What do you need to make a really good mountain bike race?
People. Kind of obvious I know.
The people having their bikes with them helps.
What else? It’s usually a good idea to have somewhere for those people to ride those bikes.
And seeing as it’s a mountain bike race we’re concerned with it’s a good idea to make sure that the ‘somewhere’ in question has bits that go up and bits that go down.
And that it isn’t made up entirely of tarmac (or of fire roads).
Well, if you want it to work, you need to make sure that on that ‘somewhere’ you mark out a course. Failure to do so means it’s hard to get people to go where you want them to. And with people riding their bikes where they please and with no start line and no finish line, ‘racing’ becomes a little tricky.
You need rules. No littering. No WMDs. No EPO. That kind of thing.
And you need marshalls. Lots of them preferably. You need them to make sure people follow the course and that they ride in a safe manner (and that they keep going when they feel like quitting, it might not be on the ‘official’ list of duties but anyone who has ‘raced’, from novice to expert, knows how important those words of encouragement from the marshalls can be).
Add in some prizes, a few banners and a van selling scoff and it’s job done?
Not quite. There’s a hugely important role that every race requires. And very good reasons why that’s so.
We need commissaires. They run the races. They’re there to ensure that the races are fair and safe. They’re impartial and independent. And they’re important.
And at Brownbacks Racing we’re all about inclusion. We’re ‘grassroots’ in the truest sense and we believe in giving back.
With that in mind, we’re helping to promote British Cycling’s upcoming Mountain Bike Commissaire Course. British Cycling told us ‘we have very few trained commissaires in all mountain bike disciplines and we are trying to resolve this at the moment by offering more courses’.
The next course takes place on Saturday the 8th of June between 10am and 5pm at the National Cycling Centre.
If you want to know more or get involved, go to http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/raceeducation/article/vol20130404-Assistant-MTB-XC-Commissaire-Course-0 for details.
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. One of the earliest animals to be domesticated for agricultural purposes, sheep are raised for fleece, meat (lamb, hogget or mutton) and milk.
Matt and Paul are two middle-aged men who like riding mountain bikes.
And today, for a couple of hours at least, it seemed that the only living things at Lee Quarry were Matt and Paul and the quadrupedal ruminants, lots of them.
Why were our intrepid heroes stepping out where others clearly feared to tread (or, more accurately ride)?
Because June the 2nd sees the first race of the Brownbacks Racing Hope Cross Country Race Series for 2013.
And at Brownbacks we never like to leave two courses the same.
Whether it’s challenging those new to ‘racing’ on the Have a Go Hero course or testing the limits of the more experienced riders on the main course, Brownbacks bring you technical and taxing trails at every race.
With that fine tradition in mind, Matt and Paul met at a still relatively dry car park at the bottom of the notorious climb into the Quarry. With Matt suitably attired in borrowed wet weather kit (Paul lives round here and knows that when it rains….it rains) and after a few hundred metres of ‘granny ring’ spinning, our pair were in the Quarry proper and so began the search for new lines and loops.
Anyone who has the had the undoubted pleasure of riding their bike at Lee Quarry will know the veritable treasure trove of trails on offer.
Today was all about seeking the ‘best kept secret’ off-piste sections that complement the nationally-acclaimed Rowen Sorrell-designed routes that are at the heart of the Brownbacks experience.
It was wet. Very wet. Stupidly, stair rod-ingly, soaked to the skin wet. And windy, freeze your face and sting your eyes windy.
(Please note – the organisers regret that they are unable to guarantee these conditions on race day)
Fear not. It may have been tanking it down today, but the genuinely ‘all-weather’ nature of the Quarry means that the climate very rarely gets in the way of the racing throughout the series.
And we must be guaranteed a summer this year surely?
With only nature to frustrate them, the duo were in and out of the holes and hollows, up and down the tracks and trails and generally having a nosey around the less-well known areas of the Quarry that so many will simply ride past, thereby missing out on some great sections.
Nothing was missed today.
Not everything will work. But that’s why the hours are put in now so come race day, everything on offer does. Well. Really well.
With some great finds committed to the course plan, our intrepid pair treat themselves to a blast on the downhill trail out of the Quarry and seek refuge in the relative warmth of the cars. For now at least job done (they’ll be back).
The sheep decided to stick around for a bit…..
Brownbacks is a non-profit enterprise run by volunteers who believe in giving back to the sport and the community through organising the race series, supporting the local kids MTB club and making donations to local charities. We are always on the lookout for more people to help with marshalling and organising the races so there are ways for everyone to get involved.
If you’re already a convert to the cause, we can’t wait to see you again.
Nervous novice? Don’t just think about racing. Do it. With us.
You’re guaranteed a warm welcome at the Quarry and a day you’ll never forget for all the right reasons.
We are meeting on the 17th February. This will determine the plan for 2013.
Current plan is a lot like 2012 but hopefully bigger and better. If you want to get involved get in touch, the meeting is on the 17th Feb at 20:00.
Anyone wanting to step up and join our sponsor team in 2013 please get in touch.
Well it’s that time of year and we need to get ourselves sorted out for 2013.
What are we going to do? That depends on who steps up to help us do it. If you are interested in making the event happen and getting involved in the all the backroom stuff associated with a MTB XC race series then get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org We are meeting in the next few weeks so don’t think too much about it.
