OSMM – Hard or Easy

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  • OSMM – Hard or Easy
  • No restrictions on which route anyone could follow, so it was down to choice, but after the accidents which happened on the first lap it was a no brainer to take the ‘mince’ route.
    I rode the ‘tricky’ on my first lap, but it had people stopped on it, so it was dangerous to ride because you had to go round folk. The track wasn’t dangerous, it was the folk not being able to ride it.


    I think there was speculation over it because a few people munched themselves on the friday because it was wet. Come saturday afternoon though it has dried up fine, as s-a said it was the q of people trying to get down that made it hazzardous. I did it on my day laps but stuck to the easy one on the night laps.

    As for the other hairy bit that was wet/muddy/steep just before the small lake on the left about 2/3s way round i saw a guy been carried off with a broken leg i suspect.

    I think it was a good mix of singletrack/fireroad/interesting sections. So hard enough but not too easy??


    Where exactly was this mince route…was it the one heading left off the Kenda climb?

    Premier Icon votchy

    Just wondering but was there any agreement/stipulation about which route the top teams/individuals had to take as clearly the easy option was shed loads faster. Also, when the hard option was closed ‘due to someone being hospitalised’ anyone know what happened and how bad they were? Healing vibes to anyone and everyone injured over the weekend.

    Premier Icon votchy

    Mince route was straight on at the top of the 3 arrows descent, left down the descent, straight on and down a very fast grassy slope and don’t forget the sharp right hander at the bottom, woohoo!!!

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Where exactly was this mince route?

    Very top of the final descent into the arena (course going clockwise). Cross a cattle grid then there was a left which took you down a steepish and quite loose fireroad descent, right onto a grinding climb. Straight on from the cattle grid was the Easy route which just went over the crest of the hill and into a 40mph grass descent with a couple of ruts to jump/cross. It brought you out within a few metres of the top of the climb then there was a little undulating bit then into the bombholes and the final grass downhill


    Disappointing 😕 (tho’ I can imagine it being carnage had it rained). I only did part of the course before the race on Saturday – looks like the mincers’ route would’ve been more fun.

    Premier Icon dot

    I somehow missed the sign and didn’t know the mincers route existed till my 3rd lap, ‘hard’ route was fun but there should have been an advantage to take the hard (i.e. shorter/quicker) but it was a definite disadvantage as there was a climb out.

    Premier Icon sockpuppet

    i rode the steep descent on friday, and it was perfectly rideable. my main worry was about meeting a queue on the way down during the race, or people walking it.

    as it was, on the first lap the field was well spread by the time i got there – i walked the ‘run’ – so i went that way again and it was fine – just about the biggest crowd of spectators i saw all day there, waiting for the crashes!

    second time round i thought i’d try teh easy route – the rider brief had said it was easier but took longer so i thought i’d see what it was like, and so i knew what to expect for the night laps.

    *so* much easier, and faster, pretty good fun, so that settled it. plus i remember hating that climb-out by the end of the race last year…

    no way i was risking an off caused by my tiredness or someone else’s stopping to walk. a broken collarbone would have made soloing somewhat more difficult!

    The track wasn’t dangerous, it was the folk not being able to ride it.

    You need to remember that we’re talking about a race course not a trail park and primary consideration needs to be given to maintaining uninterrupted flow for a large number of riders (ie avoiding bottlenecks) rather than opportunities for individuals to develop their riding skills.

    I thought the course was a well balanced mix of many types of riding, hills, singletrack, spinny bits but the decision to send the route across the stream with the subsequent erosion and swamp that developed after it, doesn’t seem like the the actions of an experienced race course builder.

    Personally I preferred last year’s course as it got the biggest climb out of the way early on.

    Premier Icon stumpyjon

    That ‘hard’ descent wasn’t bad really, just bum on the back wheel and modulate the brakes, did it on my own on the last lap much to the pleasure of the marshals, got cheered all the way down. As said before the problem was people crashing on it. Everyone else on my team fell off on the practice run on Friday :roll:.

