Sounds like an ideal unicycle course for me then – if I’m going to be walking the climbs, everybody else might as well be too – sorry I missed it and hope to get a team together next year (on the wild assumption it might be there again).Posted 7 years ago
Did anyone hear what happened to the guy who ate the “bike lube gel”?
Basically in the sign on packs there was a sachet of lube that looked just like an energy gel. Inevitably someone necked it and was then taken to hospital. Any update?Posted 7 years ago
Overall I can’t see what makes this event any better then Sleepless in the saddle or Twentyfour12.
I prefer SITS personally, feels a lot more chilled out, quite like being able to zone out a bit more while racing. Shame it’s not on this year.Posted 7 years ago
Thanks for the dirt worker explanation. Something else for the shopping list!Posted 7 years ago
Oh and the Wiggle stand was the most barren place out of all the shops. They always manage to find the most irrelevant bits to bring and sell.
+1 for all their good stuff they do online its clear they are pretty clueless when it comes to retailing at an event,mind you they did lend me a track pump once so they are helpful at least 😉Posted 7 years ago
Still making my mind up about the event. There seemed much less of an atmosphere than previous years, no doubt due to the lack of trackside encouragement / abuse / landing lights. The marshals and the kids were great though cheering everyone on.
The first descent was great, but there wasn’t really anything technical and no real jumps to speak of. You need some fun on a lap rather than endless doubletrack. Considering the amount of climbing (pushing) the reward for all that effort was fairly tame.
The loos were terrible compared to previous Mayhems (the frequency of the cleaning) and despite the showers looking like a mud bath they were warm with no queues (unlike Eastnor). Bike wash was a joke.
I was amazed how quickly the track dried. I did the 3rd lap and it was like a flashback to last year. Thankfully that was the exception and the course just got faster and faster bar the rain in the night. I think someone must have trailered in some Eastnor Plasticine for old times sake.
Overall pretty good though, but ruined by the lack of the tartiflette stall 🙂Posted 7 years ago
Loved the course, queues would have been massive with huge technical singletrack sections. I saw some serious climbing displays on the garlic switchback and the one after red bull. Nice one pat.Posted 7 years ago
I’m always a bit bemused by those who feel the need to wash their bike quite so religiously at things like Mayhem & then complain about the lack of facilities…Come on, in a few hours its going to be dirty again. Why bother? It’s different if you’re on a stage race, then it’s anything upto 100ks a day for maybe a wk or more but when its only one w/e (& the conditions are ok) what’s the point? Surely all you need is to give the chain a wipe with a rag & a quick squirt of lube?Posted 7 years ago
I’ve done 13 Mayhems and in terms of facilities and organisation I thought this was the best. Flat campsite, loads more showers, loads of loos which I always found to be clean enough and well stocked (who needs posh loos?), masses of space, well signed, water nearby, timing people on hand all day to chase up issues, covered transition, timely prize giving rather than 4pm when everyone has gone home, and finally TROPHIES for the first time in 16 years presented by Princess Anne! Yes, really.
Yes, the arena was smaller than it has been but many distributors don’t think it’s worth the cost of exhibiting these days. It’s not just the fees for the pitch etc but also staffing.
Now before I comment on the course, let me say that for me, Mayhem has never been about the course. The event is about the social atmosphere, the festival style and seeing friends. That said, I have to say that wasn’t the most inspiring lap I’ve ever ridden. Miles of muddy double track, hardly any Singletrack (the first decent and the woods by the lake were great but that was it). In the wet the first decent would have been lethal for novices. The climbs were a bit extreme – every lap I did I was pretty much the only one riding. Perhaps OTT for a 24hr race with novices? In proper wet conditions, it would have been another Eastnor. The mud was clayey and very sticky. Bits were better but mostly slog. The last 3 miles were pretty much all uphill – ouch. However, Eastnor was dreadful the first year or so – the trails took a few years to develop. Perhaps if we go back we will see developments over the years.Posted 7 years ago
Does anyone know who the photographers were and how to get to their work?Posted 7 years ago
I can only echo most of the other comments really. The track wasn’t overly exciting, I enjoyed the 1st downhill and I loved the fact there was a timed ‘DH’ section to initiate a bit of banter between team mates.
The campsite and facilities were great, not having to walk miles to the start/finish was good.
My only criticism was the lack of atmosphere. My 1st Mayhem was 2009 and it felt like a big event. This year however it was noticeably smaller which was a touch sad. I wish Original Source were still the title sponsor….I never needed to buy shower gel 😉Posted 7 years ago
We were taking pictures. 1000’s of them. We were on course for about a total of 8 hours just to shoot riders. We will be processing and tagging them all over the next few days and a rider gallery will appear later this week 🙂Posted 7 years ago
Gee +1 spot on. Very enjoyable event.Posted 7 years ago
It took me until the last lap, but I finally cleaned the off camber rocky climb (the one with the 90 degree left that walkers were cutting out) – on Ralphs!
I expected beer/trophy at the top for my achievement, but sadly got nothing!Posted 7 years ago
My 1st Mayhem was 2009 and it felt like a big event. This year however it was noticeably smaller which was a touch sad.
have to agree with this, my first was 2010, managed to get a club team together for last year and this (which I joined instead of soloing) and just disappointed for my guys not to have experienced the 2010 dry dusty trails and more importantly huge festival atmosphere,
will this return? is this an effect of the weather of the last couple of years or has this type of racing seen it’s peak?Posted 7 years ago
Have both, you deserve it. I didn’t see anyone clean that section.
Posted 7 years ago
Course was a mixed bag imo. In the dry it would have been brilliant, but the mud made it very sketchy at first then amazingly draggy later. All those commenting on its dryness must be 60 kg whippets.
I only realised on the third or fourth lap, with conditions between gloop and blu tak that most of it was actually downhill apart from the sharp climbs. The last windy section would have been a blast but with the sticky mud was as hard as some of the climbs!Posted 7 years ago
There were some lines through the bushes adjacent to the fire roads that were a lot less sticky and horrible. Was tricky to balance along them though!
Just a plea… Before you pull over to the other side of the trail LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER!!! You wouldn’t pull over suddenly whilst driving without doing that, would you…??Posted 7 years ago
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