The 2011 No Fuss Events 10@Kirroughtree

July 13 2011

Writing up the No Fuss weekends always makes me chuckle, we rave about them regardless of weather, results or the inevitable midge peppered extremities. The events can be hours away, but nothing beats the frisson of excitement as you pull into the venue and see the saddle-span arching monstrously before you. Describing a No Fuss event as an ‘adventure’ may sound suitably hyperbolic, but the element of unknown makes it just that, No Fuss like to keep you on your toes with course design and format.

Frazer Coupland Orange Bikes No Fuss Events

While the rest of the No Fuss team are hard at work, Frazer is out for a play...

Representing in the Orange Bikes camp this weekend was Jonathan Sykes, he’s known for having the bike skills to pay the (smallest of) bills. Joining him was his very lovely lady friend Jennifer Shaw, with the mixed trio finished off rather incapably by myself. Having only raced at Kirroughtree as a solo, I was eager to see whether enjoyment was heightened or lightened by the team camaraderie.

BJ Orange Bikes No Fuss Events Kirroughtree

BJ is a regular on the No Fuss circuit, he's "riding solo, riding solo, solo..."

It often gets asked whether a practice lap is necessary at events based over ten hours? If you were Stu Thomson of MTBcut, I’d say it’s crucial. Heading out on the Friday night the hardy few came back with mud splattered faces and gargantuous grins. The course had the usual manmade singletrack sections interspersed by pockets of fire-road, but the natural trails are the real feather in the cap of the Kirroughtree trail ensemble. Sliding between roots and pinballing between rogue rocks, laughing all the way down like an ill-balanced hyena. If you clear every section without a dab, you’re definitely a big deal.

Stu Thomson MTBcut Orange Bikes

Stu Thomson, looking fast and jaundiced in his racing comeback...

Jono was the first of the Orange trio to step up and volunteered to begin our race domination amidst the start line throng. The cunning tactical trick Jono played was to let the lycra-clad superheroes accelerate off on their rocket-ships, but stay ahead of the majority and avoid the singletrack bottleneck as the track dived into the woods. Rocking the 2012 Orange G3, Jono represented well...

Orange Bikes Jono Sykes Orange G3

The 2012 Orange G3 gets hung up after Jono's power-lap test session.

The transition and timing chip duly changed after lap one, and my big wheels were turning for a session on the 29er. Dudes of Hazard superstar and Jesus lookalike Pete Scullion was quick to heckle with a sexual offenders list mentioned for crimes against yellow shoed fashion! Meanwhile, Orange fan and solo specialist Hugh Dennis decided it was time to put down his brew and head out on his first lap. I’m not sure we mentioned it but you can take these events as seriously as suits your riding palate, for Hugh it was all about the good times.

Orange Bikes Elite

Amongst the heroes; Henry Cruickshank was rapid downhill and up...

Next up and Jen went into battle on her 2012 Orange Diva, new to the endurance mountain bike world she dropped a quick lap time to keep us in the game. A few root slides and the odd tree altercation couldn’t stop the smiles as she paced over the timing matt and made the transition.

Jen Shaw Orange Bikes Diva 2012

Jen putting in the laps on her 2012 Orange Diva.

Rather predictably, the cycle continued with nine enjoyable laps completed by team Orange MTB. So what of the solo versus team debacle? Riding solo is definitely a buzz, not in the traditional ‘radcore’ sense of the word, but the element of achievement, of keeping going longer and surprising yourself with erratic highs and lows. A team event is an opportunity to soak up the atmosphere, make the most of the banter and enjoy the event as much as the race. Weirdly, I think there’s an argument to say the team event is physically more wearing, not in terms of the lasting effects of longterm exhaustion, but because of the intense effort put into each lap.

Orange Five No Fuss Events 10@Kirroughtree

Mark Scott with his solo face on...

The heroes of the weekend? Jono and Jen took our Orange MTB team to a career topping third place. Hugh Dennis amused us all weekend with his race tactics. Stu Thomson’s suh-weet one handed wheelie along the finish line, going good until he had to go back to register his lap! Stu had the last laugh though taking his Orange Crush to the trio win as the only team to complete an impressive 11 laps, a total of approximately 110 miles. Respect to Steve Deas and BJ Doherty in the solos, battling it out for the King of the Mountains competition, and Jo Cardwell who continues to power home to top results. 

If you're interested, full results are available here.

What of the Strange 29er? I’ll upload some ponderings another time, but it surprised a few people on the downhills. Jono is loving the 2012 G3 and while Jen enjoyed the Diva, I think she'll be opting for full-suspension on her next foray in the forest. 

Orange Bikes 29er Strange Kirroughtree

The Strange 29er speeder-bikes its way through the woods, quicker than the rider...

Suitably convinced the No Fuss Events ten hour format would work for you? There's still an opportunity to get involved at Coed Llandegla. Near Wrexham and a great riding venue, the course is set to match Kirroughtree for natural singletrack, fast flowing manmade sections, and catering offering the heartiest of cuisine. Coming on August 20th, the Deg Yn Llandegla is going to be a good weekend...

Thanks to Chloe, Spook and Frazer for a fantastic weekend. Michael and Linzi for the photographs and heckling, Stu Thomson and Pete Scullion for the good times, and Jono and Jen for doing their bit and carrying us to a career topping third place.

Good work to everyone who took part, particularly Alpine Bikes who had time to run a stall, come second in mixed trios and put together this great video...



Next up for the Orange Mountain Bikes official race team? The Endurance Downhill


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