New Mayhem venue/course, a mini review
My first ever MTB event of any kind. Overall I enjoyed it – good to spend time with friends and the atmosphere on the course was good. I was passed by faster riders all the time but all were polite and usually said thank you. Was surprised at the empty arena area and general low numbers versus my expectations. Course was OK – for the fit whippits I am sure the climbs were a stern test but from what i saw 90% of people were pushing pretty much from the off. Surely a more rideable course for the majority would be better? More fun rather than more slog would make me more likely to return.
Highlight was shouting “on your right” going down the red bull section to pass two people even more knackered than me. Also the hot shower last night and the baked potato with veggie chilli at ten last night which was the nicest meal I ever ate…
Off for a lie down now. A bit tired.Posted 4 years agoac282Member
To those who thought the course was OK, what did you like about it? For me there was a lot of very steep climbing which most riders were walking and far too much double track descending which threw away the height very quickly in a fairly boring way.
Eastnor was terrible in the wet but at least there was the chance of an enjoyable course if it was dry.Posted 4 years agoonewheelgoodSubscriber
This was my 11th Mayhem in a row, and probably one of the better ones – the camping area was better, the showers hotter and queue-free. We made our own atmosphere, but I do agree that it did seem a bit lacking in that department. The course was OK, about the right length, and judging by the number of flashing blue lights I saw contained enough challenges, despit the lack of gnarr.Posted 4 years ago
Loads of people ignored the jetwash prohibition, but then it was easy to miss and the reasons for it were’t explained – I think it might have been more effective if people had been told why they were banned. I didn’t wash my bike once, and had no problems. I did get my pit assistant to scrape some mud off, which seemed to do the job.wonny jSubscriber
I liked the steep climbs and cleaned them all apart from the really steep, claggy one. Also liked the fast descents and the tricky loose corners. You had to hit the right lines through the mud channels to maintain speed in places which was also good. Thought it rode well especially in the middle bit of the race when it was dry.
But the comment above is correct – if it had been properly wet it would have been awful.Posted 4 years agograhamhMember
Kevsterjw – Member
Does anyone know who the photographers were and how to get to their work?
I was one, still sorting though mine, I’ll post a link here when ready (3000 or more to sort though).
I don’t sell mine, but I’m willing to give away for a suitable donation to charity. Was any one riding the event for any particular charity?Posted 4 years agotwinklydaveSubscriber
The venue is lovely. Had a wonderful view in the morning out of the caravan across the valley.
The event is always ‘big’ – Pat knows what he’s doing with these things, you’re in safe hands in that respect!
The course needs to be able to fit 1000s of riders on it at any one time, while fitting in the area allowed by the owners of the estate (hello Ma’am!), so miles of uber twisty, ribbon like singletrack isn’t going to happen (there are, however, plenty of races out there that DO have this, give them a go too!).
The course also needs to be suitable for a lot of…how can I put this…N00BS! People who don’t really ride much, and who’ll get intimidated by the “10ft drop to berm to fade to rock garden” you, me and a few other gnar-meisters long for, so that’s not going to happen either.
Sadly, for me anyway, it went too far the other way and seemed devoid of anything, well, fun! Up a fireroad, round a corner, back down a fireroad. Repeat.
A couple of sections of straight, featureless 3ft wide tracks in between the endless fireroad zigzags does not an exciting course make! Feel free to add a pithy “go faster then comment” if you like, but even compared to Eastnor it lacked excitement.
Oh, and the main thing: Eastnor became unrideable after heavy rain. Gatcombe wasn’t meant to, but it did. Thick, stodgy slop that rolled over your rims after the afternoon rain. Multch in the woods that blocked wheels for a while, then for the rest of the race it turned to plasticine (Eastnor veterans will know what I mean!). There may have been some rock under a few areas, but given that the weather wasn’t anywhere near as bad as last year, I honestly don’t think Gatcombe would do any better in a deluge equal to 2012.
Oh, and no course running through the campsite = atmosphere killer. (again, I understand why it wasn’t possible, but that doesn’t change anything!)
