Welcome to Macavalanche 2019 and thanks to the Man with Eye the amazing Brodie Hood for the photos.
Macavalanche! Where does it sit in the Scottish Mountain Bike calendar? We would say the "Iconic race" however the word “Iconic” is somewhat over used. Type iconic into your favorite search engine and voila, nearly 200,000 articles about an “iconic gadget,” “iconic comedian,” “iconic art”. The word comes from the Greeks and describes depicting a victorious athlete in a conventional style, we believe the picture below is iconic and one that depicts this absolutely cracking mountain bike race at Glencoe Mountain Resort, first hosted in 2011 this one never fails to deliver.
With weather predictors predicting the coldest May bank holidays ever, race organizers No Fuss Events were on all channels preparing participants for a cold one. Glencoe Mountain and the Macavalanche are always a tough test, add in some unseasonably cold conditions from a winter that had failed to deliver, 2019 was going to be a classic.
[PI=17177877]With riders dressing warm for the uplift, tough mountain stages soon had them overheating.
Stage one, for 2019 took rider left at the top of the cliff hanger chair. Previous years for this stage was famous for its big soft snow patches, 2019 was different, it was straight into a steep rocky chute, followed by a fast (if you dared) new uplift track before hitting the plateau where every ridge has a potential surprise. For every rider it is that fine line between full on pedal and approach with caution as the battle for seconds begin.
It was junior rider Tom Needham who stated his early intentions with a good stage win on the opening stage. Stage 2 and it was once again the double chairlift transition, this time it was a right turn and the notorious stage two which includes the killer climb to the summit of Greag Dubh
It would be Kyle Beattie who would take the stage win on stage 2 smashing down the only sub 8 min stage time an incredible 21 seconds ahead of his nearest rival and giving him the No 1 seeding position for the mass start stage 3.
2 Stages down and it was time to download the times and see where riders would feature in seeding for stage 3 "The Mass Start".
Logistically stage 3 is always a tough one, there is no simple way to get almost 200 riders and steeds to the start line at the same time. At 14:30 the mass depart for the final ascent of the mountain began, the day, if anything was getting colder, the instructions were to wait at the top of the cliffhanger chair before heading upwards to the start line. The snow flurries and biting wind were made bearable by the amazing Goat Stew Orchestra who had made their now annual sojurn north to provide some mellow Jazz, Rhythm and Blues for the gladiators before their contest.
Almost ironically the snow field for starting the 2019 was as wide as the race had ever enjoyed, there were many discussions about where the fastest line into the first corner would be and who would take the hole shot. As the music died away and the last instructions were given, a strange silence came over the mountain of the roaring stags.
All in all it was an amazing day, great people, the amazing Glencoe Mountain Resort and an Iconic Event. Next up is the EWS European Rnd 2 and the Scottish Enduro Rnd 2 in Innerleithen until then sit back relax and enjoy.