    The other bit in Somme forest was worse, in fact that got diverted sometime on Sunday morning. I rode it fine the first time, second lap I nearly cleared it but someone crashed in front of me, stayed on but I don’t know how, walked it after that although that was difficult enough. On the night lap three people crashed simultaneously on that bit including one guy going over the bars.

    I found the course quite tough, never ridden mud that greasy, coupled with the tree roots it made it quite interresting. Actually stopped and checked my rear QR was tight on the stony track nit about 2.5 miles in, thought it was loose as my back wheel just kept flipping out.

    Still a really great event, be up for it next year although I’m definitely taking the full suss next time, the guy who convinced me to take the hardtail might live (just) to regret it :evil:.


    Ok, think I remember it now – I wasn’t riding, but did a lap on Saturday morning. It was left down the bank, sweeping right at the bottom and use the short sharp climb out from last year, to just before the bomb holes?

    Premier Icon stumpyjon

    Yep that was the place. Sharpish left hander in the middle of the descent then a right if I remember correctly (everythings a bit fuzzy this morning).

    One of our team had a tumble on the wet/rocky section before the pond.2 stitches to the knee & a suspected chipped collarbone.Obviously I felt great when I saw him fully showered etc & was given the news I was going out on my 6th lap !
    Personally preferred the 2nd side after Kenda climb,I think the grassy sections across the way were harder going than the mud.Must have been my nevegals…lol.
    Knackered today though fellas to be honest.


    The descent was far from wet on the Friday. It was so dusty that if you were following someone there was no line to see! I had an over the bars on it towards the bottom as I was riding a retro rigid singlespeed like it was my modern bike. oops. It’s on video somewhere but not uploaded yet as far as I know. I’m sure when water and heavy traffic was added to the equation it would have been a nightmare.

    on my first or second lap, just overtook someone before the lefthand turn to go down the “hard” route, started to build up some speed and no more than 3 feet infront of me an adult deer lept from the bushes on the right, clered the whole of the track and dissapeared into the bushes on the left…….awsome 😯


    ….trying not to rant a bit about this one….!!

    Maybe it’s either rose tinted specs or lesser fitness but this years course just seemed a bit of a slog really….felt like we were either climbing or traversing through mulch….seemed to roll really slowly……in short, none of our team enjoyed it!!

    The potential ‘fun’ bits (off camber wet roots, loose wet mud and alleged hard descent) were also quenched by either uber slow mincing traffic or a subsequent boggy climb!!

    Also seemed like there was a greater air of competition on the course with a lack of general banter and solidarity…..

    All-in-all a big dissappointment……SITS or Bikefest next….

    Fair play though to the young lad who finished off the event with a proposal!!


    Fair play though to the young lad who finished off the event with a proposal!!

    that was matt page who had just won the solo category with 26 laps


    I took the hard line the first couple of times and it was good fun. the climb back out of it though meant the easy route was much faster – and as we were in it to win it that’s what I took. Agreed the mincers line should be slower really.

    I found everyone on the course pretty friendly and didn’t hear a cross word all weekend, so for me that aspect was at least as good as previous years. The course was a good mix considering the spectrum of riders they get at the event, I was very glad we didn’t get mor rain though.

    Premier Icon votchy

    My experience was a bit different to SigmaF above, had plenty of friendly banter on the course with other riders and spectators including the pros.

    Did any one have any tyres that actually rolled through or over the ‘plasticine’ mud in the woods in the second half of the course?

    Overall thought the course was quite good, will always be a compromise, and also a very enjoyable event.

    The credit crunch was noticeable though with a lack of freebies and tradestand bargains 😉


    Mincing route definitely quicker – on first lap it just went straight on without even bearing over to the right & switching back to the left before the decent – on the next lap there was loads of tape put up to guide us in the correct route, but not much slower anyway, never even looked at the “fast” route after that.
    All in all pretty good, SigmaF – you just have to remember how weather dependant the stuff through the woods is, if it had been dry Friday night it would have had a whole different feel to it & personally I loved the decent through the quadmire, just hold on loosely & let it slide gracefully to the bottom & try not to end up in the lake.

    One rant though – to all the get off my land, cordoned off campsite squatters, hardly adds to the friendly atmosphere does it? For fecks sake the squad near us even had a roped off entrance to their “area”.


