Corley Cycles does Mountain Mayhem 2017

By Katy Simcock

Mountain Mayhem – an event that I have ‘raced’ 7 times and ‘ridden’ 3 times, this year would be my 11th entry. 

2016 Mayhem, we had a chilled out year, we rode our bikes for 24 hours in a mixed team that comprised of my dad, my husband, Nick Jones, Sue MacIntyre and me. We had a lot of time to chat, chill and plan….. Dad originally planted the seed that we should get a truck load of riders and enter as many teams as possible for the 20th edition of the event, I can’t recall whether we knew then that it would be the last.

I hold a lot of affection for this event and the organisers of Mayhem, having raced and won this event whilst riding for a Team that Patrick Adams and Alex McNicol ran  I have the best memories….. I have some pretty shocking muddy cold  memories too, but I don’t dwell on these, they make you stronger and they certainly make you appreciate conditions like this weekend. 

Fast forward to November 2016 and I started rallying the troops, as a shop, Club and Team, Corley Cycles riders are the biggest group of cyclists I know that do so many disciplines of the sport, some riders on the teams didn’t MTB much but they all had a mountain bike in their stable.  It didn’t deter them, they signed themselves up and set about trying to prepare for what we hoped would be a great weekend away with like minded people in a beautiful location in June in England.

Here was where I started to feel the pressure already, the weather can seriously determine what happens this weekend. MTB’s could be going up for sale, we could lose friends and customers forever……I had the potential to become very hated if this years edition of the event turned out to be cold, wet, muddy and generally grim. 

I honestly didn’t think we would get 5 teams together, 5 mixed teams, 25 riders where only 8 of them had ever taken part in a 24hour MTB event some have never raced in any kind of MTB event. I salute you guys. 

Team names were created, Facebook private groups set up, not so secret training sessions on the bike and down the pub, friendships were made and enhanced and the banter, well the banter was off the scale, especially if you were a Kitten Rescuer. 

Here is a proof of the hoodie that we all wore with riders names on the back . Thankfully we only got the opportunity to wear it on the Friday evening when it chilled off a little, but its a lasting reminder of the weekend. When the washing is done, the sore bums have healed and the sun tans have gone, we’ll still have our hoodies! 

Friday evening chilling out in the arena

So the week before was all about prep, charging lights, buying food, getting some sleep and checking the weather every 10 minutes!

It’s Friday we all arrive at various points in the day, set up camp, do a lap of the course, have a BBQ and enjoy an evening of beer drinking, running races and trying not to think about what lies ahead.

Al and Ian

 A Friday evening visit to the Stroud Brewery

Running 2

Amelia, Faye and Daisy enjoying the kids run.

Corley CampThe Corley Camp taking shape and some pretzel eating, I never want to consume another pretzel again.

Saturday morning rolls round in a flash, the last few riders have arrived and we head in anticipation to the rider briefing. We were all starting to feel the nerves, the heat and excitement about what lies ahead. Pat Adams and his crew gave us all the rules, regs and emotions we could possibly need to get us through.

The event starts with a Le Mans style run, 1 member of each team is lucky enough to run for around 5 minutes before heading out on the course, then at the end of that lap the cycle of handing over the slap strap between your riders begins.

                                                              4 of our Corley Runners. Phil, Dave, Greg and Dan

All 5 teams had their own goals,  and I can only really talk about my teams goals. Our aim was to be consistent, don’t miss a change over, be as smooth as possible and give it our best controlled effort. The course was such that you had to go hard in certain places,  with 4 good steep climbs per lap there was no avoiding it.  Greg came in after doing our opening lap. “Only go hard on the climbs” every single lap, every small section of descent or flat I remembered this and for me personally this was how I got through the 24 hours intact. You learn a lot about your body the longer you cycle and you know when your hard is too hard and how deep you can go to maintain a certain intensity. Chuck in some crazy heat, no sleep and copious amounts of porridge pots and you really have to listen to your body.

