THE EX 2018 – a retrospective

Races, like cats and dogs, age differently to people it turns out. Despite only being in its third year, our baby THE EX enduro has grown up fast.

The first year was about learning the ropes, the second was all about sharpening up, getting slicker and proving the first year wasn’t just a fluke. There were growing pains sure, but THE EX flew along getting bigger and stronger.

This year, our third year, was our teenage years. We saw our little race sprout into a strapping youngster, brimming with confidence, personality and independence. And just a little bit of a swagger, of course!

The third and best yet THE EX Enduro was again created with the help of DMR Bikes. We enjoyed three big, tough and brilliant days of Exmoor mountain biking on some of the UK’s least known and least ridden trails.

80 riders thundered down open wide hillsides and threaded through tight and twisty trees. We had loam, we had rocks, we had roots. We had a little bit of rain but mostly we had big, wide, clear Exmoor skies with stunner views of the hills and the sea. You’ve probably never been to Exmoor on two wheels and, we’re sorry to say, you’re missing out. But that’s why we do THE EX, to show off our favourite mountain biking in the UK… and you’re very welcome!

We’ll be honest, the riding at THE EX isn’t easy. There are some big and tough climbs and by day 3 you’ll be wishing you’d told the boss you were working from home on Monday morning. Despite that, almost everyone that entered got round and the bottomless tea and cake at our vintage tea stops kept tired legs turning. If that wasn’t enough, Luffy’s infamous breakfasts and dinners filled 80 bellies (and all of us event staff!) with proper mountain biker’s food, washed down with plenty of tasty Bristol Beer Factory ales. We warmed up in the mornings with Yoga and we celebrated in the evenings with a pub quiz and a dinner party, a DJ and dancing.

The racing side of THE EX plays second-fiddle to all the grinning, eating cake and sloshing back tea and beer. That said, we did have a race and with 7 incredible timed stages every day it’d be a shame to ignore our winners. Jono Jones and Anna Cipullo took the fastest time of the day in our men’s and women’s races whilst Finlay Clay won hardtail (and by god was he fast on that thing!) and Paul Mackie won the Veteran’s field.

We’d like to say a huge thanks to our event sponsors. First and foremost to DMR Bikes who have been with us through our formative years and have grown up their SLED enduro bike with THE EX.

We’d also like to thank the National Trust for letting us use their land, Fenwick’s for keeping our chains lubed and our bikes clean and to Bontrager for their help with great gear. Thanks also to LezyneTRP brakesXFusionCarbon CyclesDisco BrakesRideGuard and NamedSport Super Food. Last but not least to Bristol Beer Factory for the excellent ales.

If you’d like to challenge yourself to THE EX and join us for our 4th birthday you can pre-register here. We’ll open entries early next year and, as always, have room for just 80 riders. Come and join us, it won’t be the same without you!