Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Cape Epic Update
December 14th, 2006

Important Rule Changes for 2007

There are several very important changes in the rules that will be applied at the 2007 event. The Absa Cape Epic is the only 2-person team stage race on the UCI mountain bike calendar and has a unique set of race rules. The latest release of the rules incorporates feedback from the UCI and South African Commissaires at the 2006 race and measures to address some critical safety concerns of the organisers.

New Classification for Masters Category (announced in June 2006)

The youngest rider must be 40 years or older on the day of the start of the race to be classified as a Masters team (i.e. both riders must be 40 years or older).

Towing is Illegal

The use of towropes or bungee cords to tow your team partner will not be allowed and will result in disqualification. Every year numerous accidents have been reported that are related to riders towing each other and in order to prevent these accidents and a potential more serious incident, this practice is now banned. Holding on to your team partner’s jersey pocket or hydration pack is legal and should be the preferred method to receive assistance from your team partner. The banning of towing will also mean that the results in the Mixed category are more a measure of the performance of the weaker partner in the team rather than the stronger.

Neutral Technical Support Zones en Route

Technical support is allowed at designated technical support zones at each of the 3 water points on each stage – i.e. outside technical help is allowed within these designated technical zones. This service mirrors the Shimano Tech Zones first introduced at the UCI World Cup Cross Country (XCO) races in 2005. At every water point Shimano will provide neutral technical support to all riders should they require it. Where water points are accessible to the public, private technical support is allowed within the demarcated technical support zones. Not all the water points are accessible to the public and hence at these water points, where private technical supporters cannot access, riders can only make use of the Shimano neutral tech support should they require outside service. Every day at least 1 water point is accessible to the public and hence every day there is at least 1 technical support zone accessible for private technical support. No support other than from a fellow rider is allowed outside these technical zones!

The Blue Bike Number Board for Non-Finishers still in the Race

Any rider that does not finish a stage or does not reach the finish line by the cut-off time (stages 1 – 7: 17h00 and stage 8: 15h30) will have their bike number board replaced with a blue bike number board. These riders may continue riding the race, but will not be classified as official finishers even if they continue to ride the entire race. On the last stage, these riders will not pass the main finish line at Lourensford reserved for official Absa Cape Epic finishers and will be diverted to a separate finish line that is shared with the Vigne à Vigne riders at Lourensford. If a blue-board rider does not finish a second stage, then he or she will have their bike number board removed and may not continue riding the race.

Some existing rules will be more strictly applied than in previous years. These rules are highlighted below.

Cut-off Times will be Strictly Adhered

It is the organisers hope that all riders are fit enough to complete each and every stage within the cut-off time. In the past, when severe weather conditions or other mitigating factors were experienced, the cut-off time was on occasion extended. This caused confusion amongst riders and an unfair treatment of riders in mid-field that successfully reached the finish line within original cut-off time at great effort. The cut-off time for stages 1 – 7 will be strictly 17h00 and for stage 8 it will be 15h30.

If a rider does not finish a stage within the cut-off time, he or she may continue to ride but will not be classified as an official finisher. A second stage DNF (did not finish) will result in disqualification and the rider may not continue riding.

December 6th, 2006

Riding bouncy and burly motorbikes across muddy fields and jumps always looks so tempting and easy on Tv and Video. Clearly all is not what it seems. This gives new meaning to the term skidmarks. Thanks to Katie for the link.


In other news Andrea has a new job and is moving to Calgary. Living right next to the Rockies can’t be bad at all…

Wintery Weather
December 4th, 2006

I must admit that at the end of last week I wasn’t very well. A combination of being worn out and a nasty bug in circulation took me out for two days and most of a third was spent slowly recovering. At least the weather was fairly stunning and there was no rain on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, although all Saturday night and Sunday there was a storm and torrential downpours. Guess which day I went riding.

