Whilst some riders are getting in trail time on xc skis, others have already started the endurance racing season at one of a number of stage races in sunnier climates. The choice of races is steadily growing. Depending on how far a field you want to go there are currently 4 options in January to kick start the legs; the well established Club La Santa 4 stage race (see Endurance Editor Scott's reports), the Costa Blanca 4 day stage race based from Benidorm, the Pioneer in NZ a new 7 stage race or the 6 day TransAndies in Patagonia. Too early? How about the 6 day Transcape in SA from Knysna to Franschloek in early February and one of our personal favourites, the 6 day Andalucia Bike Race in Spain towards the end of the month. Too late for these (next year perhaps?), but here are a couple of well priced favourites which are worth a look.
May 13-15th is the BeMC, a 3 day race in the heart of the Ardennes forest. Don't be fooled by being in Belgium, there is a heap of climbing, 7700m in total! With a mixture of forest singletrack and trails and some challenging climbing and descending, It's a great, but tough course, just what a race should be. It is inexpensive to enter (175euro), it is UCI ranked if chasing points and it is a relatively short and straight forward drive from the UK.
BeMC 2015 trailer from BeMC on Vimeo.
Want something longer? In July the Sudety Challenge offers 6 days (Prologue + 5 days) of racing through the forests along the borders of Poland and the Czech Republic. The trails here are spectacular, from fast and open to challenging climbs and descending. As it is 6 days there are other well priced services: Bike servicing, massage and race nutrition. Entry is well priced too, with good accommodation packages (choose between the race camp or hotels) and just a short flight from the UK.
MTB CHALLENGE_TRAILER 2015 from BURG PRODUCTION on Vimeo.
We'll feature some more good value stage races for you to check out, and some of the more exotic ones too if you are feeling a little more adventurous! Fancy Australia? The Crocodile Trophy is a unique experience in the Northern Territories.