You've started the new year with some solid resolutions and you want to make it your year for achieving cycling goals. If you're looking at your 2017 diary and thinking it's lacking adventure, then we're here to help.
This year is jam packed full of mountain bike fun with events ranging from challenging sportives, to the more demanding 24hr endurance races. Whatever you decided to do this year, get some friends involved and make it a year of mountain bike exploration.
Here's a few event ideas to get you started...
Mini Downhill Series at FoD
When: January 29th / February 26th / Marach 26th
Where: Pedalabikeaway, Forest of Dean
Entry Fee: £30
The Mini Downhill series at the Forest of Dean continues to grow in size and popularity. It's the perfect way to test your downhill skills in a fun and relaxed race environment.
The format includes a timed practise run, followed by a second final run on one of their famous trails. The aim of the series is to encourage new riders to fall in love with racing, and to bring people together for a day of riding bikes, and winning prizes.
This year there are 4 female categories to enter: women's youth, women's vet, women's senior, women's master. This ensures you're riding with women within your age range, providing a more variety and scope for competition.
Wiggle Chalky Chaser
When: Sunday March 5th
Where: Salisbury, Wiltshire
Distances: 13 miles, 21 miles or 32 miles
Entry Fee: from £23
The Chalky Chaser MTB sportive takes you on some awesome rural routes through Wiltshire's beautiful scenery. Descending into villages, winding around country off-road paths with the occaisional gut busting climb.
This event is fully supported throughout with waymarkers, feed stations and a shiny medal awaiting for you at the finish line. There are three distances to choose from, depending on how adventurous you're feeling: short (13 miles), standard (21 miles), epic (32 miles).
Moors and Shores Adventure Cross
When: Sunday April 2nd
Where: Pickering, North Yorkshire
Distances: 43 miles or 58 miles
Entry Fee: From £26
Time for something a little different? Adventure cross has been rapidly gaining momentum in the cycling world. It's basically a cross-country endurance mountain bike event, that can be ridden on a cross bike.
Of course you don't have to ride a cross bike if you don't want to, you can complete either the Massif (58 miles) or Mini Massif (43 miles) routes on your regular mountain companion, although a hardtail may be more suitable. Be prepared to get a little - or a lot - muddy in this race.
Scott MTB Marathon Series
When: 8th and 9th April
Where: Builth Wells, Wales
Distances: 25km, 45km and 65km
Entry Fee: From £28
The Scott MTB Marathon series is back for the 17th year. This huge event should be on every mountain biker's "must-do" list.
Kicking off the series this year, the tour begins in Builth Wells where the Saturday night will play host to a night time ride supported by Exposure Lights. You can choose from a 20km or 40km night ride which serves as the perfect warm up for the following day.
Bright and early on Sunday morning will see the beginning of the main event. You can choose from the following distances: mini (25km), half (45km) or full (65km). All riders receive a bag of goodies, a finishers t-shirt and well stocked feed stations along the way.
When: Sunday May 14th
Where: Hamsterley Forest, County Durham
Distances: 20 miles and 40 miles
Entry Fee: £30
This is truly a beast of an event which has doubled in size from its first year in 2015. Starting with 150 riders, last year saw over 350 take on the mammoth challenge whilst raising £17,500 for charity.
For 2017 the event is expecting over 500 participants to take on either the 20 mile or full 40 mile beast. Camping is available, and the event will have you discovering new trails and lines at every turn.
Bike Girl MTB
When: Sunday May 21st (TBC)
Where: Dalby Forest, Scarborough
Distances: 10 miles and 30 miles
Entry Fee: TBC
A strict no boys allowed policy is enforced on this women's MTB retreat.
Join a hundred other avid female shredders to ride Dalby Forest and the Yorkshire Moors. The aim is to bring women together, make friends and of course, ride bikes. You can choose between 10 miles and 30 miles and there's even a Mother and Daughter team category. All routes will be signposted, and snacks provided to keep you going.
When: Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th June
Where: Llandegla, Wales
The MTB Meetup began as a social gathering of some 40 mountain bikers, meeting up to ride some trails. Back for its 4th year, the event welcomes over a thousand riders from all over the country to ride, learn and enjoy themselves.
With coaching lessons, amazing food and great prizes to win, this weekend festival celebrates mountain biking in its truest form.
Fort Bill World Cup
When: Saturday June 3rd / Sunday June 5th
Where: Fort William, Scotland
Fee: weekend passes from £45.50
So you may not be able to take part in this event with the likes of Rachel Atherton, but you can certainly take part in the buzzing atmosphere at the UCI World Cup round in Fort William.