Spreadsheets – Rich, the Team Captain of the Kitten Rescuers created a lovely spreadsheet for his riders, time in, time out, who’s resting, the whole shebang. This was soon plagiarised by several other teams and became very helpful especially during the wee hours when you need to know your eta for the Lezyne lounge. What this spreadsheet didn’t do was maths, oh how our brains hurt at 3am trying to add 42 minutes to a basic number, your brain just doesn’t function.

5 Corley riders on the circuit at every minute of the day for 24 hours.

How damn cool is that?!

Here are a few action shots, thank you Kelly Tresham, Niki Turpin and Mark Ryan for the photos.

Roy Chamberlain on one of his 7 fast laps

Alan, Rich, Gary, Leslie and Dad ready to see their first man come in and change over.

 Mark Ryan coming round to finish a lap

Dad eagerly awaiting Dave mini cheddar Merrill

 Dan Connall and Lynne Coldray tackling the last and very tough grass climb. Such a stunning location.

The children around the campsite thoroughly enjoyed zapping all the riders with super soakers, mini jet washers and cycling bottles full of water.  Boy did we need it too!

Mayhem this year was a huge team effort, the riders’ family and friends all chipped in making tea, spag bols, scrammy egg, washing legs, cleaning bikes and cheering on. That’s what made the weekend so special.

I had a few moments during the 24 hours where I felt very humble, very happy and very sad. The last few weeks in the world have been tough for everyone, I wake up in the morning and look at my phone to see if there has been another BBC news flash with more sad news. This 24 hour event is hard, incredibly hard but at the same time very easy and I didn’t forget that.

All we had to do was ride our bikes, we were cut off from anything happening in the big wide world for nearly 48 hours, but we didn’t forget, we didn’t forget Charlie Craig and Mike Hall. I didn’t know Mike but I know he did a lot for the endurance cycling world and I have friends who knew him and hold very fond memories.

Charlie Craig, family Craig in my thoughts the whole weekend, I have been on Nicks team several times at Mayhem and I know he loves the event and the ethos, you were in our thoughts and the round of applause on the start line for those we had lost was one of my moments.

Amelia and I #vandercraig #rideforcharlie

Another moment was the finish, we were all tired, hot and when the gun goes and the stream of lurkers start to come through the arena if you don’t feel the emotion you’re a tougher person than Lynne and I – Lynne is far brighter than me, she had sunnies on to disguise any teary moments.

Greg came in for the Neo’s at 12.04pm securing 2nd place in the Mixed race, it was a close race throughout with OTE and the Neo’s changing all the time between 2nd and 3rd. The winners, Vicious Cycle Paths, had a good lead, they couldn’t shirk the last lap though which was nice, they beat us by 20 minutes and we pipped OTE for 4 minutes which in 24 gruelling hilly hot hours and 36 laps is nothing.  We did come away with the win in the Sub Category “The Oldies” with an average age of 44 we were proud to take the win.

Greg coming in to meet a happy, proud Pat Adams.

The podium photo

The Corley Choppers finished with an awesome result of 7th overall in the mixed teams completing 32 laps

Corley Choppers

Corley Eat, Sleep, Race, Repeat and the Corley Gearheads all of whom were first timers did brilliantly well, and rumour has it they are all pumped for more of the same!


Eat, Sleep, race, Repeat, looking super proud and rightly so

The Kitten Rescuers did ok, I mean less beer, fewer mini cheddars, less chocolate digestives and fry ups they could have improved their result! But for me they win the award for giggles, they didn’t all know each other, they cracked on, they took some serious stick out of each other and loved every second of it.

Here is one of the Kitten Rescuers meals, they worked as a fab team, on and off the bike, cooking, eating, prepping bikes, some members even practiced lurking during the washing up……

We all took away a much deserved medal and now the dust has settled we look forward to planning more adventures….. and sleep.

One of the best photos of the whole weekend is this one below, unfortunately we couldn’t gather everyone together but get the idea of what a big team we were.

Results can be found here if you want a nosey.
Until the next adventure
Katy Lou x