The late Jenn Hopkins shredding a Kona at Mountain Mayhem a few years back. Photo: Geoff Waugh

It’s surreal riding 24hr endurance MTB even as part of a four man relay team… riding at 3.00am in the morning when all you can see are the sporadic lights of other riders bobbing up and down in the wood. The dry, dusty and hard course was getting looser and looser with hours of trail abuse, even the new loam single track section two climbs before the arena sprint was now just dust! It’s funny how you break down the track into sections in your mind, just one more climb and another before you are rewarded with an elbows out tech descent. Concentrating and keeping your skills dialled in the darkness is the hardest thing, but Adrenalin keeps you going. Fuel up, strap on your timing chip, reach for the trusty Hei Hei Race DL, spark up your lights and enter the 24 hour flow!

For the 20th edition of this legendary race, “Fat Pat” and his Mountain Mayhem team had built some new trail sections that seemed to break up the long climbs and gave the track great flow. The loop had such variety from single track through ancient deciduous woods to open grass climbs and a trail alongside a hidden pool. Whether you took the A – Line steep descents (which we did) or the more mellow B -Line over the stream crossing, the trails were awesome. With over 1300 riders competing on a new course at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire, the country residence of HRH Princess Anne, on dusty and hard trails in amazing weather the event was sent off with a bang!

Kona had a four man team with an average lap time of 1 hour for the undulating course. So while we didn’t take the racing too seriously, we did immerse ourselves in the Mountain Mayhem vibe of drinking beer in blistering sunshine and riding trails with old and new friends – The Kona Way! The team rode a combination of bikes from the Unit (turning heads in the pit), to the Hei Hei Trail DL and Process 153.

We also supplied Hei Hei Race DL‘s to the Go Outdoors team for racing.​ Go Outdoors have been the headline sponsor for the event for the last three years and were offering cool things such as “Camping Angels” to erect racers tents (apparently that’s a marriage saver) in hot conditions with kids running around. Singletrack Magazine were dj’ing in the beer tent and had a huge vat of pop corn for riders to literally jump into. Many thanks to the Stroud Brewery for being on hand and fueling the team, we drew the line at putting beer in our hydration packs!

Retrobike always take over a huge section of the race village and it was truly amazing to see some beautiful heritage Kona’s with heritage wheels (that’s 26″), those guys have so much love, passion and knowledge for their Kona’s…mixed in with water pistols to cool the riders, fairy lights in the depth of night, pumping tunes and interesting drinks their village area was the place to be in the depths of the night! Only a few hundred meters from the start / finish they brought the riders home, lap after lap!

With an amazing family vibe, Mountain Mayhem has turned into a mini MTB festival and it was super cool to support an event with such huge heritage in the UK. We were delighted to attend and lend our support to an event that has given so much to the UK MTB scene. Trail riding in the sun, with old and new friends while drinking beer through the night, it was great to be back in the Mountain Mayhem family. The venue and format for the weekend are changing for 2018 and we are really excited to see what they come up with for the next era for this legendary MTB weekend.

See you at Mountain Mayhem 2018 for whatever that brings!