The aim is to still be able to put on a 4 race series and develop further our coaching initiative, we hope that some of you are able and willing to put in the hours to help us make this happen.
It’s getting to that time of year when what’s going to happen next year gets sorted. In our case we won’t be able to put on an XC series in 2013.
Why is this? Essentially we need a large group to share the load and to make sure that we can safely hold events in one of the most challenging venues around. We are all volunteers and as such have many higher priorities which we have been compromising since 2009. Unfortunately in 2013 it’s clear that we need new people (at least 3 or 4) to commit their time and energy to keeping this going.
A final decision hasn’t been made but at the moment we will not have a 2013 series.
If you want to change that then you need to step forward. Ideally you need to be local, reliable, prepared to stick to commitments and enjoy making things happen.
It’s been great fun, very hard work, and I and the group are very proud of what we have done. The future is however in your hands.
See you on the trails.
29/07/12 Day 1
11/08/12 Day 2
09/09/12 Day 3
06/10/12 Day 4
details to follow
Charlie The Bikemonger has confirmed that once again he is going to sponsor the single gear heroes, those titans of the MTB world, the people with “more ears than gears”.
Once again everyone will have to pay homage to the winner of this sub category sponsored by possibly the best bike shop in Swanage.
we have a strong pre-entry and with the good weather we are expecting lot’s of people on the day. Registration opens at 08:30 ish and shuts for all categories at 09:45
What is happening? Essentially we have three great British Cycling qualified MTB XC coaches lined up to provide structured quality coaching who will be providing group coaching sessions at Lee Quarry during the series.
Who is it for? The main effort is to develop the Have-a-go category riders and for 2012 there will be up to 4 full day sessions available.
New for 2012 we are also going to lay on sessions for the Weekend Warriors/ Racing Diva’s and Silverbacks category riders. Availability will depend on demand but we will be focusing on developing flow on the trails and delivering “mastering the pump track” sessions.
What does it cost me? Essentially nothing, you become eligible by entering the full race series. Get your series entry in here if demand is high it will be on a first come first served basis or we will split the days up.
When are the dates? We are finalising these and we will let you know. The dates will be fixed due to coach availability. You don’t have to do all the sessions, just let us know which ones you want to do when the dates are out.
Why are you doing this? Why not? The quarry is an exciting place to ride and race and we are keen to develop the XC race scene in theNorth West. We want to encourage riders to come and have a go and we see this as a key activity supporting this. The feedback we got last year was tremendous and we want to build on that.
What else are you doing? We are supporting are coaches with Mark Grange who will essentially be coaching the coaches. This will mean that we will be building their skills and coaching techniques to ensure you get great sessions.
Part qualified BC MTB level 2 coach? We can help you finish your qualification, get in touch at email@example.com .
Remember this is the cheapest XC series you can enter with some of the best prizes (spot and placing) around all courtesy of our great sponsors. That is all coupled with one of the best XC racing venues around. Check out our Youtube videolets here to see what it’s like.
GET YOUR ENTRY IN AT www.xcracer.com .!
The 2012 series opening race is getting closer so get your entries in! This grass roots racing series is back again with the same friendly atmosphere, the same two course format and the same genuine welcome for riders novice and elite. We will start to announce the category sponsors in future mailers, there is some space for more so if you want to join our great sponsor team get in touch.
Enter now! You can pre-enter online at www.xcracer.com . Big discounts for series entries as usual.
Coaching Offer: It’s coming back for Have-a-go series entries and potentially something for the Weekend Warrior/ Vets Categories again for series entries. We are finalising details but essentially it will be free with a series entry and will be on a first come first served basis. Get your series entry in.
We have had some great feedback from riders entering our new vets categories, some is however middle aged angst, remember if you can’t take the shame of owning up to being a grumpy old man the other categories are still available to you. We have even have had a suggestion for naming the 50+ category “Silverbacks”……….. I f you have a suggestions for naming either the 40+ or 50+ category let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Start time changes: We have moved all the start times back by 30 mins. Registration is open from 08:00 to 09:45 for all categories. This way we should see the races start on time rather than the traditional 10-15 min delay.
Marshals: Some great sponsor news for our marshals in our next mailer. As usual we need plenty of people on the day to make sure everything runs safely if you want to be part of the action let us know. Course setup starts at 07:15 and marshals are needed from 09:15, riders can get a free race by helping with course setup. You get really well looked after and our eternal gratitude, food and drink, £50 cash draw and other goodies). Contact email@example.com to let us know you are coming.
Timing team: We still need assistance with this, get in touch if you are interested in helping.
Qualified/ part qualified BC MTB level 2 coach? We are organising coaching sessions for our Have-a-go Hero/ine series entrants. These are aimed at helping novice riders get into MTB XC racing, interested? If so contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We have 3 coaches on board already and want to reinforce the team especially with trainee coaches who need to complete their sessions to qualify.
BC points: There are licence points for our Racers and Racing Diva’s in “Sport” or one of the age related categories. You do not need BC membership or a licence to race, if you do have one, make sure you bring your licence on the day. Remember this is the cheapest XC series you can enter with some of the best prizes (spot and placing) around all courtesy of our great sponsors. That is all coupled with one of the best XC racing venues around.
Check out our Youtube videolets here to see what it’s like. Follow us on Twitter @brownbacks and “like” us on Facebook. GET YOUR ENTRY IN! RACE DATES: 27th May, 1st July, 2nd September, 14th October.