For roughly £50 you can get a weekend pass to see your favourite athletes race the clock on some of the most techy features on a trail run. With big brand names, entertainment and thousands of fans, this weekend is festival of excitement and well worth the trip.
TweedLove International Enduro
When:Friday June 9th - Sunday June 11th
Where: Peebles, Scotland
Entry Fee: From £60
One of the pinnacle events for the UK enduro scene is TweedLove. It's a 3 day event where you can ride, race or just go along for the fun.
With a full enduro expo throughout the weekend and big name riders like Tracey Moseley, you can surround yourself with professional and amateur talent to feel inspired and get motivated.
When: Friday June 16th - Sunday June 18th
Where: Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire
Entry Fee: Solo £82 - Teams from £159
2017 marks the 20th anniversary of Mountain Mayhem, a 24hr MTB endurance event which sees hundreds of riders from all over the country take part.
You can enter this in teams, or make it a solo mission. Setting off at 12:00 noon, you have 24hrs to ride as much as you want, or can, of the designated course. The winners are those that have completed the most laps in the allocated time. It's gruelling, it's tough, but it's a true test of your fitness, strength and skill.
When: Sunday July 16th - Sunday July 22nd
Where: starting in Mayrhofen, Austria - finishing in Riva del Garda, Italy
Distance: 50km - 100km per day
Entry Fee: 795 euros
Thinking of going on a cycling holiday this summer?
While the Trans Alp race is far from a holiday, you do get to cycle through some pretty spectacular landscapes. This 7 day stage event is famed for it's tough climbs, and fast open descents. Each day you and your team mate will ride between 50km - 100km to the next stage town.
Ideal for professionals and enthusiastic amateurs, the Trans Alp bike event is a lifetime challenge to conquer. Read Hannah's Trans Alp race diary from 2016 for some more info and insight.
Evans Cycles Peak District
When: Saturday August 19th
Where: New Mills, High Peak
Distance: 16 miles or 27 miles
Entry Fee: £22
Evans Cycles host a number of both road and off-road sportives throughout the year, and across the country. These events are great for riders of all ages and abilities, and they're really good fun as well.
While these events aren't races, you will be able to track your times with timing devices provided. Feed stations will keep you feeling energised throughout the ride and mechanical help is on hand if the worst were to happen. If this event isn't right for you, there are plenty more listed on the Evans Cycles website.
When: Saturday October 7th
Where: Cranleigh, Surrey
Distances: 15 miles, 19 miles or 25 miles
Entry Fee: from £26
The race season may be over by October, but that doesn't mean you have to be!
The Downs Dash offers a wide variety of bridleways, single tracks, technical descents and tough climbs to challenge and thrill riders of all abilities. The route will be fully sign-posted, with feed stations and assistance along the way, there'll even be some professional photographers lurking in the trees.
Events yet to announce details, but we really can't wait for:
Red Bull Foxhunt with Rachel Atherton: Returning for its 4th year will be the Red Bull Foxhunt with the queen of downhill racing, Rachel Atherton. Having spent the first two years up in Scotland, last year we saw the largest women's mass start event move to the valleys of Cumbria. Where will it be held this year?
Brecon Beast: This extreme ride is a pedal pushing, gut busting event which takes a lot of physical and mental power, but the pay-off is fantastic. Extraordinary landscapes and stunning views across Brecon, this event is a highlight many riders each year. All updates can be found on their website.
Brighton Big Dog: This endurance MTB event is a firm favourite amongst many for the amazing atmosphere and riding. With 6 hours, solo riders and teams must complete as many laps of the course as possible. Simple. Information and updates can be found here.
Hope Tech Women's Rides: While these are not races or sportives, they are worth a mentioning for your diaries. The Hope Tech rides are awesome, a great gathering of women who enjoy riding bikes, what more could you want? Ideal for experienced riders, these rides are great for introducing new ones as well as Hope come fully equipped with a fleet of demo bikes. Check here for ride info throughout the year.
There's a good number of events to get you excited for 2017, but these are by no means all of them. There are plenty more to be found on the British Cycling website, More dirt and even through your local trail centres and community.
Races and sportives and brilliant ways to meet like minded people who share your passion for riding. Not only that, but they enable you to really test your skills on new trails, and against the clock in order to see how much you've progressed, and what areas still need work.
Good luck, have fun and find adventure this year!
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