After a very enjoyable league last year the 2016 MTB League is just days aways from kicking off.
The first race is next Tuesday night - April 12th in Bellurgan Park.
Sign up online here. Or alternatively pay at your first race. Please remember to bring your Cycling Ireland Licence when you register.
We've made a few changes from last year in an effort to constantly improve and make the league more inclusive and enjoyable for everyone.
- Again it is 15 rounds with your best 13 performances counting towards your league total.
- There will be two Enduro style races. In these races, riders will only be timed on their descents and climbing will not count.
- There will no longer be two individual races, only one.
- You will be obliged to marshall one race. Marshalls will receive the same amount of points as a race win. This is explained in further detail below.
- There will be vouchers for the top three valued at €150, €100 and €50 respectively.
- Beers and banter at the first and last races. And possibly a few in between.
- Entry fee is €25. For 15 races this works out at €1.66 per race.
- We have removed some of the least liked races and ramped up the distances of the latter races.
- The second last race will be riders choice.
- Courses will be short and sharp to begin with but will progressively increase in distance as nights get longer.
- Courses will differ as much as possible each week and we aim to include multiple laps where possible as opposed to one long route or single loop.
- The first two races are mass start. From round 3 onwards we will be implementing a handicap system and there will be two categories of racers based on ability.
- You must have a Limited Competition or Race License to take part.
- Entry to the league is €25 for the season payable online or at the first race you take part in.
- The first race is free (that is, Round 1 is free).
- All riders must wear a helmet.
- Marshals receive the same points as the race winner and an extra raffle ticket.
- All cars (with the exception of the race officials) to be parked in the lower car park beside Bellurgan House.
- Races will start on time. If you are late you can still race but you will likely be in a different handicap group.
- No eBikes :)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How fit do I need to be?
The league is open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. If you could run 5k at a handy pace you should be fit enough to partake.
Q. Why do I have to marshall? What is involved?
In the interests of safety and simple logistics we need help to run each race. This year all participants will have to marshall once. Marshalls will be awarded the same amount of points the race winner receives as well as an additional ticket for the end of season raffle as a token of our appreciation for their assistance. Each race will have at a minimum of two marshalls one of which will have marshalled before. Marshalling involves helping to mark the course, directing traffic and riders, setting up the race sign on, ensuring the right riders start in the right groups, timekeeping, photography and cleanup. It's handy!
Q. What level of technical ability do I need?
This is the biggest issue for a lot of newcomers. This is not a downhill league. There are technical aspects to every trail and mountain biking due to it's nature has an inherent level of danger associated with it. There are no overly difficult technical trails with the exception of the two enduro races. If you are familiar with trail centres most of the races are well within the bounds of red loops. Race routes will be published at the beginning of the season and practising the routes is encouraged. We will highlight any potentially difficult aspects of courses at each race briefing and most obstacles will be clearly marked on race day. Finally you can always get off and walk, there is no shame in getting around safely!
Q. How are riders graded - how does the handicap system work?
The single most difficult aspect of the league is getting the handicap system right. There are many variables involved and it's often a work in progress. Some riders suit a more technical course, some prefer long climbs, sometimes people have good weeks or bad weeks. Sometimes a rider might bring a carbon hardtail and the next week ride a 160mm enduro bike. All of these factors make it difficult to ensure that 20 - 50 people will start at different times but finish within seconds of each other.
The first two races will not be handicapped so we can see what you are made of. One is a short multi-lap race in Bellurgan Park, the second is a longer single loop on the open mountain. We try to group riders into groups of the same ability seperated by 60 / 120 seconds. We start by selecting a number of riders who we know give 100% in every race and based on the course, their times and average speeds per race we work outwards from there. The system improves with each race and overall it balances out. If you feel that you are in the wrong group please let us know and we will try to ensure you are starting with people at your level.