THE MERIDA EX 2021 – final rider update

Hi EXers,
We are getting super excited about the upcoming MERIDA EX powered by Shimano STEPS in beautiful Exmoor and wanted to give you a few more details on the event.
  
Location:
We are based once again at the Allerford & Selworthy Community Hall, Hare Park, Allerford. The postcode is TA24 8HL. We will mark the venue from the main road and Allerford is small, so you will not miss us.
 
Event opens:
The event is open for camping set up and arrival from lunchtime on Thursday (9th). If you could avoid turning up before then would be super helpful, as we will be in the middle of setting up.
 
Food at the event:
Officially our ‘all-inclusive’ event food starts from Thursday evening. So, if you are arriving before then, please make sure that you have a few snacks etc. with you. Neither Porlock or Minehead are far away if you need to purchase a few last-minute items.
 
Briefing:
You will find the event briefing for THE EX by clicking here. Please read it thoroughly before you head to the event so that you know the ‘small print’ and what to bring as well as what to do and not to do.

EXPOSURE LIGHTS night stages:
New for 2021 are the EXPOSURE LIGHTS night stages which will take place on Friday night. After the shorter than normal ‘day’ ride, we have two stages laid out for some night enduro action. Riders will ride from the venue and get their ‘after ride BBQ’ just meters from the finish line of the 2nd stage. Please make sure that you bring adequate front lights for the night enduro stages as well as a rear light for your way to and from the trails.

E-bike details:
We have once again an e-bike category at THE MERIDA EX powered by Shimano STEPS, and we have a few extra pointers for the riders in the e-bike category. To start with, the e-bikers ride the same course and stages as the rest of THE EXers. But, they have their own category, so no assisted vs non-assisted racing in THE EX. Besides that, here are the other details which are e-bike category-specific:

  • Only regulated (maximum assisted speed of 25km/h / motor limited to a max. of 250 Watts) can participate in the event. We will check every bike and will disqualify every bike/rider who is not riding within the aforementioned limits.   
  • THE EX is very demanding from a terrain point of view, and battery management is going to be a crucial part of the event. Please keep that in mind throughout the day as Friday (28km / 1050m of climbing) will not have a ‘top-up’ charging station on course. You want to consider riding certain sections without any motor assistance to save battery for the latter part of the ride.
  • We will have a ‘top-up’ charging station on the Saturday (41km / 1900m of climbing) at approx. 24km and Sunday (30km / 1300m of climbing at approx. 20km). Every rider will be given approx. 30min of ‘top-up’ charging time. Please make sure that you give your charger (with your name and race number written on the charge for easy identification) to Paul Newman, who will be in charge of the charging station.
  • If you happen to have a 2nd battery, then we will not restrict you from using it and take it to the feed station for you.
     
    Course:
    We will be setting up the course pretty much till Thursday afternoon (as we are doing it all by bike, and it is hilly down there). If you are keen to go for a little spin when you arrive, please have a chat with either Paul or Michael and get some tips regarding where to go.
     
    Here the basis starts of the three days:
    Friday (afternoon): 28km – 1,500 of descending – 1,050m of climbing – 6 special stages
    Friday (no uplift – EXPOSURE NIGHT ENDURO): 11km – 350 of descending – 350m of climbing – 2 special NIGHT stages
    Saturday (no uplift): 41km – 1,900 of descending – 1,900m of climbing – 8 special stages
    Sunday: 29km – 1,550 of descending – 1,300m of climbing – 7 special stages

    Schedule/timings for the weekend:
    For simplicity, we have put a schedule together which we intend to stick to, but with being a ‘live’ event, please keep in mind that some items might move a bit nearer the time.
     
