I think most people in the MTB community will have heard the stories of how awful the Olympic course is and how someones mum could ride it on a shopping bike. So in good investigative fashion Team Timber decided to go and check it out.
On Wednesday 21/2/12 Muttley, Clemo, Moe, Tom and Emma set off to meet up with G, Matt from Essex Legacy and Glenn the trail builder at Hadleigh Farm. We met at 1:00pm at Hadleigh country Park and had a bit of a wait for Uncle Matt to show up. He'd been showing a coach load of kids around all morning..... good to know that Essex County Council are engaging local kids with the sport.
Once he got back and introductions were made we set out and were soon at the top of the course overlooking the Thames Estuary and Canvey Island. Its an awesome view even on a wet and blustery February afternoon. Then we walked down to the start/gridding area which was as flat and smooth as a formula one circuit, and possibly the root of the rumours. We were then shown the initial "spread the field" first lap climb up to the first Technical feature. 1 in 3 just about sums it up. We walked up it and panting and gasping reached the top and the first bit of technicality. There are three lines A, B and C reading right to left as you approach it. Tom and I climbed down the "B" 1st chicken run line (see below). You can see the "A" line behind us. Suffice to say on the "A" line, after the big rock behind my head, you will be airborne if you don't want to faceplant. This is the first of many techncial features and probably one of the simpler ones to ride.
It was helpful having Glenn the Psycho trail builder there to get a feel for all the tweaks and changes that had been made. There is very little on the course which is simple to ride. Not only will you need to be ultra fit, you will have had your mind messed with by Glenn if you manage to get round. (Psycho?: Look at how we are dressed then look at how Glenn is dressed. It was freezing cold, windy and raining. He was wandering about dressed in shorts muttering about how Spring had arrived).
We then carried on around the course looking at the climbs and the various obstacles, which just got progressively more difficult and technical as the course unfolded before us. no doubt the boys will pop their pictures in a flickr file shortly.
Blimey! is the only polite phrase I can use.
So I’m now officially happy to put £50 forward of my own carefully gathered beer vouchers for the pot for the Mum who can ride this on a shopper bike. Personally I’d be surprised if we don’t see a fair bit of carnage on the day. Its as tough as a one of Mrs G’s rock cakes, and in a last ditch defence against the Taliban you use those as ammunition!
So its official: Myth Busted.