The MTB season has started, and Lourdes was action-filled, not just because of the amazing racing (and it WAS amazing), but also because of the truly epic weather, as they arrived in snow that cleared up over the first few days, and then the elite men were hit with an incredible storm to ride though during the finals, that left a surprise winner.
On the women’s side, despite the fact that the UCI have reduced the number of women eligible to race, the skill levels just keep going up and up and up, and it was a dramatic race – could Rachel Atherton keep up her unbeaten run of wins, or would this be the time a rival knocks her off her throne?
You can watch the full race replay on Red Bull TV, but that’s just the tip of the media iceberg. Scroll down for tons more videos, amazing photo galleries, interviews and more.
Highlights from the UCI, Red Bull Bike, Shimano and Vital MTB
This is a personal story, I’m warning you in advance!
When I’ve met the Adventure Syndicate folk at events, and watched Lee Craigie‘s video about riding the Caledonia Way, I’ve noticed their lovely merino tops, made by Scottish women’s cycling brand Findra. I loved the style, of course, and the little details, like the thumb-holes, and the great textured elbows – it’s really nice clothing, and the website is full of gorgeous things.
Enduro MTB is a pretty new discipline, as far as cycling goes. It’s kind of a cross between Downhill, cross country and Marathon mountain biking – a stage race format, with multiple events over a weekend, and competitors also riding the (mostly uphill) transfers between the (mostly downhill) stages. If you want to know more about it, there are the wikipedia article, and introductions from Pinkbike and BikeRadar, and this video from GCN MTB.
The Enduro World Series is the biggest competition, a season-long series that takes place in some truly gorgeous locations. It’s only been running since 2013, and it’s very definitely outside the umbrella of the UCI, organised by the Enduro Mountain Bike Association (EMBA), which itself started in 2012, and from the start, it’s been very inclusive, especially of women, but also of fans. It has excellent media, with lots of rider involvement, in the previews of each race, highlights, and lots of things in between, and it makes these available to pretty much everyone. Check out the video page and photo galleries on their website, and drool over that beautifully-MTB combination of fantastic people doing extraordinary things on amazing bikes, in the most incredible landscapes.
19-26 March 2017
I try to avoid the word “epic”, as it’s so over-used in cycling… but this time, it’s warranted!
The Absa Cape Epic is an 8-stage MTB race in South Africa, contested by teams of two riders in three categories: women’s and men’s teams, mixed pairs, Masters and Grand Masters. The race is 691km in total, with 15,400m of climbing, in some of the most incredible landscapes. Riders sleep in tent villages, provided for them, and have to contend with extreme conditions. It’s glorious, and it’s especially great for fans of women’s cycling, because it’s exactly the same course for the women as for the men, and really shows up anyone who think women are physically lesser. You can check out the route video, and on the website. And the race is so supportive of women – they say they were the first major cycling race to offer equal prize money for the women and men.
We can follow the race live, and watch on the race livestream, as well as watch on TV! You can find where and when it will be shown on TV here, and the details of the livestream timing here. The stream will be on the race homepage, and live timings are in South African SAST, which is 1 hour ahead of European CET, 2 hours ahead of UK GMT, 6 hours ahead of North American EDT, and 9 hours behind Australian AEDT – so a 9am start would be 08:00 CET, 7am GMT, 3am EDT and 6pm AEDT. If you missed the stream live, you can also watch replays of each day on the race livestream and catch up on all the action.
If you, like me, live in the UK, you’ll know that February can be a hard month – so often grey, dreary, dreich, and feeling like it will never end. Cyclocross is over, and the Spring Classics are yet to begin. But there are also so many positives too – sunny days feel so much better, for their rarity, and days are getting noticeably longer; the first Spring flowers are out; and in the women’s cycling world, we get tons of great film-ettes that remind us that the winter is nearly over.
I’ve seen three that I love this week – and they include a book giveaway too, because I’m sharing the joy and want to give two lucky readers a nice gift!
1. Lee Craigie’s ‘Escape’ film
You probably already know I’m a huge fan of the Adventure Syndicate, a group of women who share their bike-based adventures to inspire and encourage others to do more. One of the Founders, Lee Craigie, has made a little film for UK charity Sustrans, sharing her love of cycling as she rides the Caledonia Way.
It’s a gorgeous little film, combining a love of bike riding with gorgeous scenery, and Craigie’s soft Scottish accent. It’s uplifting, inspiring and happy, and you all should watch it!
This week we catch up on everything that happened in the Junior Women’s and Elite Women’s World Championship Road Races, including all of the things that surprised and delighted us. We do a bit of a wrap up of the latest news in UCI rule changes (there have been a lot of them for track in particular) and there are a couple of points of unavoidable controversy. We do our best to tackle them from a glass half full perspective but we’ll let you decide how well me managed to pull that off. (1:10:46 MIN / 64.8 MB)
You can also sign up for free, automated downloads via the iTunes store here or via our RSS feed here.
Stuff We Talked About
It’s all here in Sarah’s wrap-up post with videos, highlights, the stories and whatnot from both the Junior and Elite Women’s Road Races.
This week we talk about all of the worlds time-trialling in Doha. The heat in Qatar showed up in full force and played havoc with the Team Time Trial. There was plenty of riders suffering from heatstroke and heat related stress which was deeply concerning. We also talk about how this impacted on the results. There’s the Junior and Elite women’s Individual Time Trials to discuss as well, with some interesting and surprising results there. Although fortunately with less dramatic heat. We catch up on the latest cyclocross and mountainbike news and round the episode out with a bit of gossip. (1:23:00 MIN / 75.99 MB)
You can get free automated updates via the iTunes store here or via our RSS feed here.
Things we talked about this week included
This week’s racing
Sarah’s guide to watching and following the 2016/7 Cyclocross
Gorgeous photos by Balint Hamvas