    Thursday: 9th September 2021
    – Event venue/camping opens at lunchtime
    – Guided ride (approx. 2 hours) leaves around 4:00 pm (taking part is at your own risk – as always)
    – Snacks and drinks from 6:00 pm onwards
    – Signing on will be open in the afternoon/evening

    Friday: 10th September 2021
    – Signing on opens around 9:00 am
    – 10:30 am pre-ride ‘yoga session’
    – 11:30 am official briefing/welcome
    – 12 noon – start of the ‘day’ ride
    – Food at the end of the day ride back at the venue
    – Approx. 8:00 pm – start of the ‘night stages’ (please make sure you have adequate night riding lights) followed by a BBQ just meters from the finish line of the 2nd special stage

Saturday: 11th September 2021  
– 8:30 am pre-ride ‘yoga session’
– 9:30 am official briefing
– 10:00 am – start of the ride (no uplift)
– Approx. 7:00 pm – THE MERIDA EX dinner party and Enduro quiz presented by Shimano and Exposure Lights
 
Sunday: 12th September 2021  
– 8:30 am pre-ride ‘yoga session’
– 9:30 am official briefing
– 10:00 am – start of the ride
– Approx. 4.00 pm final presentation and end of event
 
Extra things:
As you can see from the schedule, we are running our very popular ‘pre-ride’ Yoga classes again. So, if you fancy a little ‘pre-ride’ stretch, then make sure you are ready to ‘stretch’ in the main marquee at the times we have given out in the schedule above. Also, we intend to go for a little bit of a spin on Thursday afternoon. So, if you are up for that, maybe drop us a quick email to ride@the-ex.co.uk to get an idea of numbers. The ride is entirely at your own risk. There are no marshals or medical cover for this ride.   
 
Reduce waste:
We are super keen to reduce the amount of rubbish the event creates. So besides asking you for the obvious of not leaving any rubbish on the trails, we are also looking at a few things for around the event venue. We are using proper cutlery and crockery throughout the event, but we would like you to bring your own coffee/tea mug with you, to reduce the number of paper cups we have used in the past. And to make sure we don’t waste any beer glasses, we will give you your own beer glass when you sign on and ask you to look after that for the weekend. It is yours to keep at the end of the event. Hope we can all do a little bit to help!

We aim to recycle the bottles and cans from the bar as well as feed stations, so please make sure you use the recycle bins provided.

Protection:
If you haven’t done THE EX, then you might not be aware that the terrain we are using is super technical and super steep at times. We don’t have any sudden drop-offs or big jumps on our courses but, it is undoubtedly demanding to ride. So, from that point of view, we can only recommend bringing at least knee pads to the event and also consider any other protection you might see fit. Helmets are obviously mandatory, but there is no full-face helmet rule.
 
Sponsors:
Besides the crew from MERIDA BIKE, who has been with THE EX as a title sponsor for the last couple of years, we have now also joined forces with the SHIMANO STEPS team. Both teams will be at the event and always up for a chat. 

BONTRAGER will be with us, showing some of their latest tyres, helmets and riding gear, while Fenwick’s will make sure that bikes are clean and chains run smoothly throughout the weekend.
 
Exposure Lights will not just be the sponsor of the new for 2021 night stages, but will also show the latest in light technology.

As in 2019, Rideguard will be with us again, making sure that our faces stay clean and that you all get a great looking (and very versatile) number board.

DiscoBrakes and CarbonCycles are also back on board so make sure you get yourself equipped with some top quality brakes pads.

The team from CAMS are very excited to be sponsoring THE MERIDA EX Enduro and will be out on the trails getting involved in the race action.
 
We have support from the Bristol Beer Factory once again, when it comes to the after ride ‘refuelling’.
 
And finally, and possibly most importantly, we have the support of the National Trust who, since the very beginning of our THE EX idea, has worked closely with us and enabled us to run our little event.

Thanks to all our sponsors – the event would not be possible without their help!!  
 
So that’s it.
 
If you have any more questions, then drop us a line at ride@the-ex.co.uk.    
 
We hope you are looking forward to the event as much as we are. We can’t wait to welcome you all in Allerford.
 
Thanks
 
The Bikefest Team

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