One thing that wasn’t missing was great racing. Top effort by everyone who took part – all the categories seemed to be full of battles right through the event, with some epic performances going on. Ace.Posted 4 years agojimwMember
The reasons for the jetwash ban were explained at the riders briefing IIRC.Posted 4 years ago
Most of the climbs were ridable, and wide enough to pass those pushing but the one after the red bull descent was tricky for those of average ability (i.e. me, on a good day) when trying to avoid people walking and the stone surface got slick quite quickly so I never managed that one. However, as I heard a soloist say at about 8.30pm on the first long grass climb, if you were planning on doing a reasonable number of laps for most of the competitors it was quicker to save effort pushing up the steeper parts, which wasn’t a lot slower than riding for most, and be faster on the other bits.
Certainly I felt that the nature of the course made it a much more polite race in that there were no long sections with no passing places so you didn’t get the ‘elite rider, barging through’ hassles at all as there was space to let people pass, and the riders were very appreciative when you pulled to one side.ToastyMember
there are, however, plenty of races out there that DO have this, give them a go too!
Do you have any favourites just out of interest? Always get tempted by this and SITs purely for the scale I think.
Found it really hard gauging how far through the course I was curiously, it felt very samey start to end, where Eastnor definitely felt more varied.Posted 4 years agovickypeaMember
Overall, a great weekend. I appreciate that it’s difficult to find a venue that would have a course to meet everyone’s approval. There were pros and cons- the trees sheltered us from the rain and wind, but it did feel like mud and trees, trees and mud, and more mud and trees, whereas Eastnor was varied. I enjoyed the first descent, and would have liked a bit more fun stuff, though I noticed a few people were fazed by the bit with the little stream and a few small rocks.
The campsite was good although I was not impressed with the Ladies showers, at least the two I used were nothing but a tiny dribble, not as good as the Original Source ones.Posted 4 years ago
I have been at every Mayhem (raced some and pitted at some) since 2005, so I was pleased that this year they were using a new venue, as Eastnor was feeling a bit stale.
The good things for me where:
The short lap. I measured it at 6.5 miles, it gives fast riders a sensible double lap, but each lap doesn’t become an epic for novice riders.
The campsite was great, flat and solid. It all seemed fairly close to the arena, some of he Eastnor site was a long way away. I easily drove of site this year after being towed off last year, although the preceding few months where very wet in 2012.
Lots of passing places on the course. From memory there were only two places where I had to wait to over take; they were the bit by the lake, and a little section on the Red Bull run.
Not many courses hold up to the rain with lots of riders. Gatcombe seemed okay. I went out when it was probably at it’s worse and rode most of it without any problems*, with mud tyre it would have been better. After the rain stopped it dried very quickly.
A minor thing, but camping starting on Friday morning seemed to create more of an atmosphere. At previous Mayhem’s I have turned up on the Friday to find loads of space cordoned off with one tent in, and then the riders not re-appering until Saturday morning.
After a pre-ride on Friday the course was pretty uninspiring, okay lots of passing places, but only a couple of bits of very short singletrack. Hopefully if the venue is used again some trails can be made. The first descent was good fun, but there didn’t seem to be any reward for any of the climbs. Personally I am not a fan of fast fireroad descents – I would rather have more twisty downhills.
The hills were pretty steep. I rode most of them, but not many people were. I think even in the dry most would be pushing. I am not sure if the venue has an easier options?
The jet wash situation needs sorting out. The queue was taking 45-60minutes at one stage, either more cleaning stations, a timer on how long bikes can be washed for, or let people wash bikes in the campsite.
Overall I think it was a good change from Eastnor, but I think it needs some work on the course to make it a great venue.
*did anyone get a picture of me crashing on the ‘Coffin Descent’ at about 2pm on Saturday. I was wearing black and red Four4th kit and had a bit of a heavy landing on the way down there!Posted 4 years agocrazy-legsSubscriber
I quite liked the course, I did a lap on Friday on my CX bike and rode everything but at that point it was pretty much bone dry. Can imagine that with a queue of riders, mud, rain, exposed roots etc it was a bit of a different game.