    Unfortunately I have to agree with some of the comments about the course this year. Very much more of an up hill/rutted slog with not much pay back.

    As for the Hard/Easy option it did turn into a bit of a joke. Surely the idea of an easy option is that you pay a time penalty for not doing the more technically challenging option – the fact that the easy option was both much easier and Much faster, made the best descent of the course almost redundant – I did it on the first lap & loved it but couldn’t justify the penalty after that.

    There was a more serious atmosphere too this year. I was Gob-smacked to hear the even the guys in a team of 10 camping next to us talking about their sub 40min laps and tactics on beating the other team. It seems the old XC pot hunters have entered the 24 hour race scene!

    Great event but not sure I’ll be back.

    Premier Icon onewheelgood

    I did the hard route on my first lap – came out behind a load of the people I’d just passed so minced for the rest of the event. I’ve always hated that climb in previous years anyway.

    Car sticker? nope.
    Freebie event t-shirt? nope.
    Freebie Shimano t-shirt? nope.
    You’re right, v.poor on the freebie stakes – even if I do have a few months supply of shower gel.

    We roped off an area because we had 20+ people arriving over a 24-hour period, and if they just had to take pot luck over where they camped it would be a right pain. This year the opposite ends of the campsite were a mile apart and obviously having a team split over that distance wouldn’t work. What alternative do you suggest?


    I to took the hard route on my first lap. My next lap, which turned out to be the first night lap, I took the easy route. It was much quicker, so took that option for every subsiquent lap. Except for the last one
    where time was not really an issue.


    Last year a fairly well known ‘club’ roped off an area on Thursday night big enough for them to play football in during the weekend whilst everyone else was rammed on top of each other – all their gazebos did blow down though on Sunday morning 🙂


    took the easy route on the first lap – as i was getting stuck in traffic and not having a good lap – broken saddle bag (stuffed in jersey pocket) – and a gashed tyre – and a co2 infloter that is crap.

    got back to changover and there was alot of talk about this and so for my second lap took the hard route – to see what it was all about – took the easy route from then on in due to the climb/ time issue.

    I took the mince route every lap except my first.
    It was more or less straight across an empty field.
    A few posts and bunting could have turned it in to a time wasting zig zag, making the hard route a faster option.


    We were marshalling points 12 and 13 — the Mince point, and the one towards the bottom of the descent — and the easy/hard fiasco wasn’t really the fault of the organisers.

    What was originally supposed to happen was that if it got too muddy, or for any accidents that left people unable to move, we were to close the downhill and divert everyone across the top.

    On the Saturday morning, lots of people had been complaining, either that it was too steep and technical or that they’d get trapped behind people walking it, so at about 12:00 or so, the BCF commissar told them to open the emergency route, and give people a choice.

    The emergency route was originally straight along that bit of the track the Mince sign was on, but they hurriedly (although it still took until about 4:00) managed to blag stakes from elsewhere off the course and bring them over to route it around that little tree with the picnic benches around it.

    We were told that it was slightly longer in terms of distance, but as it was much quicker to ride, almost everyone rode it. At one stage, we were down to as few as about 12 people an hour using the descent, and from about probably 8:00 or so on Saturday night, it was rarely more than about 25 – 30 an hour.

    Picked up a bit at the end, as people were giving it a go on their final laps, but it was really a waste of a marshal point, cos we were told that there was stacks of cheating by people heading from over the brow of the hill (that had that tree you had to ride around was on) straight to the gate at the corner where the course joined the road through the arena.

    Good work JimB
    You did what you could with what you had.
    Maybe next year it could be planned in advance a bit more and marked Hard & Short and Easy & Long.


    One bit of cheating I saw was on the first 1/3 of the course where after the initial climb the trail followed next to a tarmaced road for 100m or so. Plenty elected to take the tarmac route rather than the claggy playdough singletrack which was the course.


    That’s terrible.

    Cheating like that is inexcusable and really surprises me.

    I imagine it was the people doing it for “fun” and so they didn’t think it mattered – at least I hope it was… We did spot some suspiciously quick lap times on one of the teams we were competing against- not by much, onhly 3-5mins “out”, but it all adds up… Although, the timing was rather haywire at times so perhaps it was nothing.


