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Anyone for Mountain Bike Orienteering?

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Posts: 337
Topic starter
(@johnmccullough)
Honorable Member
Joined: 11 years ago

A few years ago we had a series of enjoyable MTBO events in Wicklow, Waterford and Wexford. Would anyone be interested in trying to run some events again? The numbers taking part were small (maybe 20-30) so perhaps we were trying to attract the wrong people (orienteers who had mountain bikes rather than mountain bikers who would like to try a new challenge).

Recent contacts with MTBO in Scotland could be useful as we have had offers of help in terms of training and development etc.

The areas that might be good for MTBO would include forests with a road and track network but where the forested sections are not suitable for foot-O (too dense, felled etc) but it's the paths and tracks that are needed for MTBO, not the forests. Other areas might include wind farms, bogs or areas like the Slieve Blooms or the Ballyhouras which are big, not complex and already attract conventional MTB people.

I'm just throwing this out there to see if anyone would be interested? If the answer is "yes", don't expect to just rock up and take part in an event and go home again: the maps have to be made, the courses planned and the whole structure established, so it would involve work by everyone and you will have to play your part.

if you can think of any suitable areas, or if you have any suggestions to offer, post a reply below.

If you're looking for ideas, have a look at the BMBO (British Mountain Bike Orienteering) website here.

JMcC

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Posts: 242
(@psmythirl)
Reputable Member
Joined: 11 years ago

Short answer - yes.

Long answer: I've had it in mind for a while to run an MTBO on Slieve Thoul (Saggart Woods), which I have already been re-mapping. Unfortunately there is a lot of work still to do as the previous map is very out of date, and due to constraints on my time at the moment, that work has stalled. I expect to get back to it sometime in late May but when it would be ready for an actual event is not something I can put a date on at present.

On the plus side the place is riddled with MTB trails and would probably have the advantage that because they know the area already it might be possible to generate interest among the non-orienteering MTB community. They're running a summer league on tuesdays up there, from April until August this year.

The area was used for MTBOs before, mostly run by Marcus Geoghegan.

Are you sure about suggesting bogs as a suitable type of area?

Paul

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(@johnmccullough)
Joined: 11 years ago

Honorable Member
Posts: 337

@psmythirl Re: bogs - I was thinking of areas with bog roads and tracks although I don't know if there are any suitable ones. If you look at satellite images of the midlands there are huge areas of bog used for turf cutting. Recently gravel bikes have become fashionable rather than mountain bikes and gravel-bikers seem to like exploring flattish areas with tracks and places with wind-farms and so on, so maybe they would be interested in trying something with a bit of map-reading. There must be suitable areas for MTBO that are not yet suitable for foot-O - recently planted forests, say - but perhaps we have become accustomed to looking at terrain solely through the eyes of a foot-orienteer.

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Posts: 242
(@psmythirl)
Reputable Member
Joined: 11 years ago

See attached image...

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Posts: 2
(@linkingmania)
New Member
Joined: 5 years ago

Great idea!

I'd be very interested in taking part, and helping with the planning & organization.

I only just started taking part in the Cross country (XC) mtb events/races hosted this year, and there's a good crowd of people racing across İreland.

Here are a list of places that I'm aware of which we could check/convert/draw maps at:

Main Race Series Across the Year

Irish XC National Points Series - http://irishxcnps.ie/?p=1943

  • Hosting 5 events: Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Wicklow, Wexford
  • The exact locations to be determined, but we can investigate past years' locations.
  • These are more "natural" trails, so would be suitable for MTBO

Biking Blitz - https://bikingblitz.ie/

  • Ballinastoe - Wicklow, Ballyhoura - Limerick, Derroura - Galway, Ticknock - Dublin, Coolaney Sligo, Baunreagh - Laois, Kinnitty - Offaly, 
  • These are using the Coillte trails; however there are usually many natural trails that we can make sure of. We'd probably have to correspond with Coillte on the usage.

IMBRC Tuesday XC League - https://eventmaster.ie/event/lG7WUV8HPO

  • Hosted on every other Tuesday near Dublin (Slade Valley)
  • Different areas or loops
  • Beginner friendly

Collaboration:

  • MTB Clubs: There are many MTB clubs in Dublin(where I'm based) and in Ireland, seeing the numbers at the races, with close collaboration I believe we can get a critical mass. Though I haven't been too active yet, the MTB club I'm part of knows many different routes, so I'm happy to get more information on different routes.
  • Adventure Racing Ireland: Adventure racing is really picking up, with many of the non-navigational races being sold out. Most of the participants only seem to have a road bike, so that's a challenge we'll have to tackle, but there's great potential to spread the word and get momentum.
  • Bike Rentals: Especially to kick off the critical mass and to enable foot orienteers, adventure races to try out MTB, we could consider close collaboration with bike rentals, usually located on the Coillte trails. ( e.g. biking.ie)
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Posts: 337
Topic starter
(@johnmccullough)
Honorable Member
Joined: 11 years ago

Here is today's European Championships Middle Distance map from Portugal for the Men's MTBO race, 20.5 km with 265 metres climb. Ireland's Niall McCarthy finished in 74.54.  You can follow the races here.

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