2018 was an awesome year, there’s no doubt about it, but we look ahead to the best things that the team here at Wideopenmag are looking forward to in 2019.
There’s plenty to look forward to for in a fresh 12 months ahead. Our riders and staffers pick out the events, races, trips, rider comebacks, teams and kit that we’re most excited about for the year ahead.
Rosie: Queens of wheelies, tie-dye and good laughs Martha Gill and Bex Barona have organised their first women’s cycling festival; scheduled for 6th to 8th September at Farmer John’s MTB park it’s already in my diary in big red pen.There’ll be dual-slalom, an airbag, workshops, private trails, live music, food and beer, what’s not to like?
There’s opportunity for racing as well as tonnes of skills development, or just taking it easy and meeting new riding buddies. It seems like Gowaan Girls have spotted what makes events like the Foxhunt and Hopetech Women’s Enduro (both also firmly on the calendar) perennially popular and are hoping to build on the buzz. I’m really excited that the appetite for women’s events continues to grow and can’t wait to see what the girls can deliver.
Can I say Wales? I’m pretty excited about Wales…
Rosie: Dyfi bike park is due to hatch in 2019 and from snippets of video goodness and social media posts it looks set to be an enormous terrifying treat. Wales as a whole has been neglected by me to date, due to traumatically rainy childhood holidays. But I can bury my head in the sand no longer; the increasing number of must-see riding spots means it’s on my hit-list for 2019.
Pete: I don’t race an awful lot any more but if there’s one race I always look out for entries going live, it’s the Macavalanche. There simply isn’t a race like it in the UK and it plays to my strengths fairly well too.
Glencoe Mountain is one of my favourite places in Scotland, and after a winter of riding snow and bogs up big mountains, the only real difference for me at this race is tape.
You can enter the Macavalanche here.
Maribor Downhill World Cup.
Pete: Maribor is one of the classic downhill venues that has produced some seriously good racing over the years. Remember when Fabien Barel came back after his knee injury and won there, the same day Sam Hill was up at the split and took a dive into a hedge?
The rock garden is legendary and has seen a fair amount of action too. The upper section almost looks like a pumptrack, then you get the Star Wars rut down the bottom.
Gwin and Minnaar return full strength.
Pete: Seeing riders injured is never ideal, but the World Cups were missing two of their finest talents in 2018. While the racing was exciting enough, it would have been amazing to see how these two giants of downhill dealt with the meteoric rise of one Amaury Pierron.
Not much changes for Minnaar going into the 2019 season, but will Aaron Gwin gel with his new team and bike, picking up where he left off? Only time will tell.
Dave: Arguably the best mass start race. Great week of riding with your mates on rad trails followed by complete carnage down the mountain at the end of the week, all for the sum of approx £100. Amazing value, great location, wicked race. Looking forward to going back for the 3rd year in a row!
You can enter the Megavalanche here.
DH World Cup Calendar.
Dave: 8 Stops plus World Champs for 2019. Three new (to recent World Cup schedules) stops including Maribor and Les Gets. Will we see the course down the Mont Chery side of town with the now infamous Peaty’s plunge?
Great to see a stop back in the USA, plus World Champs in MSA. Will we see a return of Sam Hill for this and looking to repeat what he did in 2010 when he smoked the field by 2.6 seconds? I wouldn’t put a bet against it happening…
WC DH Team Changes
Dave: Silly season is upon us and the rumour mill is rife with who is moving to where. The Athertons are reportedly off Trek and the age old rumour of them moving to KTM has resurfaced (I think this is unlikely).
Scott Velosolutions has folded, where are Brendog and Gaetan Vige off to? Will Claudio still be doing the commentary on Redbull TV? Will some of the break through riders from last year like Reece Wilson score a factory ride?
2019 BEMBA National Enduro Series.
After a few years of uncertainty, cancelled races and low rider numbers I really hope that the new format using multiple organisers can bring the UK’s top racers together. We need a good quality national series to feed riders into the EWS and with the variety of tracks and events in the UK, the 2019 National Enduro Series promises to be a great series.
Gravitate North East.
More Pumptrack Racing in 2019.
Christo: After racing the Red Bull Pumptrack Qualifier in 2018 in Italy, it turns out pumptrack racing is awesome. It’s great for everyone to get involved, whether that’s to come watch and hang out or to compete on the day. All you need is a bike and a helmet and you’re set to go.
The 2019 Unofficial Trail Snack Awards.
Christo: After a hotly-contested 2018 season of trail snacks testing, the late contender appearing in my local Tescos in Novemeber is the apple-flavoured Soreen, which became a clear winner. Who knows what 2019 will bring?
No more new ‘standards’.
Jim: It feels like we’ve reached a point now where mountain bike designers are struggling for that next big thing. My bike is largely made up of mid-range, straightforward components and I couldn’t say that any single part of it has any real design flaws. It’s all about tweaking the details now, which as a consumer, is great news.
No longer are your brand new components completely obsolete at the end of the year with the Next Big Thing. Bought that fork last year? This years model has a 2mm less offset. Will you notice? God no. Keep riding!
Going ‘proper’ mountain biking.
Jim: In past years I’ve been guilty of being a bit too focused on trail centres and man-made trails, and I’ve started to rectify that this year. So what I’m looking forward to most in 2019 is dusting off the map and getting out on some proper mountain bike adventures.
Living in Shropshire, I’ve got a whole host of brilliant trails right on my doorstep, as well as the motorway nearby to get further afield, so it would be daft not to. Going to a trail centre this weekend? Why not find a pub nearby to start your ride instead and get off the beaten track?