    Premier Icon rickk

    Still thinking about the course:

    Plus side
    New layout with new start position, nice to have this refreshed, plus I love a downhill finish which the old position didn’t allow. Better still would be to centralise it to avoid isolating the furthest campers??

    Steep mud slide downhill, I took an endo’ on my second lap and put it down to incompetence, minced it for the rest of the w/e, but apparently there were a lot more offs and a broken ankle hence the reroute

    Easy vs hard downhill, I did the hard a couple of times just slowly down gripping the brakes and being honest close to the edge of my comfort zone – but not too bad provided I could go at my own pace. Happy to take the mincers route for my other laps though.

    Climb/woods section in the first leg seems to be getting a little repetitive – but a few alternative route choices helped.
    With rain the woods riding in the second half would have been an absolute pain, off camber bits especially – nothing new there but I had heard this might be addressed this year and I thought the off camber section was going to ditched

    Anyway on balance another good one, my solo mojo is about gone but would maybe go back for some team events.

    Well done Pat and the team


    Brilliant event, MTFU about the course. It’s a mountain bike event called Mayhem. First time for me and loved it. All my team loved it and yes it was a hard slog but thats part of the fus isn’t it.

    As for cheating, yes I saw rather a alot of people taking the tarmac route at the top of the first climb and also some s**ts cutting off the first real single track wooded section as they dipped under the tape and onto the tarmac going the other way. Didn’t get there numbers as I would have reported them. That cut off 3/4 mile.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Maybe next year it could be planned in advance a bit more

    Course design for an event like that is the devils own job. It needs to be hard/technical enough to challenge people without being unrideable by relative newcomers to the sport and most importantly it needs to be as weather resistant as possible. Last year saw large chunks of the course reduced to an unrideable morass, dangerous to even walk sometimes. For that reason the course design and route was only finalised in the DAYS leading up to the event – it didn’t help that the 4×4 event there 2 weeks previously had also trashed large parts of the course.

    Contingencies have to be put in place for the “dangerous” bits to be closed or rerouted (they’d rerouted the wet descent to the pond by Sunday morning as well). I said on another thread, having Hard and Easy routes is fine (indeed desirable) but the Hard route must be shorter and/or faster for a decent average rider.

    Premier Icon chandd_t9

    You can’t please all of the people all of the time – Congratualtions to the organisers for what was for me the most enjoyable mayhem I’ve ridden (2003 or 4 was the first I think).
    I particularly enjoyed the course this year, hated the steep climbs (but at 14 stone and not particularly fit what do I expect!) but managed with a modicomb (sp) of technical ability and right gear selection to ride up everything else unless it got too slidy after the rain.
    Also thought it was just the right kind of distance / time out for each lap.

    Biggest problem for me was other people bailing out in front of me and loosing my momentum. All those slippy bits were fine if you just sat down and plodded along in the “middle ring biggest sprocket” kind of gear. I’m a roadie at heart so if I can get round without an off, so should all you ‘baggies’!

    On the easy / hard discussion, I did the first lap and cacked myself on the hard route due to the pure amount of traffic either going too slow or overtaking! I think without traffic on there it would have made an entertaining descent but having already broken a collarbone at the velodrome 18 months ago due to someone else’s stupid fault I took the easy option after that – too much scope for someone else screwing up the next six weeks for me!!
    Had I had confidence in the riders around me I’d have enjoyed the hard route a bit more often, afterall, this is a Mountain Bike event, if you want something too easy why not do your local Bikethon or suchlike!

    LOL at MilitantGraham “Hard & Short and Easy & Long”
    or is it only me childish enough to find that funny?


    My other half was saying she saw people through the night just cutting up onto the Kenda Climb straight from the road, cutting out the whole first 1/3 of a lap and arriving fresh for the big climb.

    Again she didn’t get any numbers but there really is no excuse.

    Premier Icon stumpyjon

    I’m a bit surprised that people were cheating. We were definitely in the category of in it for the experience, not the win and we were all adament there was no why we’d skip any part of the course. If we came last we at least knew we’d given it our best shot.