I wasn’t racing, just there pit bitching but I thought the course was a nice “XC race” style venue.Posted 4 years agoMrs ToastMember
What’s the course like at Torq 12:12? We were considering doing it as a mixed pair, but I’m a bit rubbish and am a bit worried I might die.
I’ve loved SITS when I’ve done it, but found Mountain Mayhem a bit brutal for me (I’m missing a few ligaments in the left knee and have frail cartilage, so steep climbs are tough). After my 5+ hour lap at last year’s Mayhem, I decided to give it a miss this year! 😛
I liked the venue, the campsite was miles better – flat, firm ground and not too far from the central area. Food seemed better this year too, not sure if it got rained on last year! 😛 Being able to actually walk around the arena without getting ankle deep in mud was a marked improvement.Posted 4 years ago
Torq 12:12 is twisty singletrack interspersed with fireroad. Fairly flat, with only a couple of short climbs, nothing very technical. You are unlikely to die. I have raced it solo and as a pair and it has plenty of fun bits to keep it enjoyable. The event is smaller than mayhem/sits, but the atmosphere is very good – the free beer at the end might help with that.Posted 4 years agoFunkyDuncMember
I wasn’t inspired by the course at all, apart from the first short downhill. Some of the climbs were just silly. Ok they might have been doable for some, but probably less than 5% were riding them. Made it more of a mountain bike pushing race. The endless double track into sharp bend to double track decent into double track climbs was tedious.
Apparently next year they want to get permission to use more of the woods (not just the double tracks)
Shame that some people couldn’t follow instructions about no generators. Also the lazy people who couldn’t even be bothered to put their rubbish in bins provided. When leaving yesterday.Posted 4 years agoSamMember
I’d not been to Mayhem since 2010 (or was it even 2009?) because that occasion was so hideously muddy I couldn’t face putting myself or my team through that again. So I was delighted about the change of venue – it’s closer, and the promise of a all-weather and more interesting course was too much to pass-up. Team Singular would head back to Mayhem in 2013 for another run at the Singlespeed Team category.
As always with Pat’s events, the pre-event organisation and the venue were excellent. Camping ground was perfect; flat, solid, toilets, showers and enormous tankers of water. The number of trade stands did seem down, but I think the appearance of this was exaggerated by the fact they were dispersed across two distinct areas. It was a real shame the course couldn’t run along the campsite, both due to atmosphere and the practicality of having some reference point for when your rider will be back.
The course itself retained the ‘spirit of Mayhem’ long grassy slogs and fairly boring non-technical descents. This was a real shame as I’m sure there is scope in those woods for a much more fun track to be built. There are enough trail designers out there these days who know how to make a course which is fun at all levels of abilities and offers sufficient passing opportunities. They need some of that insight. Plodding up those long climbs only to be met with a straight blast down the other side was soul destroying. The only interesting part of the course was the first descent, to have all your fun over and done with a couple of minutes after leaving the arena made it pretty grim.
As always though, the race is about more than the course. We rode hard for the whole time, and despite a few muffed changeovers managed to win the singlespeed category and finished 7th in Open. I’m sure I recall getting prizes when we won the SS category before, so it was a little disappointing not to get anything this time, especially when other categories got both prizes and trophies – not quite sure why… Nevertheless, we were there for the satisfaction of doing it – and that was achieved.Posted 4 years ago
To be fair on friday a lot of people did, fresh legs and dry course but its a different story in the middle of an wet endurance race.
Not really what I meant,people were moaning about having to walk up the climbs,had it stayed dry then far more people would have been making the climbs as they were tough but not impossible…….
EDIT – FWIW I loved the course.Last rode Eastner back in 2007 & thought this one was much better ..Posted 4 years agonjee20Subscriber
I’d echo Gee and AC282 (among others), I thought the course was pretty rubbish frankly. Nothing to look forward to, masses of dull climbing with no reward, and frankly given the conditions I think Eastnor would have been identical.