Sunset over the roof tops

On Saturday night my beautiful girlfriend suggested that we go skating. It is with authority that I can say that ice skating rocks. The centre of Manchester, the infamous Piccadilly Gardens, has been transformed into a winter sports arena (okay they’ve built a temporary artificial ice rink). Whilst queuing it was interesting to see a substantial list of prohibited things. No skating under the infleunce of drink or drugs. No skating in chains of more then two people. Clearly as there was no mention of using mobiles whilst skating, there were people txting and buggering about with camera phones whilst trying not to fall over and take people out with flailing limbs. Not that some people needed much of an excuse to do a Cristiano Ronaldo. In the space of 60 minutes on ice four people were stretchered, wheeled or carried off the ice…

Then on Sunday it was up at 6am. Shortly afterwards I drove to pick Tyrrell up only to get there and upon loading his bike into the car to realise that I’d forgotten my lid. After which we had to drive home to pick it up before getting beck on route and heading up to Ambleside in the Lake District. It was my first proper ride in the Lakes and it was with some of my friends from the Alps over the summer, including the infamous Shoebomber. It was Epic, with riding pretty much from dawn to dusk and it was fantastic to check out the trails with some people who really know the area. It became clear that riding with the hood of a snowboarding jacket up was a definite advantage for avoiding the curse of drips of cold water down the back of the neck. It was more important to keep warm and to be honest I didn’t care if I looked like a tit.

Finishing off with the descent down Loughrigg Terrace was a great end to the day. Even wading through Rydal Water turned out to be a distinctly warmer experience (despite the waste deep water) than we’d been expecting. The trip home saw us all stop off at the Hawkshead Brewery, which has recently relocated to Staverly, for a fine beer. It’s a handy place to go because it’s on the way home and the beer is great!

The Community Grows
December 1st, 2006

If you’ve ever been called “Outdoorzy,” Welcome Home – That’s the opening line from a new website that has been setup for people who prefer life in the big wide open spaces of the world. is a one-stop-shop for any outdoor enthusiast and it’s community lets you search for people with similar interests near you. The site let’s you setup a profile and upload images a bit like Flickr, biut the key difference is being able to post trip reports, gear reviews, upcoming events and more.

I found out about the site after being contacted by Wade, the driving force behind the initiative. I think the appeal behind this is that it is not just a mountain biking site, but a truly cross-discipline website. So from a trails users perspective, there is a lot of scope for discussion about trail access and rights. I think it could be a real asset for proactive IMBA members. Wade said:

Hi, I’m dropping a line to “outdoor” bloggers far and near about our site, so I thought I’d give you a shout as well. I checked out today and like the posts. Your post yesterday was especially relevant to me. I commute to work a few days a week and have been wondering what some people do about the clothing situation in particular.

Anyway, back to our site. Basically it’s a social networking site for outdoor enthusiasts. You can post/read; reviews, trip reports, gear lists, forum quetions/answers, etc. on a plethora of outdoor activities. Mostly people from the states and Canada so far, but we have a few members in the UK and elsewhere around the globe. We’re trying to build the community, and in these first 6 weeks the site has been live we’ve been gaining members quickly.

Thanks for taking a look, and thanks for the posting on commuting. I need to work on the details of my commute to get it down to a science.


I’m in. It looks good to me. Check it out. This is blatantly stolen from the Singletrack website, but it’s important to support the Mountain Rescue people. The Edale Mountain Resuce Team need some help.

Due to redevelopment at Lafarge Cement Works close to Hope, Derbyshire, Edale Mountain Rescue Team have relocated their existing base which was housed in a bay of the existing maintenance workshop into temporary accommodation elsewhere on the site, whilst the maintenance workshop is refurbished to provide office accommodation for Lafarge.

Lafarge have provided three bays of the same building which are being converted into a purpose built rescue and training centre for the team. This new facility should be operational by Easter 2006. Lafarge have been very generous with their support but the team still needs to find £150, 000 by December 2007 to pay for the construction work and fitting out.

The team attends a hundred incidents each year, helping climbers, walkers, mountain bikers and tourists in distress. Incidents occur on many well know areas, Kinder Scout, Losehill, Win Hill, the Derwent Moors, Stanage, Burbage and Froggatt to name a few of the more frequent locations. The team is a charitable organisation, funded entirely by public donation and consists of 50 volunteers who turn out at all times of the day and night to help those in trouble.

If you would like to contribute to the appeal please send donations to the Team Chairman Neil Roden at Edale Mountain Rescue Team, PO Box 6490, Bakewell, DE45 1XR.

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