    @ votchy – glad it wasn’t just me in “plasticine” woods doing the “I’m sure I’m riding with 2 flat tyres” thing all the way through !

    I wondered if I should have written Rough & Fast and Smooth & Slow, but that wouldn’t really be much better would it.

    I was camped in the Land Rover under the trees near the spectators car park because I wanted the shade for my dog.
    I ducked under the fence at the end of each lap for a break and to let the dog out.
    It would have been so easy to leave the course on the first right hander after the start, sit down for an hour and rejoin on the last right hander before the start, gaining a lap for nothing, but that’s not what it’s all about is it.

    Premier Icon chandd_t9

    They’re only cheating themselves and with a bit of luck they’ll get caught and hopefully disqualified and declined entry to future events.

    I can’t see the point of doing something like MM and then trying to make it easier, why not go the whole hog and stay at home in front of “Britain’s got talent superstar dancing cats on ice pet hospital” on a Saturday night!

    Premier Icon Dougal

    Surfr – Saw a few people cheating on the tarmac of the initial climb, didn’t look like they were real contenders for the prizes so I didn’t report their numbers. It is very unsporting though.

    Did any one have any tyres that actually rolled through or over the ‘plasticine’ mud in the woods in the second half of the course?

    Maxxis Ignitor on the front, Crossmark on the back. Only time I had a foot down in eight laps was running at 2am when the slight uphill section at the start was like an ice-rink.

    The ‘Somme Woods’ were unanimously the best bit of the course for our team, really good fun to ride. Other riders on the course weren’t a problem, as there was plenty of line choice. If you were stuck behind someone for 10s or so, it was low-paced enough to have some banter.

    Premier Icon Dougal

    (Double post)


    I was also a little disapointed that the “mince” route was shorter. I did the steep descent 6 or 7 times before realising that I was passing people twice on a lap. I did the shorter route every time after that as seconds were getting quite precious.

    I didn’t think the mud was that bad this year. Not as much of it and not as sticky as previous years. I stayed on the same tyres for the whole race, 2.25″ Rocket Ron on the front and 2.25″ Furious Fred on the back. No real problems other than the off-camber bank that no-one was riding.

    hmmmm. the cheating was a bit naughty – but as everyone said they can’t leave the event actuslly thinking they have completed it. I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

    Course was fine – I rode the mincing route every lap (I said I’d check it out for the team as I was on the first lap) and actually really enjoyed to 40mph blast thorug the field. At the end of the day, it was slightly longer, but a lot faster. Alternative routes are a good thing in my opinion, and allowed several people to rode the course who otherwise would not be able to. Agreed that it should be at a penalty, but it’s very hard to quantify how much extra time it should take. anyone care to propose something? 30% longer than the hard route?

    we had a cracking race, everything it should be. hard, challenging etc. We aren’t pot hunters, but loved the racing atmosphere!

    so when are the results getting posted? I didn’t look yesterday, and I’d love to know the lap times to see who got the quickest in our team (suspect it wasn’t me though!)


    Hard or easy? I thought the whole point of event like this was the personal challenge, at least for us non-pro types. I rode the “hard” option every lap and enjoyed it (particularly the “nice on mate” from the marshalls) – surely all teams actually “competing” – should have to all take the same route, although I suppose common sense would dictate easier=quicker so anyone racing will take the short route.

    Much to my dissapointment nearly all riders were taking easy route by the end of the race, I thought we were all hardcore bikers?

    I thought it was a good, challenging course, good effort to all involved.

    Regarding fenced off areas, yes it is a bit anti-social but i wish we had done it, we (our team) were all in bed trying to get a decent nights kip when at about midnight on friday a gang of students rocked up and proceeded to erect a small shanty town next to our tent, complete with car headlights on, engines running and loud music for at least an hour, once they did eventually finish buggering around they got a couple of crates of beer out and proceeded to “get on it”, at no time was any conideration given to any neighbouring campers. They also proceeded to place their bike maintenance area just outside our tent – and I mean just outside, we’re talking inches. They also blocked our two vehicles in. Eventually I had to tell them we needed some space, and to move their bikes – I don’t mind students but if that’s the future of our country – I despair.

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