However… Also agree that toilets and showers were excellent, dry campsite was good, access was good, signage to the event was good, and having a royal presenting the prizes was good. Nice to get the recognition I deserve 😉Posted 4 years agoBadlyWiredDogSubscriber
I quite enjoyed it. I didn’t think the course was extraordinarily interesting, but there were plenty of passing places, some hard climbs and that first descent got interesting if someone fell of in front of you with the exposed limestone rock, and people were generally considerate and polite. I did the third stint in when it had got slightly muddy and it wasn’t in the same league as a bad year at Eastnor or Catton. Some singletrack would have been nice.
That said, I kind of missed Eastnor. Not so much the mud, but the bigness of the place, being able to see lights lasering across the skyline at night, and the general vibe of it all when the course was – rarely – dry and sunny. Yeah, 2010 was good and a few others.
I have a lot of sympathy for Pat Adams and other 24 organisers – the difference between a brilliant event and a loads of people desperate to come back next year and a brutal, depressing quagmire is an incoming front and a few bursts of rain.
Oh, and a big thanks to the guys at Noah’s Ark in Stroud who were kind enough to sort out a jockey wheel for me and bring it along to the site on Saturday evening when they came up to support their team. Really good guys and very kind of them.
Hard to believe that it was impossible to buy a Shimano-compatible jockey wheel from any of the stands at Mayhem.
Anyway, had a good weekend with mate, did some fast laps and some slow ones. For a good riders course, I’ve always loved 24/12, particularly a couple of years ago when it looped up onto the moors and there were rocks and stuff. Really looking forward to this year.Posted 4 years ago5thElefantMember
Gatcombe is smack in the middle of where I used to ride so it was all very familiar. I now live on thx side of a mountain so brutally steep climbs are all I do now.
Couldn’t be better. Loved the course. All but a couple of muddy sections of climbs were ridable. The descents were a big grin. The short lap suited too.
The camping wasn’t as scenic as eastnor though.Posted 4 years agoreadikusSubscriber
This was my first Mayhem, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The organisation and professionalism of the event was on another level to all MTB events I have done.
Initially, thought the course was going to be mega dull, but when we started racing, it was ok. The lack of singletrack was a little frustrating, but it just meant I had to push myself hard on the climbs 🙂Posted 4 years agowillMember
monkeyp – Member
If anyone managed to get a photo of me, my son on an Islabike and my daughter on a Hotwalk crossing the finish line, please let me know – happy to buy a copy. I was number 112. Fantastic moment on Fathers Day and thanks to crowd for the big cheers
I do indeed, drop me an email (will.beresford(at)googlemail.com) Although your son is beating you 😆
I really enjoyed it this year, thought the course was good for 24hr racing, and the arena and campsite seemed better than Eastnor.
I had a horrible feeling that as I went out for my first lap during the very heavy rain storm that this was going to trun out like 2012, but after a few hours was pleased to see things drying up well. I agree that the double track isn’t the most entertaining of riding, however for a 24hr race it’s what you need. Infact it reminded me a little of Kielder with regards to short amounts of singletrack and more doubletrack.
Some of the climbs were tough, and I think only having a 36T up front perhaps made it a little harder for myself, but there you go. I was very surprised by the number of people walking though, even on flat sections, almost as if they had reigned themselves to not being able to ride…
I had to laugh on my last lap though, caught a rider cutting a huge corner of the course ad going up another trail. I told him politely he was going the wrong way, to which he replied “thanks” and then (hopefully) turned around. What a idiot.
Last off massive Kudos to the solo winner. 25 laps is amazing.Posted 4 years agomissnotaxMember
I really enjoyed it – I think the course was probably pitched about right for a 24 hour race. Personally very pleased that it didn’t turn in the swampy mud-fest of 2012!
Brilliant fun (although am now relying on coffee to keep me awake at work *waiting for the caffine slump*)!!Posted 4 years ago
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